The following post is explicitly triggering for rape.
So the internet exploded after a conservative Republican (shockingly) had rape-culturey views. I’ll personally never get why this is surprising, but whatever. And everyone got mad this time, not just rape survivors and anyone who isn’t a mens’ rights activist. Which is, again, good. But there were a lot of things wrong with how it was criticized. From The Onion’s well intentioned satire to the youtube video that I didn’t watch because I didn’t really have the desire to expose myself to outright triggering material, there were a lot of outdated and harmful ideas about rape being peddled in order to make a point.
And that didn’t help. Rape isn’t commonly done with violence. It happens, but rarely. It’s astronomically likely to be someone you know, someone you’re friends with, someone in your family. You’re not likely to be gagged in a dark alley and violently penetrated- it might happen when your boyfriend or girlfriend ignores you when you say no. It could be when your husband does it, too, (and yes, marital rape gets ignored).
Rape is non-consensual sexual activity. ‘But there was no vaginal penetration!’ is a myth. Personally I didn’t know I’d been raped for several years after it happened because I didn’t know it could happen in the context of a friend or a boyfriend when you were already messing around. I subscribed to the idea that I said yes to one thing, so I had no right to complain. Why are we perpetrating this when we talk about rape in a political discourse, though? Why do we set up violent rape as The Only Kind? I’m not just being particular.
It’s a harmful thing to do. You’re not actually helping any victims out (and the republicans aren’t listening to you). You’re making it harder to believe when someone comes forward about what happened in their dorm room last night, what their husband did, what their girlfriend did. By framing the context of All Rape as violent, stranger rape, we keep up the myths that women have to live their lives around the fear of being raped (they don’t). We all know that short skirts and cleavage aren’t, theoretically to blame, or we all say we do. We all reblog Slutwalk pictures on tumblr. We all know that what the victim was wearing is irrelevant. Once I was naked and a virgin seventeen, and once I was eight and also naked, so the issue of clothing is completely irrelevant. (Unless you believe that sex is a contract and if you agree to foreplay you’ve agreed to coitus, no matter what.) You’re perpetuating a myth about rape. That’s all you’re doing.
Conservative people aren’t listening to you, and if they’ve made up their minds about pregnancy and rape, they’ve made up their minds, and these arguments aren’t helping anyone at all, especially anyone who was raped. It’s hard to come out about rape in the first place for several reasons but does our side have to add ‘because the rape wasn’t violent’ to that list? Do we, really?