Nice girls don’t write about rape. Too violent, too controversial, too…icky. Yes, rape is controversial, hard as that may be to believe.
Still, two stories I read today in short order helped me get my anger back. One was from the den of iniquity usually referred to as “the British Media” about a publication that joked to young men that they might as well take their chances because 85% of rapes go unreported (they went on to call those who were offended ‘dykes’, natch). The second was from a college near to my heart and home, at which a student comedy show was criticized for a sketch making light of rape. The first offense is clearly worse than the second, but they highlighted an alarming pattern.
“We joke about everything else” you might be thinking, “why can’t we joke about rape?” Because when we joke about murder or other forms of violence very few of us truly feel the threat of that violence. But women live under the threat of objectification at best and sexual violence at worst every day, and I’d wager most of us feel it.
Our culture tells men to pursue getting off at any cost, and tells women to shut up and take it if they want anyone to pay attention to them. To use an appropriately vulgar metaphor, we’re all screwed.
God willing, most of us will not be raped in our lifetimes (although looking at the statistics, that depends on what your definition of “most” is). But I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t know that feeling: When you have gone from a real person to an object of base, physical gratification. It can happen with a look, a gesture, a catcall, or an act. All of the things we have worked for, all of our accomplishments and hopes and dreams, all of the people we love and who love us cease to exist. Like a dirty picture or inflatable doll, we are something to be used to get off. We are something to have power over.
Even in the safest of environments, women live with a reality of physical vulnerability which can be terrifying if contemplated. As the world becomes more aggressive and as more males use violent pornography as their main form of sex ed (and for those of you uninitiated it is all violent, it all teaches men to get off on degrading women. ALL OF IT) the more likely we all are to be degraded.
Sometimes I envy the women who buy in, the ones who say “if my power is in being f*ckable, then dammit I’ll take the power”. I want something to make me feel powerful. I want something to distract me from this terrible world where male sexual aggression is lionized and even institutionalized. I want something that gives me ownership over my situation, that lets me have control. Because no amount of advanced degrees or impressive job titles or even loving family and friends can protect me from that feeling.
Nice girls don’t write about rape. But when we don’t write about it we let those who don’t care about propriety set the terms. I’m done with that. Sexual violence is not a joke, objectification should not be the status quo and I refuse to be complicit anymore with those who pray to the god of getting off.
Thank you so much for writing and posting this. A friend of mine from Boston posted this on Facebook. This evil is so entrenched, so powerful and a daunting challenge to tackle, but NOT impossible (Luke 1:37). I have no wife nor daughters but this problem bothers me greatly because of the damage it does to everyone. This evil mentality is why human trafficking (“prostitution”) is so successful. At the Passion ’12 gathering in Atlanta, we were told there are as many as 27 million enslaved people worldwide, over 80% women and children. God help (or judge :/) us. No one else can.
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I think you are right on the money: it affects *all* of us. Obviously as a woman I have my own interest in the issue, but I see the damage that it does to men as well as women, and it breaks my heart.
Very Nice article. Interesting subject as you pointed out. In some countries the womans word is not taken into account and she is not believed. In our society “USA” rapes are investigated….. but I will admit there are some that arent due to credibility or lack of evidence persay… Thankfully some schools educated women and men to report or rape and dont hold back out of fear. Will we ever live in a world or evena society free of crime and rape… NO. But we can do our best to help educated those we know and care about that should an event like this ever occur, there is help out there and people and municpals that will help.
You are totally right – we have a lot more safeguards and repercussions when these events occur. I just wish we didn’t need them so much.
I’m glad someone is speaking out.
Thanks for reading. The topic is so hard to talk about that we sanitize it until the gritty truth is obscured.
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