In light of recent events, I’m taking a temporary hiatus from love, from pain, from human feeling, really. Instead I’ll talk about an act so heinous, it doesn’t really rate on the human spectrum – rape/sexual assault. It’s funny because I see animals and their sexual interactions and, even when I was much younger, I had a problem with how I could not tell if the female animals were really showing consent, really enjoying the acts as they stood complacently and were pounded from behind. Docile, pliant, but not quite passionate; just furthering their species. But humans aren’t that way, are we? We hardly engage in sexual acts to “be fruitful and multiply”. We express passion, hate, excitement, happiness, pleasure and love through that medium.
Now, I spend a lot of time with love. I am trying to make a whole blog about it, for Gods sake. I am not an expert on it but I do know a bit about it. Not so with rape, not at all. I barely know anything about it since it consists of so many different experiences and the hurt and angst of so many different individuals with different reactions that I do not know. But here I am still writing a blog post about it (and here you are still reading). Well we’ve generalized about all I do not know about rape/sexual assault. Below is what I DO know about rape.
Ten things I know about rape and/or sexual assault that you should too:
– Victim blaming is NOT okay. Blaming is used lightly here to describe victim doubting, victim indifference, victim shunning, victim hostile analysis, victim anything really. You know why? Because the only thing that should be directed towards them is love and support. And some more support.
Oldest trick in the book I just employed, eh? But as with all other cliches, still bloody effective. I could have talked about how rape is a heinous act that gets committed every day (RAINN actually reports one sexual assault in America every 107 seconds. If you don’t know what RAINN is, please educate yourself) yet there is NOT ONE self acknowledging rapist out there (yes,yes, I know about that disturbed psychopath who actually admitted to it).
I could have talked about how 4/5 rapists are people we know and 47 percent are actual friends or acquaintances (this one needs a bit more spreading around in certain countries. Mine, for instance) and so we shouldn’t be so quick to discount the more “unbelievable” strikes of sexual assault i.e. Fathers, stepfathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, husbands, neighbors, grandfathers etc.
I could have talked about how empathy and support shouldn’t be given more readily solely to those we know simply because we can speak to their character, but also to those we do not. Because while on the other hand, there are obviously those out there that we do not know that can speak to their characters (weak justification), until the rapist is proven completely innocent (approximately 1 in 400 cases btw), it is NEVER the victim’s character that should be in question.
I could talk about how the justice system does not make it the easiest for victims even in this century to report this revolting act, no matter how advanced the country in which it is committed.
I could talk about how acts of rape and sexual assault require the silence of the victim for the perpetrator to keep on committing these acts and he will go to any lengths to achieve this aim. Is it then a shock that emotional, physical and psychological abuse are usually the weapons of choice employed to attain this objective? How far fetched does it seem now that most victims do not report these crimes? (Yes, there are definitely also cases that aren’t reported for fear of shame, ostracizing, and all things that could be reasons for all situations. But you get what I mean).
I could have talked about how rape/sexual assault has nothing to do with what a woman is wearing, how much she has drunk, the recreational drugs she chooses to take, the jobs she chooses to do, the company she chooses to keep, the words she chooses to use, the people she chooses to love or the way she chooses to act. You know why? Because 10 times out of 10, a woman will never CHOOSE rape. And that is the only choice that matters.
I could have talked about how while rape/sexual assault isn’t exclusive to women, (yes, kids and men also get affected) they are highest sufferers. And while men should also be protected, kids even more vigorously so, this movement has more than enough space for everybody. Much like all the movements out there about social justice with opposers – #alllivesmatter #notallmen – the opposition noise is unnecessary. If we all supported the movement at hand at each moment with the importance it deserved without detraction, the hashtags I just used would not be necessary. It would be clear to all that all lives matter and it wasn’t all men. The point is each movement should get its due as presented – independently and with complete attention.
I could have talked about how social justice should be championed by all – passively or actively. Because humanity – as social beings- require justice. You cannot hope to be human and not be concerned with the concept of it. It is not a choice we should consider that we have, like our opinions on religion or politics. It is a right we should exercise. If one chooses not to be active in their bid for justice, one can still passively participate by providing support to its victims. This does NOT include keeping silent. To stand silent is to provide consent. (I think I paraphrased two different quotes here but you get my point).
I could have talked about how rape/sexual assault has affected at least one person you know well. No, really it has.
I could have spoken about how this issue is important to me because I, like the countless others that came before, after, and beside me, have suffered from it myself. I, like countless others, have suffered psychologically and emotionally for years afterwards. It does not make me any less of a human, I do not live any less in my own truth and I certainly did not deserve any of it. But it happened anyway.
I know I know, I pulled another cliche and gave you 10 reasons anyway. Funny how that still works, huh?
Some of you will, upon reaching the end of this list, scoff at how logical and common place these things were. I’m glad you read it anyway and I hope we are friends in real life.
Some of you will not agree, think some of these statements are largely assuming on my part or that I have no right to challenge your way of thought. But I would argue that I do. We grow when we are challenged.
Love is still the answer though, it always is.