A Fate Worse Than Death…

Our culture protects rapists…but not for long thanks to women like Savannah, Chloe, and Helen. Women who refuse to stay silent about this culturally taboo subject. Women who refuse to stay silent about what happened to them because it makes others uncomfortable. Women who refuse to stay silent even when the law and society says they need to shut-the-fuck up.

Because, let me tell you one thing, provable or not in a court of law, rape is rape is rape. Too many people think rape must be violent rape by a stranger in a dark alley or in the bushes.

Too many people think of “date rape” as somehow not as traumatic as stranger rape. It is. Perhaps moreso because you have the betrayal of a loved one on top of the assault.

Too many people think rape has to be violent to be rape. It doesn’t. It can be coerced. It can be emotionally manipulated. It can be under intoxication.

Too many people think consent cannot be withdrawn. Too many people think that rape depends on the promiscuity level or lifestyle or attire or geographical location of the victim.

RAPE IS RAPE.

  • Fucking or fingering or going down on a person who is unconscious is rape
  • Fucking or fingering or going down on a person who is too drunk or drugged or terrified or emotionally distraught to freely consent is rape
  • Fucking or fingering or going down on a person who is crying their eyes out, terrified that if they don’t do it they’ll be abandoned or hurt or punished is rape.
  • Consenting to sex with a lover who turns violent halfway through without additional consent for that level of aggression/violence is rape
  • Violent, angry sex as means of a punishment for a perceived slight is rape.
  • Coercion is rape. Which means, if she says no and/or pushes your hand away, and you keep going and keep going and keep going, inching forward a little at a time until you finally wear her downand she gives in, that’s rape.

As for these rapists who made a “mistake” or didn’t know what they were doing or claim to have some “misunderstanding,” it’s still rape. So, for all you rapists who don’t think they’re rapists. Read this. We’ve got your number now. You know if something isn’t right. If it’s not “legally” rape, it can still be rape. You know the difference between enthusiastic consent and a partner trying to stop you or who is terrified or who is repeatedly saying or indicating no or who is too intoxicated to consent.

You fucking know.

Yesterday, I tweeted and posted FB status updates about a rape case of 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich who tweeted the names of her attackers after told not to talk about the case.

She did anyway.

Fuck yeah, she did.

Remember what I’ve said before? Silence is the abuser’s greatest weapon.

Break the silence.

This young woman risked jail time to stand up for what’s right and to stand up for her rights. She tweeted her attackers’ names because others need to be warned. At 17 she risked jail time, and she prevailed.

Rapists are rapists are rapists. If they’ve raped once, they will likely rape again. And, sadly, once a victim of sexual assault, you are more likely to be a victim again, largely because of the rape culture and victim blaming. Largely because most rapists walk free to rape again. Largely because of weak laws and sleazy defense attornies.

Something has become painfully clear to me in the past weeks, and that’s we live in a RAPE CULTURE.

What is a rape culture? This is:

This is rape culture (taken from sfburnergrrrl’s blog):

“Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.

Rape culture is victim-blaming. Rape culture is a judge blaming a child for her own rape. Rape culture is a minister blaming his child victims. Rape culture is accusing a child of enjoying being held hostage, raped, and tortured. Rape culture is spending enormous amounts of time finding any reason at all that a victim can be blamed for hir own rape.

Rape culture is judges banning the use of the word rape in the courtroom. Rape culture is the media using euphemisms for sexual assault. Rape culture is stories about rape being featured in the Odd News.

Rape culture is tasking victims with the burden of rape prevention. Rape culture is encouraging women to take self-defense as though that is the only solution required to preventing rape. Rape culture is admonishing women to “learn common sense” or “be more responsible” or “be aware of barroom risks” or “avoid these places” or “don’t dress this way,” and failing to admonish men to not rape.

Rape culture is “nothing” being the most frequent answer to a question about what people have been formally taught about rape.

Rape culture is boys under 10 years old knowing how to rape.

Rape culture is the idea that only certain people rape—and only certain people get raped. Rape culture is ignoring that the thing about rapists is that they rape people. They rape people who are strong and people who are weak, people who are smart and people who are dumb, people who fight back and people who submit just to get it over with, people who are sluts and people who are prudes, people who rich and people who are poor, people who are tall and people who are short, people who are fat and people who are thin, people who are blind and people who are sighted, people who are deaf and people who can hear, people of every race and shape and size and ability and circumstance.

Rape culture is the narrative that sex workers can’t be raped. Rape culture is the assertion that wives can’t be raped. Rape culture is the contention that only nice girls can be raped.

Rape culture is refusing to acknowledge that the only thing that the victim of every rapist shares in common is bad fucking luck. Rape culture is refusing to acknowledge that the only thing a person can do to avoid being raped is never be in the same room as a rapist. Rape culture is avoiding talking about what an absurdly unreasonable expectation that is, since rapists don’t announce themselves or wear signs or glow purple.

Rape culture is people meant to protect you raping you instead—like parents, teachers, doctors, ministers, cops, soldiers, self-defense instructors.

Rape culture is a serial rapist being appointed to a federal panel that makes decisions regarding women’s health.

Rape culture is a ruling that says women cannot withdraw consent once sex commences.

Rape culture is a collective understanding about classifications of rapists: The “normal” rapist (whose crime is most likely to be dismissed with a “boys will be boys” sort of jocular apologia) is the man who forces himself on attractive women, women his age in fine health and form, whose crime is disturbingly understandable to his male defenders. The “real sickos” are the men who go after children, old ladies, the disabled, accident victims languishing in comas—the sort of people who can’t fight back, whose rape is difficult to imagine as titillating, unlike the rape of “pretty girls,” so easily cast in a fight-fuck fantasy of squealing and squirming and eventual relenting to the “flattery” of being raped.

Rape culture is the insistence on trying to distinguish between different kinds of rape via the use of terms like “gray rape” or “date rape.”

Rape culture is pervasive narratives about rape that exist despite evidence to the contrary. Rape culture is pervasive imagery of stranger rape, even though women are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know than a stranger, and nine times more likely to be raped in their home, the home of someone they know, or anywhere else than being raped on the street, making what is commonly referred to as “date rape” by far the most prevalent type of rape. Rape culture is pervasive insistence that false reports are common, although they are less common (1.6%) than false reports of auto theft (2.6%). Rape culture is pervasive claims that women make rape accusations willy-nilly, when 61% of rapes remain unreported.

Rape culture is the pervasive narrative that there is a “typical” way to behave after being raped, instead of the acknowledgment that responses to rape are as varied as its victims, that, immediately following a rape, some women go into shock; some are lucid; some are angry; some are ashamed; some are stoic; some are erratic; some want to report it; some don’t; some will act out; some will crawl inside themselves; some will have healthy sex lives; some never will again.

Rape culture is the pervasive narrative that a rape victim who reports her rape is readily believed and well-supported, instead of acknowledging that reporting a rape is a huge personal investment, a difficult process that can be embarrassing, shameful, hurtful, frustrating, and too often unfulfilling. Rape culture is ignoring that there is very little incentive to report a rape; it’s a terrible experience with a small likelihood of seeing justice served.

Rape culture is hospitals that won’t do rape kits, disbelieving law enforcement, unmotivated prosecutors, hostile judges, victim-blaming juries, and paltry sentencing.

Rape culture is the fact that higher incidents of rape tend to correlate with lower conviction rates.

Rape culture is silence around rape in the national discourse, and in rape victims’ homes. Rape culture is treating surviving rape as something of which to be ashamed. Rape culture is families torn apart because of rape allegations that are disbelieved or ignored or sunk to the bottom of a deep, dark sea in an iron vault of secrecy and silence.

Rape culture is the objectification of women, which is part of a dehumanizing process that renders consent irrelevant. Rape culture is treating women’s bodies like public property. Rape culture is street harassment and groping on public transportation and equating raped women’s bodies to a man walking around with valuables hanging out of his pockets. Rape culture is most men being so far removed from the threat of rape that invoking property theft is evidently the closest thing many of them can imagine to being forcibly subjected to a sexual assault.

Rape culture is treating 13-year-old girls like trophies for men regarded as great artists.

Rape culture is ignoring the way in which professional environments that treat sexual access to female subordinates as entitlements of successful men can be coercive and compromise enthusiastic consent.

Rape culture is a convicted rapist getting a standing ovation at Cannes, a cameo in a hit movie, and a career resurgence in which he can joke about how he hates seeing people get hurt.

Rape culture is when running dogfights is said to elicit more outrage than raping a woman would.

Rape culture is blurred lines between persistence and coercion. Rape culture is treating diminished capacity to consent as the natural path to sexual activity.

Rape culture is pretending that non-physical sexual assaults, like peeping tomming, is totally unrelated to brutal and physical sexual assaults, rather than viewing them on a continuum of sexual assault.

Rape culture is diminishing the gravity of any sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, or culture of actual or potential coercion in any way.

Rape culture is using the word “rape” to describe something that has been done to you other than a forced or coerced sex act. Rape culture is saying things like “That ATM raped me with a huge fee” or “The IRS raped me on my taxes.”

Rape culture is rape being used as entertainment, in movies and television shows and books and in video games.

Rape culture is television shows and movies leaving rape out of situations where it would be a present and significant threat in real life.

Rape culture is Amazon offering to locate “rape” products for you.

Rape culture is rape jokes. Rape culture is rape jokes on t-shirts, rape jokes in college newspapers, rape jokes in soldiers’ home videos, rape jokes on the radio, rape jokes on news broadcasts, rape jokes in magazines, rape jokes in viral videos, rape jokes in promotions for children’s movies, rape jokes on Page Six (and again!), rape jokes on the funny pages, rape jokes on TV shows, rape jokes on the campaign trail, rape jokes on Halloween, rape jokes in online content by famouspeople, rape jokes in online content by non-famous people, rape jokes in headlines, rape jokes onstage at clubs, rape jokes in politics, rape jokes in one-woman shows, rape jokes in print campaigns, rape jokes in movies, rape jokes in cartoons, rape jokes in nightclubs, rape jokes on MTV, rape jokes on late-nightchat shows, rape jokes in tattoos, rape jokes in stand-upcomedy, rape jokes on websites, rape jokes at awards shows, rape jokes in online contests, rape jokes in movie trailers, rape jokes on the sides of buses, rape jokes on cultural institutions

Rape culture is people objecting to the detritus of the rape culture being called oversensitive, rather than people who perpetuate the rape culture being regarded as not sensitive enough.

Rape culture is the myriad ways in which rape is tacitly and overtly abetted and encouraged having saturated every corner of our culture so thoroughly that people can’t easily wrap their heads around what the rape culture actually is.

That’s hardly everything. It’s merely the tip of an unfathomable iceberg.”

Still don’t get it?

This is rape culture:

This is rape culture:

This is rape culture:

This is rape culture:

This is rape culture:

ENOUGH with the rape culture, people. It is up to each and every one of us to stand up for what’s right.

Men and women, alike, learn what is and isn’t sexual assault. What’s the best way to learn? FROM THE SURVIVORS. By talking about it. Open discussion and debate, ESPECIALLY in sex-positive communities.

Broadening the definition of rape in our culture and eventually in our laws hurt no one but the rapist. For, as I’ve said before, if it’s close enough to sexual assault to come into question, then that’s too close. If a woman or man feels violated or assaulted, even if it was “consensual,” then that’s too close.

Enthusiastic consent. Nothing less.

And, huge kudos to those women mentioned at the beginning of this post. You are truly an inspiration. I hope more will follow Helen’s suit.

We must end the silence.

Please help me do so.

~ by omgrey on July 25, 2012.

9 Responses to “A Fate Worse Than Death…”

  1. [...] This is horrible. This is a fate worse than death. This is not sex-”positive.” And certainly you want to believe there aren’t [...]

  2. [...] A Fate Worse Than Death [...]

  3. [...] to function. Suicidal to the point that my husband was terrified of getting off the phone with me, because what had happened to me was worse than death. Loss of hope. Loss of self. Loss of control. Loss of safety. All, by the way, common symptoms of [...]

  4. [...] yes, the *wrong* scenarios were taken from actual conversations. The Scene One before the rape (its what I was punished for), and the second in between the two assaults. I couldn’t bear to [...]

  5. [...] A Fate Worse Than Death… (omgrey.wordpress.com) [...]

  6. [...] Original Blog Post [...]

  7. [...] A Fate Worse than Death [...]

  8. [...] (Honestly, had you given me a choice before my rape to be raped by the man I loved and discarded or to die, I would’ve chosen death. Easily. Hands down. It is truly a fate worse than death.) [...]

  9. […] is cumulative. By the time it happened again, and again, and again, and–yes–again, in my early 40s, it all had caught up with me and I experienced severe PTSD […]

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