“I think in some ways every single person, human, vampire, whatever, has a choice to make: to be full of rage about what happens to you or to reconcile with it, to strive for the most honorable existence you can despite the odds.”
Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
Hopefully by now everyone has heard about the rape of the Steubenville girl, the delinquent verdict of the two perpetrators We have probably heard about the town and it’s members rallying for the two guys who raped the girl. By now, you have probably heard the tale of the sympathizing attitude of CNN and other leading news outlets. No, they were not sympathizing with the victim, they were sympathizing with the perpetrators.
I can talk to you about how disgusted I am by the ordeal. How appalling it is that grown men and women made excuses for these guys. I could tell you how journalists compromised human decency when they revealed the victim’s name to the public. You probably have already heard of the “drunk girl” and the “boys will be boys” rhetoric, and one or two of you may even be a part of it. You have heard of living in a rape culture and wondered who would perpetuate such horrid ideals.
But we are not going to talk about others say or do. Because I may also be participating in rape culture.
I was molested as a child. I am pretty open about it, it happened, and that’s reality. One thing I always held on to was, “at least I wasn’t raped.” Or, “so much worse has happened to children so much younger.” “I was just molested, not raped,” was my to go mantra.
But this tragedy brought up the question: What is rape? How is it defined? www.womenaresafe.org defined it as:
Rape is sexual penetration (genital, anal, or oral, including any intrusion – however slight) into any part of a person’s body (with emission of semen not required) and involving one or more of the following elements:
- Force or coercion
- Victim did not consent
- Victim is unable to give consent
(8 to 30 years in prison)
The FBI defines it the same way, as do most organizations that are experts in the field.
But like the people who are denying that what happened to the girl was rape, I do not want to view what happened to me as rape. My mind rejected the notion immediately. But then logical reasoning started to fall in place. Men can rape women, men can rape men, women can rape women, and women can rape men. Any kind of object can be used, from body parts to candlesticks. And if it’s not consented and sexual in nature, then it’s rape.
And that meant I had to admit something that I have been avoiding my whole life…
Days later, and I still can’t say it aloud. Just the thought of saying the words makes me nauseous. I couldn’t even type it out without feeling wrong.
Yet, by not admitting it, am I not letting the rape culture fester? By not admitting it, am I not saying that those high school boys did not rape the girl? Am I dishonest? Dishonorable?
I don’t know. I’ll get back to you on that.
Actually, I probably won’t.