This will be ugly but then again rape is an ugly thing. Why should a conversation about it be clean or pretty? I’m really happy to see that other bloggers are taking to their sites and having an open dialog about this. I’m joining them.
I’ve wanted to write on this for months. It started with ridiculously mindless, thoughtless comments made by politicians who are clearly ignorant or, quite simply, are assholes who don’t really respect women. Comments about “legitimate rape” or it being “God’s will.” As a Catholic, I have a really hard time thinking that God would want any of His children hurt in any fashion so why would God want a man to rape a woman? Or a man another man or any other combination… why? If you ask me, God wouldn’t so what a ridiculously stupid comment to make. It was an incredibly insensitive comment and really shows the little respect this individual has for women, or rape victims period whoever they may be.
I’ve known for a long time that people have the wrong idea of rape, what it is and how it can really hurt in more ways than one, but it hasn’t been until some of that came out, all these teenagers raping each other and then posting it to the Internet that it’s become crystal clear that we’re not getting any better about how we view women or rape victims (again whoever they may be) in general. I don’t understand that. How can there not be sympathy for someone who’s a victim of a crime? How do people not understand that rape is NEVER a crime of passion; it’s about holding power over someone else, it’s about embarrassing the other person. How do you not see that? I also find it absolutely repulsive that many often put the blame on the victim. What?!?!?! We never blame murder victims so why would should we blame rape victims? Absolutely atrocious.
Part of the problem is that there are different ideas of what rape is – this clearly seen in the Steubenville case. Those two boys are far from being the only ones who think that because a woman is passed out drunk, that it’s not rape. Many people, even women, think that it’s the woman’s fault, even a man’s fault when it happens to him, if she’s drunk. Um… no. The whole drunk scenario just drives home the point of rape is NOT a crime of passion. It’s about control and knowing the other person is not in a position to say no. It’s repulsive. My point – part of the issue is also simply not having one hard cut definition of rape. I was just looking at RAINN’s website (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) and it talks about how states use different wording to describe the same thing or use some words interchangeably. Well, of course people are going to get things confused or come up with excuses if there isn’t something uniform about it. RAINN also pointed out that there are also only certain circumstances in which spousal rape is even considered a crime!!! What?!??! Rape, whoever does it to whoever, is a crime! Period. Or at least it should be. Why would there ever be any loophole for when it’s okay??? Why? No wonder Lorena Bobbit took the law into her own hands (I don’t advocate using violence to solve violence just think it’s understandable). We have to talk about rape so this can be changed – it has to be changed. This is unacceptable.
This horrible topic has to be discussed and openly or it will never change. In fact, right now I’m worried it’s actually getting worse. When I keep reading about these young people who are raping each other and then posting it to the Internet, I just want to scream. I partly want to scream about how in the hell do parents not know this is happening or worse yet, care?!?!?! The Steubenville case is definitely one to highlight. I was so disgusted to read that one of the young perpetrator’s was crying once he was sentenced and I couldn’t help but think ” you’re not crying about how you hurt someone irreparably, you’re crying for you because you got caught.” That’s how I felt then and it’s how I feel about it now. That creeper hardly got anything. The only thing that may show him the damage he’s caused is having to register as a sex offender for life and even that is hardly enough punishment for what he’s done. It disturbs me to now end that people in the town think that what those boys did was NOT worth mentioning or taking action. They posted it to the Internet for fuck’s sake!!! That’s the ultimate disrespect (this particular sentence disappoints me because it feels like such an understatement but I can’t find better words at the moment). That whole case is mind boggling. So now it’s not just rape, it’s bullying. Let’s go ahead and compound the hurt by making someone have to relive that horror over and over and over again. Let’s make their family relive it over and over. My God what’s happened to our youth that they think this is okay? What’s happened to parenting that they don’t teach their kids or even allow this to happen?
There are girls now killing themselves over these situations. I recently read an article on CNN about a girl who was raped, it was all over the Internet and she killed herself. I was appalled to read that initially the cops weren’t going to follow through on a criminal case. I realize that there needs to be sufficient evidence, etc., but come on… there needs to be a WILL to look for it too because it’s there, just find it already.
I also want to quickly touch base on military rapes. I have been reading some articles on CNN about how much of that nasty business happens in the military. I was astonished to find out that more than half of the rapes are against men and many of the victims ended up getting discharged for having reported the rape. I was beside myself. How could this happen? I was a little upset at myself for being surprised how many are male victims. Men can be victims just as much as women. Again, I think it’s that idea that rape is violent and the general idea is that men are more forceful than women -horrible. That said – the article pointed out, again, that rape in the military is never about being gay or sex. It’s about power. Surprise, surprise. Many of the males who are raped are victimized during boot camp – sounds like a power trip to me. The most disgusting part is that the victims are usually told they have something wrong with them. Often they’re diagnosed with something and then have to be discharged. What?!?!? How disgusting it is to treat our men and women who only want to serve our country in such a repulsive manner. So not only are they blamed but they’re punished. This too must be talked about. This has to change.
I remember my mom used to tell me that victims are victims for a reason. Mind you, she was talking about those who ended up victims of serial killers (at the time she was reading a bunch of books about those folks, which she learned a lot -scary but fascinating too). I used to hate when she said that. It felt as though she was blaming the victims somehow, but she wasn’t. She simply meant that the victim becomes a target because something about that individual or situation that individual is in makes it easy for the perpetrator to pounce. I only bring this up because part of our teaching our children should include how to keep themselves safe. Talk to your kids about self-respect and respect of others, proper treatment of others even when those other kids are drunk, etc. Talk to your kids about the consequences of pre-marital sex, sexting (which is a whole other topic), etc. Kids do what they do because they don’t see the consequences. That’s for adults to do for them, including teenagers. Teens are not any better than children in terms of understanding consequences. Please don’t get me wrong – I’m in no way blaming victims for what happened to them. I’m only saying that perhaps there’s a way to better arm our teens/children so as to help better protect themselves from the beginning so we don’t have to talk about rape after the fact.
I hope people get to talking about this. Talk then come up with action. People need to be informed about what rape is, how it hurts and ruins lives. This has to happen. How can we say we’re the best in the world when we treat our rape victims so horribly? Even our service members are disgraced and it wasn’t their fault. This whole thing makes me so angry; it makes me want to cry, scream, whatever.