Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Politics of Rape and Why I Don’t Like Chocolate Cake

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve been hearing a lot about rape lately. And most of it isn’t good. Not that rape it ever good, but hearing about educating girls, protecting women, punishing offenders are all good stories about a very bad thing. But no – instead we’re hearing about idiots who are so profoundly stupid that they are trying to spread a whole bunch of nonsense about what rape is and its effect on women (and society in general, for that matter).

I won’t go on and on about it, since unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard it all already. But I will say this. I am outraged and sickened that – in 2012 – we have people who:

A) believe that women’s bodies have some sort of magical, bad-guy-rapist-fighting secretions that keep them from getting pregnant (and lest you think that the latest asshole, Akin is the only one, this has been going on for years – for YEARS, assholes have been telling us that “rape causes a woman to ‘secrete a certain secretion’ that kills sperm”, that “women do not get pregnant when raped because ‘the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work’” and that “the emotional trauma of rape upsets the possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy”), and

B) are seeking to “define” rape. Let me help them out here – rape is defined by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) as:

“Forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object. Rape victims may be forced through threats or physical means. In about 8 out of 10 rapes, no weapon is used other than physical force. Anyone may be a victim of rape: women, men or children, straight or gay.”

Got it? There is no “legitimate rape” vs. well…I don’t know what the alternative is – illegitimate rape? I don’t know what they are thinking with that one.

And while we’re on the subject, we don’t need to call it “forcible rape” either – because by definition, rape is always “forcible” – otherwise it would just be called sex.

And we don’t need to qualify the circumstances either. There is no date rape, or acquaintance rape – calling it by those names diminishes the severity of the crime. If sexual activity is forced on a woman (or man), knowing the rapist, dating the rapist – being married to the rapist doesn’t change the fact that it is rape. We need to stop this nonsense and start valuing the rights of our women (and yes – men, but let’s be honest, if men getting raped were more common, this would likely not be an issue).

I had an incident when I was in high school that the “rape qualifiers” would call (attempted) date rape (actually, “acquaintance rape” because he wasn’t my date, but he was a classmate at the same party) – and that offends me. Because the phrase “date rape” sounds like two people who decided to fool around and then one felt guilty afterward. It’s basically a way of condescending to the woman who has experience, while winking at the man and saying, “We know it wasn’t really rape.” This is not what happened to me. I was physically restrained, touched without my consent and nearly raped, and only a lucky break of circumstances stopped it. It was violent and terrifying and to this day – nearly 30 years later – I can remember how I felt and how he looked and what he tasted like. It was no less serious than so-called “forcible” or “legitimate” rape. I wrote about it before, but the whole “going (more) public” with this blog has made me lock some entries up for privacy. But here is an excerpt:

He was harmless. Or at least I thought he was until he grabbed me and threw me on the bed. He got on top of me and starting kissing me. He tasted like chocolate cake. I was terrified and gagging and trying to protest, but he kept shoving his tongue down my throat and rubbing himself on me, grabbing my breasts, trying to get his hands in my pants. I fought him off as well as I could and then he got his knees on my arms and pinned me down. I wanted to punch him in his disgusting, ugly face, but I couldn’t move. He was trying to simultaneously get my pants off and take his penis out. Or maybe I should say his dick or his cock. Penis sounds too innocuous. Those words do a better job of getting across the ugliness. I couldn’t scream because he kept covering my mouth with his. I was crying and thrashing around and thinking that this was it – he was raping me. I wasn’t a virgin at this point but I was pretty close to it – sex was still something special to me and I sure as hell didn’t want to share it with this asshole.

Just then, a group of girls came into the room and he jumped off me. One of those girls was his date – a long-time friend. Another was a very good friend of mine. The third was a girl who hated me. And immediately, even though they saw with their own eyes the position I was in and even though they should have been easily able to hear my protests and even though my face was covered in tears and my clothes were in disarray and even though I had angry red marks on my arm, they looked at me and yelled, “Gina! What are you doing?” In that one instant, I went from being the girl who was almost raped to the girl who tried to fuck her friend’s boyfriend at the prom picnic. I’m not sure which hurt worse. At the same time, I hated those girls for treating me that way and was grateful that they stopped what almost happened. But mostly, it was like buckets of salt on a fresh, gaping wound and I hated them. I hated him, I hated them, I hated everyone.

And I stopped eating chocolate cake.

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10 comments:

Logical Libby said...

I am so sorry that happened to you. And I am even sorrier that you were made to look like the villain. I am glad you can talk about it honestly though.

AM said...

The more we share our stories, the louder the voice gets.

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