Hey there, folks. This post is going to be a little bit deep and not at all uplifting. Trigger warning: personal story of sexual assault and discussion of rape culture.
Okay. So. Recently I’ve witnessed some people I am close to make some comparisons that I find astonishing. I’m not sure how to write this but I guess I will just go with it. Please be aware that almost this entire post is comprised of my opinions and my personal experience. But I firmly believe that I am not the only person who holds these beliefs or has a story like this.
Most of you who know me personally know that I returned early from my semester abroad in Spain; however, there are few people who know why. Not astonishingly after the beginning of this post, I now inform you that I came home early because I was raped while abroad. I was followed, hit on the head, and dragged into the entryway of an abandoned apartment. I will spare you the details…
After I made it home (the taxi driver was a saint) I immediately Skyped my girlfriend at the time. She told me I should tell my sister. My sister told me to tell my mom. My mom told me to tell my school. This was Friday night. On Monday morning I told an administrator what had happened. She took me to the hospital and I was forced to interact with numerous officials who did not believe me. Not only was I asked things like “what were you wearing?” and “why were you alone?” I was also treated as if it wasn’t a big deal. Like this terrible, scarring, violent occurrence was my fault and not worth the “scene” I made when the fourth person came to examine me to “make sure.” So not only was I raped but I was further humiliated by people who either didn’t believe I was telling the truth or who didn’t believe rape was that big of a deal.
Now, on to the title of this post. Whenever I hear (or see) anyone use the word “rape” to describe anything but the disgusting crime, I cringe. I didn’t find it appropriate before Spain but now it outright enrages me. Because when you make those comparisons, you’re telling me that my experience is as trivial as a football game or a Call of Duty tournament. You’re telling me that your difficult exam was as traumatizing as what has happened to countless men, women, and children.
You are making a mistake.
You are perpetuating the idea that rape is, and should be, common and forgivable. Nobody, ever, asks to be raped. Not a scantily clad drunk woman, not a helpless child, not even a convict. If it isn’t acceptable (to you) to make rape jokes using the context that it is a woman being raped, it’s not acceptable to make a rape joke at all. There aren’t varying degrees of rape. Each time it is committed it is completely unacceptable. Additionally, whenever you say that someone deserved to be assaulted, you are telling me that I deserved to be assaulted. That I shouldn’t have been alone, that I shouldn’t have been wearing a dress, that I shouldn’t have been drinking. If you’re reading this, I ask you to please think about the things you’re saying. Think about the words you’re using and actually consider whether or not you should be making the comparison you’re about to make.
Please, just think before you speak.
Thanks for reading.