Monday, June 27, 2011

Is rape always serious?

Last month, this article caught my attention on twitter. The details of the article weren't terribly important to me; what caught my attention was the fact that the interviewee attempts to differentiate between types of rape.
Serious rape, I don't think many judges give five years for a forcible rape, the tariff is longer than that. And a serious rape where, you know, violence and an unwilling woman....
Discussing rape is such a bad idea for a man - it's right up there with talking about how tired you are from being in the hospital while your wife spent 30 hours in labor.

I think it's a bad idea, personally, to say that some rape is "serious" - which implies other forms of rape are not. A better idea (in my completely unqualified and totally irrelevant) opinion would be to redefine certain things which are called rape as something else entirely. At the same time, I think additional charges/crimes/whatever are needed in other situations.

And I think someone should give this Ken Clarke guy a twix - because he definitely needs a minute.

I get what he's saying. A man grabbing a woman - a stranger - off the street, forcing her at gun point onto the ground and violently raping her is one thing. A 20 year-old man having (consensual) sex with a 16 year-old girl is another. But both are rape.

I submit that maybe they shouldn't be.

When I was 16, I (briefly) dated a 20 year-old guy. We did not have sex, but if we had, it would have been consensual. I would have known what I was doing, and I would have been making an informed, adult decision. Would it have been a good decision? No. But by choosing not to have sex with him, I've proven that some 16 year-old girls are, in fact, capable of making a mature, rational, adult decision.

So the assumption that a girl who has sex at a young age must have been taken advantage of, must have been tricked, and couldn't have known better is false. It's also arbitrary because if that same girl had sex with a 17 year-old guy, she could be just as pregnant, or just as HIV positive, or feel just as sad and betrayed - but he did nothing wrong.

I understand that in some situations, there's more to it than that. I'm not saying there shouldn't be an "age of consent" or other laws. I'm saying that the situation isn't as cut and dry as it's treated now.

The word "rape" is used way too often. In cases like these, and in cases where a guy is an easy target (maybe a wealthy athlete with a lot to lose). It's become so watered down, that women who really are victims of this heinous crime are ignored and set aside.

Rape is always serious. Some rape might be more severe physically, but the feeling of helplessness, fear, abandonment, loss of control and being set aside and judged by others is always there. Those emotional scars don't heal the same as a physical injury.

What's the solution? I wish I knew. Too bad there isn't a way to outlaw ignorance.


  1. I think you hit the nail right on the head ("...but the feeling of helplessness, fear, abandonment, loss of control and being set aside and judged by others is always there.").

    Some feelings left out:
    Shame every occurrence.
    Loss of self ...ABSOLUTELY.
    Sense of security you have ...gone.
    The luxury of trust ...gone.
    Stereotyping of others ...for sure, how long? ...who knows.

    No matter how rape happens the person is left feeling a rush emotions that can take an enormous amount of time to get over, if at all. Regardless the scars are there for life.

    It's simple. Rape sucks.

  2. Rape is always serious, but I believe that we need some new nomenclature in regard to this - especially for those of us who might have been 16ish and had a 20ish year old guy that we were hanging out with.

    It's not all the same.