March 20, 2009
Phrases guaranteed to make me so angry my vision blurs
[ETA: I originally learned about this from Cara (to whom I should have given a hat-tip in the first place, but I got distracted by linking to another post of hers), who has now taken her post down. I don’t normally read Jezebel, so I didn’t realize I was tapping into a bit of a hornet’s nest there. I’m going to leave this post as it is for now, largely because I’m just not sure what to do about it, how best to edit it if I ought to, etc. In the meantime, though, I think this post from Ilyka is very much worth reading.]
= Any variation on “let’s not throw the word ‘rape’ around, hmm?” (With the obvious exception of when the subject at hand does not actually involve forcible sexual contact in any way, shape, or form.)
Is there a lifetime limit on the number of incidents one can refer to as rape? Does it really make sense to think that calling any non-consensual-sex rape will somehow cause people to take the “worse” acts of rape less seriously? (Because, honestly, does western culture even really take some of the more extreme cases all that seriously to begin with?) And in what universe does calling “surprise”-non-consensual-anal-sex rape qualify as “throwing the word ‘rape’ around”? D’you think that maybe the fact that feminists like me insist on calling non-consensual sex RAPE means not that we don’t take rape seriously, but that we take ALL non-consensual sex incredibly seriously and believe in calling a spade a fucking spade?
Someone in the comments thread on the above-linked Jezebel post claimed that people calling it rape and saying the woman in question should leave that sorry sack of a boyfriend were ignoring the parts of the original post that clarified the man’s intent and how conciliatory he was afterward. Problems with that notion: a) those may well be mitigating factors in terms of pressing charges and following through with a court case, but they don’t determine whether or not a particular act was “actually” rape, and b) I realize this is out of context, but this guy just sounds like an abusive shithead to me:
I was sobbing and bleeding, and we took a shower together so I could calm down. He was washing me and telling me he loves me and the last thing he would want to do is hurt me. He said that he knows I am open to new things, and he wanted to surprise me. The look in his eyes was sincere, but part of me can’t help feeling distant and violated.
So fucking creepy. I mean, really, is that really so distant from “I don’t ever want to hit you, baby…”? Ugh.
1. the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.
*blink* Seriously? So, men can’t be raped? WTF, Random House?