The Vague, Subtle Reality.

When we think of rape, we think of the scenes in movies that are designed to shock us. Brief, violent encounters. Women screaming. Clothes ripping.

We think of all of the "Self Defense" classes that are given for women; What to do if some huge, burly guy tries to grab us in a bar or dark alley.

We think of domestic abuse; drunken, angry husbands and sobbing wives.

We don't think of the literally millions of women who blame themselves for being raped because it doesn't fit into what the world says it should.

We don't think of the women who got too drunk at a party and woke up the next day having no idea what happened, or woke up to someone doing things to them that they had no idea were happening until then.

We don't think of the women who are in relationships with narcissistic men who never stop to think that maybe she doesn't want it. Who never realize that they don't have a right to her body just because she's given it before.

We don't think of the many, many ways in which a woman can be subtly raped. The ways that leave her feeling confused and dirty, that leave her having no idea if anyone would believe her if she used "The R Word" or if they'd just wave their hands and tell her that she "asked for it."

The ways that leave her calling her lover saying that she "cheated."

In some cases, this is called "being taken advantage of." It's not usually considered rape by the general populace.

Well. That's male chauvinist bullshit. Not necessarily men thinking that, but people with a blind bias towards the male perspective. Women have it, too. If a woman dresses provocatively, if a woman drinks, if a woman finds herself alone in a man's apartment, in his car, in a park, if a woman freely takes lovers as she pleases. Men and women alike will say "she was asking for it" about this type of women.

So let me make this perfectly clear:

No one EVER has a right to your body. It doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing. If doesn't matter how many lovers you have, or have had. It doesn't matter what you're wearing. Nothing gives anyone the right to your body. No one has any claim. Not strangers, not friends, not family, not spouses. Being drunk doesn't make it okay. I don't care if you're a prostitute! No one has a right to your body. defines Rape as "forcible sexual relations with a person against that person's will."

It also says the following, and I want you all to read this carefully.

"Lack of consent is a necessary element in every rape. But this qualifier does not mean that a person may make sexual contact with a minor or incapacitated person who actually consented. Lack of consent may result from either forcible compulsion by the perpetrator or an incapacity to consent on the part of the victim."

Lack. Of. Consent.

This isn't the turn of the twentieth century, anymore. No one is property. It's no longer only considered rape if a woman screams and cries. It counts if she doesn't want it and she doesn't say yes.

This doesn't mean that she has to say "no" specifically. Against her will means that if she doesn't want it, it's rape.

Now that doesn't make the perpetrator a "rapist" per se. I believe that there is such a thing as accidental rape. I'm not saying that that's acceptable or any more mentally damaging than violent rape, but it is MUCH more confusing.

However I do not believe that all who commit this grey act of rape are evil people. I do not believe that one of my rapists is evil. He's not a malicious man, he didn't mean to hurt me.

But that doesn't mean that he didn't. It doesn't make it okay. It doesn't make me feel any better.

The point I'm trying to reach is as follows: Rape is not black and white. It's not cinnematic. It's not dramatic. It's not the violent, clear-cut thing that the world would have us believe. Rape can be very, very grey. It can leave the victim confused and disgusted, uncertain whether the word they want to use is appropriate or if they'll be "The girl who cried 'rape."

I'm going to go past the legal definitions here, and offer my own perspective as a victim.

If you feel raped, you probably were. It may not hold up in a court of law in all cases, but it IS the first step in getting the emotional and mental support and help that you need.


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