I want to have a T-shirt made. “I Survived Rape Hysteria,” it will read. It will come with a special ribbon the color of bullshit that can be pinned on other clothing or put on the bulletin board at your local grocery store. Then I will pass them out to every man, woman and child in the western world.
We’ll have all sorts of fundraisers and political events so we can make more T-shirts and ribbons. We can start with a rape PSA marathon. You can ask donors to pledge a given amount of dollars for every hour you sit tied up in a chair, forced to watch an endless stream of public service announcements designed to spark your outrage at the oh so egregiously violated victims of rape. Perhaps they can pay by the tear, whether you’re crying over the victims or over their screeching and caterwauling.
We’ll make posters and bumper stickers of little baby feminists and caption them with “Rape Hysteria Begins with Her.” And we will appeal to the psychiatric establishment for a new diagnosis, Sexual Assault Whining Empathy Disorder, maybe give it a catchy acronym like SAWED and take that to the media and raise money for the victims of the pernicious and debilitating newfangled disorder.
And then we’ll take every biased, shamelessly politicized study and book on the subject of rape and have us a bonfire. We’ll gather round the flames and chant like Hare Krishna’s. We’ll do shots and howl at the moon; maybe watch a few careers go up in smoke while we are at it.
And then our day of liberation will come. We will turn, as one unified, thundering voice, to every over acting, histrionic, T-shirt slinging rape hysteria retailer and say, “Thanks for sharing, now shut the fuck up.”
“And by the way, take off that stupid T-shirt, you are not a survivor.”
And that is the fundamental problem here. We have taken rape, a serious crime among other serious crimes, and elevated the victims to such an exalted status that we have lost our sense of reason, and our priorities.
So let’s start restoring some sanity to this matter with a proclamation to all those survivors of rape.
If your rapist didn’t try to kill you, you didn’t survive anything, you only endured it.
And if your rapist did try to kill you what you survived was a murder attempt, not the rape. So please, get off (and take your advocates with you) your damsel in distress elevator to hell, and quit feeding off the bottomless hog trough of public sympathies.
You are not and never were the only people to be harmed by a crime. And what happened to you is not worth any more attention than things that happen to a lot of other people whom no one else gives a damn about.
When I was a young soldier I had the misfortune of being robbed and beaten while walking back to the barracks from an enlisted man’s club late at night with a friend of mine. Four men, all armed with some variation of a club, literally jumped out of the bushes and attacked us.
I suffered a couple of broken ribs, head to toe bruising and a couple of fairly respectable cuts. My friend was struck on the head with a wine bottle resulting in a severe concussion and 17 stitches in his scalp.
We were both stripped naked and left on the side of the road in 20 degree weather.
The Army Criminal Investigation Division (C.I.D.) questioned us like we were the criminals, caught exactly no one and went on to fail at other investigations in pretty short order. The guys in the barracks turned it in to a joke and made fun of us for a month or so.
Am I a survivor? Of what? No one tried to kill me, and before you start I won’t even entertain any nonsense about “what could have happened.”
What happened was I got beat up and robbed. And the next thing that happened was that I moved on with my life, having learned some lessons about dark streets and being without protection. Yes, I played a role in what happened to me, horrendous as that thinking may be to victim mongers and sympathy addicts.
I never expected to go on Oprah, though that was way before her time. There was no speshul victims unit with bad guy catchers that doubled as Dr. Phil, no telethons or Take Back the Night marches, no political speeches or outraged advocacy groups screaming “Never Again!” at the local media and then holding their hands out for some cash.
And there sure as hell weren’t any T-shirts.
Nor were any necessary.
And to those of you seething about now, poised and ready to retort with cute little tidbits like “You’re not a woman! You have no idea what it is like to live in constant fear every time you go out alone!” Please spare me. Society blew its chance to make me a perpetual victim when I was mugged.
I am sure if there were politicians that were out there pushing phony stats about how 1 in 4 young soldiers would be beaten and robbed; if the media was sending out doe-eyed reporters wanting to hear my speshul story; if advocacy groups had monetized my circumstances, slapped it on a T-shirt and “poor pitiful deared” me into the idea that the consequences of being robbed were somehow more egregious and damaging than what anyone else went through, and that it was a plague very likely to affect me, and all young soldiers, again, and again and again, then yeah, I might just have started pissing my pants instead of learning to take better care of myself.
Helplessness is the calling card of victimhood, and the bread and butter of those who exploit it. And the net result of all this in western culture is that being raped has become quite an industry.
You want some perspective on rape? God knows you likely need it. Consider the thoughts of Rhonda Cornum, a U.S. Army pilot and flight surgeon that was shot down and taken prisoner of war during the Gulf War. She was sexually assaulted by the enemy while in captivity.
“Since everything that happens to you as a prisoner of war is non-consensual, then the fact that one thing they did was non-consensual is not very relevant,” she told the Washington Post. “So then you have to organize the bad things that can happen to you in some other hierarchy. My hierarchy was, is it going to make me stay here longer, is it life-threatening, is it disabling or is it excruciating. If it’s none of those things, then it took on a fairly low level of significance.”
A fairly low level of significance.
Now that was worth repeating, and right from the mouth of a survivor.
And Cornum was a survivor; not of rape but of being shot down and taken prisoner during a war, and of the war itself.
I say all this not without empathy for rape victims, most of which are men. I know that won’t wash with some. But that is also part of the overall problem. We have not gone hysterical over rape in this country, just women who are raped, or who allege they have been raped, or who have fuzzy childhood memories that they are not quite sure of, or who have jealous boyfriends and want to cover their ass after banging five guys on the bathroom floor of a college dorm in New York.
And if we don’t care about the struggles of men, we care even less about the struggles of convicts. But let’s, just for shits and grins here, pretend that male inmates are human beings. Don’t worry; it’s only for a couple of minutes.
But assuming they are human and therefore warrant inclusion in our perceptions about issues like rape, then being a rape victim, when we strip away all the Dworkinesque hoopla, is pretty much male dominated territory.
But they don’t issue survivor T-shirts in prison. In fact, we have the entire system set up so that weaker men can be raped at will by stronger ones in the prison hierarchy; so that, in fact, those weaker men can become the chattel of the stronger ones. It’s a regular part of prison life and we do exactly nothing about it because it’s happening to men.
Feel free to add ‘fake’ to the list of adjectives used to describe society’s largess where it concerns the victims of rape.
We live in a culture that enables and encourages the rape of men in prisons, indeed the position of “Well, that’s what happens to your ass (pun intended) when you go to prison, deal with it,” is the default.
But, of course, if a woman goes to a bar, gets shit faced with a stranger and goes to his hotel room only to have second thoughts that are expressed in the form of mid coitus screaming, or better yet, the next morning, we are loathe to say a word. Oh no, that would be blaming the victim. And we are not supposed to blame the victim. Ever. Well, the female ones, anyway.
It shows the sadly degraded nature of our social consciousness, and proves, as has happened in other quite similar situations, there is no such thing as a rape advocate, just women’s advocates, continuing to do their best to scrape a few bucks out of whatever happens to women, or whatever they happen to bring upon themselves.