Hot spicy food doesn’t hit as hard when you consume it by plain sight rather than when it’s stirring up some explosive sparks in the unreachable corners of your mouth. The oceanic blue wavy water rather than the daring transparency of it through the cracks and inside the vessel. Devouring it from the inside out. Viciously and greedily taking out the light. Darkness. Confusion. Incorrigibility. More than half the time. Because filth is more gruesome and suffocating when you can’t simply walk away from it. When it’s embedded in you, part of your story, part of you.
A search for the definition of rape on Bing gives a synonym phrase as a fate worse than death. Rape kills you before you die. It voraciously brings the moment before the moment. You die and are made to live with your death. Complicated. I know. We mostly think of rape as an action that happens in the dark alleys. With violence, some guys in black hiding in the bush. And so we don’t walk through plantations, yes? And we don’t walk alone in the night cimmerian. We don’t even walk at night. So we assume we are safe ,huh… Arguably, we could say all rape occurs in the dark. Because, how do you begin to perceive light in your worse-than-death state? When your entire life and more has been taken away from you.
We hear of the currently rising cases of rape and we think. This is a very large number. It has exceeded my 918 value that I consider to be great, and your 42, your friend’s 2,019 because the tallies show hundreds of thousands. Yet behind the curtains, behind what’s there to see and know, below the visible crystals of ice, there exists a stiff iceberg of some traumatized souls who are afraid to tell their story; who feel uncomfortable unraveling their yarns to the outside space. So they retain their slapdash mix of sorts and it continues to knot away like a gift that is always giving. That affects every single sector of their lives and keeps eating away until they are all chunked up and a large dark mass of perpetual turmoil.
The numbers might seem great, okay… yes they are… but when we begin to accommodate the unreported cases, they are astronomical. Because people get raped by friends, by coworkers, by their boyfriends, by their girlfriends, acquaintances, family members, spouses. Marital rape… yes, there exists such a phrase, and such a thing. Acquaintance rape victims however, find it much more difficult to define the act than stranger rape victims because intertwined with it, are betrayal and shock that a person you trust values their power over you much more than your own humanity… That people won’t believe your story because of your perpetrator’s prestigious reputation.
And so you keep quiet about it, and you might wish to take blame for it. To say that it happened because of you. That you were okay with it. That you let it happen. All this to try to restore and claim back the authority that was snatched from you. Because it becomes harder to accept and admit that someone at some point had some very unreserved authority over your body than your own self. In hindsight, it wasn’t your choice. But it helps you to live with it. And you learn to be hyper-vigilant; to avoid attack; to avoid close people, friends, family; to not at the very least trust so much as a single person.
Rape is an incredibly personal crime and adding to the fact that it mostly happens behind closed doors, it becomes incredibly difficult to prove. It’s no surprise that we have very low conviction rates, something we can’t really cleanse ourselves of blame and neither bestow it all to the authorities. We continue to perpetuate the narrative surrounding rape. The fiery of secondary victimization. That a person called rape upon themselves. That they were dressed in a particular manner and appeared to be sensually attractive and hence deserved the act of compromise to their body, their autonomy, their sense of humanity, their sense of identity…
Many believe that rape is motivated by sexual impulse. But you don’t all of a sudden decide that you want to have sex and have it in the same way that you crave for cake and have it. You don’t just see a good looking woman in enticing outfit and go for it. It’s more of the conviction of power and control over a person, in the same way you have power and control over your money to buy your chocolate cookies and devour them as you please.
The idea of domination. The idea of taking what you want when you want it. The idea of immediate gratification. The idea of not taking no for an answer.
Half the time, we don’t call rape for what it is. We greatly underestimate the magnitude that it bears. It’s only crime in which your body gets to be used as the weapon that dishevels you. It’s bound to cause severe psychological harm. It destabilizes a person. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It doesn’t just start and stop. It permeates an individual’s every action and activity of their being.
The fight against rape is greatly being hindered by the non-foundational belief that most claims are spurious. Statistics show that only 2-8% of rape accusations prove to be false. Hence the prevalence of actual rape passes false accusations colossally. In questioning victims without considering the possibility, we torture and disband humanity, most of the time.
The frequency of an occurrence owing to a particular person or thing creates a compounding mental association and perhaps that is why rape is viewed to be boy to girl. Man to woman. Uncle to niece. Father to daughter. It definitely does take a lion’s share in the frame but men get raped too, did you know? And they are told, ”Don’t worry! Boys love that”
We however don’t get to hear much of it because society has dehumanized men. We love robots. So why can’t men be robots! Not to feel, not to be psychologically traumatized, not to be overpowered and most especially not to be raped!
Our social paradigm extends that men can’t be victims of rape. That women can’t rape men and can’t perpetuate sexual violence .This, in addition to the societal masculinity expectation that is harmonized with hyper muscularity and domination, puts them in an awkward position of defenselessness pointing a finger to a woman that defiled them. Male rape cases hence receive more skepticism and indifference than female rape.
It is possible to create a society in which men and women are inherently valued for their contribution to society and not for their sexual purpose. A society in which sexual violence and prowess are not deemed manly because the concept of masculinity is not tied to sex at all. We do live in a rape prone society in which culture of violence against women is so embedded in us that we forget it’s even there. We say that boys will always be boys when they ogle and spank and rape. And by that, we have accepted and normalized the culture. We are misinformed on consent and define sexuality in terms of power and obligation
The reality is that as we sit in class, among us are rape victims whose stories we might never get to hear; and rapists as well. As friends and group partners and club members and leaders and roommates.
Are rape stories heartbreaking? Yes. Monumentally important to share? Absolutely.
Let us end rape culture!
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Also written by Dorothy Orina on Feminism:
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