One of the original reasons this blog was created was as a place for me to vent about things that I read on Facebook. It’s been a while since I’ve written one of those types of posts, but unfortunately I feel the need to tonight.
I read tonight about how some students at the University of Southern California have been told that they weren’t really raped because their alleged attacker didn’t orgasm.
No, you read that right. Some idiot actually seems to think that if a rapist doesn’t actually ejaculate, that invalidates the rape.
Other than the obvious (like how this is just completely fucking stupid…), let me tell some you reasons why this is such a horrible thing to say to someone who is a sexual assault survivor.
As those of you who have regularly read my blog know, I myself am a survivor of rape. The first two times that I was raped happened on the same day, by the same person. And during those two assaults my rapist did not ejaculate. There were many things about those assaults that had me questioning whether or not I had brought this on myself in some way, if there was some way that it was my fault. But the fact that he didn’t orgasm was not one of those things. It was only years later when Republican men all decided that they needed to try and redefine rape that the fact that he didn’t orgasm became another reason for me to start doubting whether or not what happened to me was really rape. But even during the whole “legitimate rape” thing, and all the mess that followed this was never actually said. It was something that I myself thought about after listening to some of things that were being said about what was and wasn’t rape. And I worked through it and once again assured myself that what happened to me was in fact rape, and that I wasn’t overreacting.
And then tonight I see that someone has actually told someone else that an attacker not achieving orgasm makes what happened to them not rape. And even though I had already worked through my doubt on this point earlier, all the shame and guilt and uncertainty came flooding back. And this was after I had had years to deal with the original self doubt and shame and admit that I had actually been raped.
Now imagine what something like that would do to someone who had just been sexually violated. Someone who had worked up the courage to actually report what happened to them only to be told that what they just suffered through wasn’t really rape because it was missing one element. A technicality, really, that invalidates the rape. Like it’s some fucking court case and not a violent assault on a woman that will scar her for the rest of her life.
But that wasn’t all that I read. I also read about how campus police had the audacity to tell a sexual assault survivor that women should not “go out, get drunk and expect not to get raped.”
Now, I know that this is an old argument made by people who seem to think that the victim is always to blame in some way for their own attacks. But that doesn’t make me any less pissed off about reading that campus police would say this to some poor woman after she had the courage to report her attack.
If this is how people are treated when they actually report their attack, is it any wonder that the vast majority of sexual assaults go unreported?
I never reported mine.
We seem to have a situation where women are automatically assumed to be lying when they report having been sexually assaulted. No one should be accused of being a rapist if they haven’t actually raped anyone, but coming at it from the standpoint of assuming that woman doing the reporting is guilty of lying is not the way to go about protecting anyone.
Yes, there are women who lie about being sexually assaulted. Why? Because women are human, and some humans just suck. But just because some women have lied, that doesn’t mean that every single woman should now automatically be viewed as a liar. And I really doubt that the number of false reports that have been filed justifies the number of women making reports who are being viewed with more suspicion than the men that they are making a report on.
Here’s what should happen every time that a woman comes in to report a sexual assault. Her complaint should be taken seriously. An investigation should be done. If you do happen to find that the woman was not in fact assaulted, charge her with filing a false police report and whatever other crimes she may have committed. Make her pay back the expenses of the investigation.
If a woman accuses someone falsely, punish her. But don’t punish every single woman that finds herself in the horrible situation of having to admit to being the victim of a sexual assault by automatically labeling her a liar and giving her more reasons to blame herself for the awful thing that just happened to her. Because I guarantee she’s already got a bunch of reasons why she feels that she herself should be blamed in some way that she is already struggling with. She doesn’t need any help from you in that department.