Rape. It's an incredibly ugly word. It's not a word I like to use. I struggle to use it to describe my own experiences, but I've found that I'm not alone. Many people who have been raped (legal definition of the word) try to use other words to describe their experiences. It has been so hard to allow myself to use that word to describe what happened to me.
Recently, in an effort to convince me to not go to a wedding (that the bride and groom invited me to), I was told that (this person) seeing me would be like me seeing one of the men that raped me. (She blames me for her divorce.) I was confused.
I spend time with my uncles. I would never dream of asking them to not go to an event just because their presence makes me uncomfortable. I have anxiety seeing them... and I have choices about what I do. I can choose not to go to functions where I know they will be. I can choose not to talk to them if I do go. I can choose to be friendly if I feel like it. Whatever I decide to do, I can only choose for me. It has never crossed my mind to ask them to stay home.
My confusion... I know I still have a desire to protect abusers... AND, I want to be healthy. What does that even look like? Is she more "normal"? I don't want to be like she is. Like I said. Confused.
I shared my confusion with BJ... as we talked, and he pointed out what a ridiculous and stupid and completely inaccurate comparison the two things are... My confusion went away, and I got angry.
On most days, I understand that pain is pain... It doesn't matter if someone else's pain is worse than your own, when it hurts, it hurts. On this day, realizing how irrational that comparison is, made my head spin. How DARE she compare anything she has gone through to being raped?!?! (Even IF her accusations were accurate, and I was to blame for her divorce, there's just no comparison. In one analogy, an adult man decided to end his marriage. He left. He has a right to do that. Rape is a violent, violating, horrible thing done TO someone who cannot defend themselves.) She has no fucking clue what she is talking about.
"That's like scraping your knee, and thinking you must understand what it feels like to break every bone in your body." ~BJ
I don't like using the word "rape". I feel like I have no right to that word, but damn it if I am okay with those who have no clue what they are talking about, never experienced anything close to it, and ESPECIALLY trying to use that word to control and manipulate others... No patience, no tolerance, for that kind of bullshit.
That stupid comparison just reminded me of all the stupid people out there.
They THINK they know what they are talking about, but they have no clue.
Todd Akin is currently being blasted for his stupid statement about "legitimate rape". It was a really stupid thing to say. My hope is that he was just incredibly ignorant.
"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”What does that mean when a woman DOES get pregnant from rape? It's not legitimate?? Who the hell is he to decide what is legitimate and what is not? To take something so traumatizing, invalidating, and awful already... there are no words to describe how much harm that man could do with just a few stupid words.
Last year, there was a bill proposed that used the phrase "forcible rape". Do they not understand what RAPE is??
Up until 1993, there was no such thing as marital rape. The traditional definition of rape was, 'sexual intercourse with a female not his wife without her consent'. Basically, a woman had no right to say no to sex with her husband... And he could take it by any force necessary. The law was changed, but not without a fight. People fought over whether a woman had a right to say no to sex with her husband... and that was only twenty years ago.
Did they think about what they were fighting for? Did they care that they were fighting for the rights of a man to rape his wife? Did they think about how it would effect women?
When I started talking about what Larry did, sometimes, I even got brave and used "the R word". Do you know what SEVERAL people said to me?
"How could it be rape? You were married."(And I wonder why I have a hard time using that word...)
Sometimes, I'd try to explain how he did it whether I cooperated or not. It WAS a lot easier if I could just force myself to lay there and take it... but sometimes, everything in me fought against it. I'd try to explain the pain, the violence, and some understood... A few never did. They held to the belief that a man could never rape his wife... After all, a woman is given to a man. She is nothing but his property.
Today, some states still have exemptions for married men. For example, in some states a man cannot be prosecuted for forcing sex on his wife if she is impaired and cannot consent. In other words, if she is asleep, and therefore cannot consent, he can force himself on her without fear of the law. Utah law states that if a person can't consent, then it is rape, with no exception for husbands.
There are so many other instances of politicians saying things that are just WRONG. Joking about rape. Trying to minimize and sometimes defend it. Protecting everyone but the victims of rape. I don't feel like going into any more of it now... just know there are a whole lot of really stupid people out there.
As a teenager, I read the book Miracle of Forgiveness. I was full of guilt. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to feel good in my life. I believed my unhappiness was because of sin. (I heard it over and over and over in church.) I wanted to repent, so I could be happy... So I read the book.
There are a few passages in the book that STILL make me want to hurl.
"Your virtue is worth more than your life. Please, young folk, preserve your virtue even if you lose your lives.”
- The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 63
“Also far-reaching is the effect of loss of chastity. Once given or taken or stolen it can never be regained. Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation when there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one’s virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle.”
- The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 196
Up until two years ago, I believed my family would prefer I was dead than to know the truth of what happened to me. I believed the fact that I was alive was proof that I was bad...
"It was better that I had died defending my virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle."
I could not tell anyone the truth. I was barely alive already, and I knew I couldn't handle it if they agreed with me, and said, "We wish you would have died."
I found a great therapist. I found BJ. I found many great people and resources that helped me to change the way I think. I learned the truth. (It was NOT my fault. It is much better to cooperate and LIVE than to die. And so on.) I talked to people that understood... I tried to shut out the people who were clueless.
Now what I want to know is, where are all the people who KNOW?
Why aren't there more talks in church about the effects of abuse? Why aren't there more talks about how it isn't the victim's fault AT ALL? Why hasn't the church apologized for publishing such AWFUL things? Why are they still handing out that awful book?
1 in 4 women nationally, 1 in 3 women in Utah. 1 in 6 men nationally, 1 in 5 men in Utah will experience sexual assault in their lifetimes. That means that 33% of the women in any ward in Utah will have been raped or assaulted. With statistics that high, isn't it about time to start talking about it, and I don't mean the people that have no clue... I mean the people that KNOW.
Why are the ignorant people talking about rape? What makes them even THINK they have a right to make a law that effects victims of rape? They don't. Every single one of them needs to stop it. NOW. I don't care that they think they are protecting life... until the conversation is more open and honest and they have a clue about what they're talking about. Shut up. And do some listening. Get educated. Do NOT talk about rape unless you know what you are talking about.
I'll finish with this: