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Damages of a “don’t get Raped” culture

Aug 22, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Blog


With all the talk of “forcible rape” and “legitimate rape”, I can’t help but to reflect on my own sexual assault experience and conditioning around “legitimate” and “forcible.”

I grew up being force-fed the idea that I am always to be concerned

for my own safety in certain situations.  “Don’t be out late by

yourself”, “Carry mace, and take a self-defense class”, “Don’t leave

your drink unattended ever and be careful how you dress and dance!“

When my sexual assault happened, these safety concerns I was
previously warned about were not a factor.  So I questioned, and even
doubted my actual rape. I couldn’t legitimize it, so I remained silent.

I remained silent because I wasn’t supposed to be at his apartment that night; I was supposed to be at the bookstore. I remained silent because he didn’t slap me around or threaten me with a weapon of sorts. He simply used his words and 6’4” stature against my own petite 5’2” frame.

I remained silent because, “What did you think was going to happen,” said to me by my attacker, became what everyone was going to say. It eclipsed any idea I had of my so-called securing my own personal safety

I was not where I am supposed to be, therefore I didn’t follow the rules and as a result, I LET THIS HAPPEN. THIS IS MY FAULT.

I think about this legitimate rape conversation and wonder if my
attacker had a thought process like the one that’s being debated over
right now. Did he think it wasn’t rape because he didn’t slap me
around?  Did he think because I didn’t fight him to the death, and he
didn’t bruise me, that I somehow consented?

That because I waited to cry in the shower at home when I washed my entire body in scalding hot
water, and I never said anything to him or anyone else regarding this
violation until years later that he didn’t rape me?
Does he even have to think about the distinctions of what is legitimate, forcible rape like I do? Does he have “arrogance” in
knowing that my believability will be questioned, sometimes brutally
and I can still not be believed, because I didn’t follow the rules that were there to ensure my safety?


The conditioning of “Don’t get raped” or “Here’s how to not get sexually assaulted” does not teach you that no matter the
circumstances, yourbody belongs to you. It does not tell you that no matter where you are or howyou are dressed, you should not be assaulted. Violated. Raped. It inherently does not teach men to NOT RAPE.

The continued politicizing of  “What is rape?” is dangerous for victims. It perpetuates a culture of victim blaming and forces a
silence where there should always be a scream. The very idea of “legitimate rape” as an abortion qualifier is showing us the magnitude of danger and commitment to the silence, questioning, and shaming of women.
 There is no qualifier in rape EVER.  Forcible, legitimate or otherwise, rape is rape. No one’s body or reproductive rights should ever be left up to qualifiers.
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