It is fairly well known that the rape of both men and women is a massively under-reported crime. Partly because the victims have already been through the trauma of the attack and perhaps can’t face the additional stress of legal proceedings, which sadly all too frequently amount to nothing. Partly because of the culture of shame, especially amongst male victims for whom the perceived emasculation from being raped can be nearly as isolating and damaging as the act itself. Partly because in the occasions where accused rapists are brought to trial, the victim too faces rigorous questioning and many people still maintain that preventing rape is somehow the responsibility of the attacked, not the attacker. Competitive rape defining seems to be becoming something of a sport with Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” gaining the most media coverage this year and Britain’s Justice secretary Kenneth Clarke clarifying “serious rape” as opposed to date rape (which is totally not serious or a big deal so stop whining and try and lay back and think of England okay?)
EVEN BLOODY TONY BENN who I want to love and adore has let me down in saying “a non-consensual relationship is very different from rape.” What even IS a non-consensual relationship, if not referring to a sexual one? If I left my facebook logged on and one of my friends made things ‘complicated’ with my friend’s dog (who for whatever reason has his own profile), no, I would not equate that to being penetrated without my consent but I think we all know that’s not what we’re talking about.
As long as privileged white men feel like some rapes are less serious, less legitimate and less rapey than others, it will be difficult for people to feel comfortable coming forward, perhaps confused about what their ordeal actually was. Rape is rape is rape. If you have in fact been forced into sex and, despite the many different definitions bouncing around, concluded that yes, that was rape and therefore a serious crime that should be reported then;
A) you are correct
B) there is still a chance that literally nothing will be done about it.
There is a chance that the Police won’t even try to bring your attacker to justice. Over in Colorado, the Denver Police Departments have collected over 1,000 rape kits since 2008, of which 44% remain untested. Why? Because “some police departments say they don’t want to overwhelm police laboratories with evidence that may not result in an arrest.” How considerate of them, not to create extra work that might just bring an awful human being to justice, and perhaps prevent further attacks for them to ignore completely. The only way things will change is if people refuse accept this absolute BULLSHIT and lobby, protest, vote and campaign for it. The SlutWalks are proving fantastic for raising awareness of the culture of victim blaming and the judicial treatment of rape in general. Governments historically try to perpetuate the myth that protest changes nothing, and historically they are proven wrong. We just need to shout even louder.