1. Rape Actually Happens
It does. Really, I’m not lying to you. But more than the fact that it actually happens, it happens a lot. And there’s no valid reason for it happening at all. It happens to women and girls of all ages and colours, in all parts of the world. Every day. It happens to men and boys, too, but not nearly as often or on the same scale. But not only that—when men and boys are victims of rape, it is almost always men who have perpetrated it upon them. Thus, sexual violence against women and girls, and sexual violence against men and boys, are two distinctive and separate issues.
2. A Lot Of People Prefer To Believe We’re Lying
It’s true. When someone is raped and summons the courage to speak about their experience, a lot of people automatically assume they’re lying. They’d rather believe that it’s a desperate and totally inappropriate cry for attention, because otherwise they’d have to stop and think about the fact that someone just told them they were raped. And for a lot of people, that’s an extremely uncomfortable and icky thing to be forced to stop and think about.
3. A Lot of Survivors Don’t Report It To The Authorities
I didn’t, because I know that a) the authorities would believe, by default, that I’m lying (just like many other people); b) if the authorities believed that I’m not lying, they would require me to name my perpetrators (some of whom only identified themselves to me by their first name, which was in all likelihood a fake name) and any witnesses to the crime (even though no one has ever witnessed the act itself, so this is useless information); c) if it successfully went to criminal court trial, the burden of proof would be on me to prove that they all should have known that I wasn’t consenting (the standard of proof being that, if I was not fighting for my life or unconscious at the time, anything else I was doing led all of them to believe I was consenting, even if I said no or was physically unable to put up a fight). And if I was drunk, drugged, and/or unconscious, I’d have to prove that I wasn’t sober and that despite being unconscious, I knew I was being raped and that it was him and not someone else. Never mind the trauma of facing every one of them again while the issue is dragged through court, as every aspect of my life becomes public record to make a case for their collective defence. The system is designed to prevent justice from ever being served, well in advance of the crime.
4. Rape Is Often Non-Violent
Some people prefer to believe that the only kind of rape that happens is very violent. This helps them believe that someone who tells them about surviving it must be lying, because it’s extra unbelievable if they aren’t speaking at the time with a swollen lip, a black eye, visible cuts and abrasions, or a cast on one or more broken bones. This also helps them believe that they don’t know anyone who is capable of it, so it’ll never happen to them, and the fact that they’ve never met someone who did it is proof that it never actually happened at all. Except rape is often very much non-violent, because any resistance can quickly escalate a traumatic experience into a life-threatening one.
5. Believe It Or Not, The Only Person At Fault Is The Rapist
A lot of people who accept that rape happens, that we’re not lying about it, that we have good reason for not reporting it, and that it’s still rape even if it wasn’t violent, still look for reasons to blame the person who has endured it. This is often because people really don’t want to believe that they know someone who has raped another person, even if they are able to accept that they know someone who has been raped. They also want to believe that they are not at risk of being raped themselves. But one simply cannot invite rape upon oneself, bait someone else to do it, provoke it, ask for it, or cause it to happen. The only person who can bring it upon another is the person who committed the act itself (i.e., the rapist) without establishing the consent of the person they are doing it to (i.e., the rape survivor). Rape is never the fault of the person who was raped. It is always the fault of the person who committed the rape.
I hope this article has been helpful. And always remember: if you think you’re going to rape someone, call for help so that you don’t.