TRIGGER WARNING: The following includes discussions that may serve as a trigger for victims of sexual violence. Please be advised.
“You’re a whore–you didn’t get raped. You just didn’t get paid.”
This burns me up–so much that if I don’t say something about it now, I might explode. But I’m just going to address this one idea–the rest I’m reserving for my book.
I know that there are plenty of people who will read that quote and nod, and think “Yup. That’s true.” And that burns me up.
In case you’re one of those people (or you’re sitting on the fence or debating legitimate versus not legitimate rape), let me be really clear: Rape is rape is rape is rape is rape. Period. End of story. Roll credits. That’s all, folks.
Let’s put aside for the moment the fact that many women in the sex trade have been forced into prostitution and focus on the women who choose, voluntarily, of their own free will, to sell sex. Those women who choose to work in the sex trade do not deserve to be raped. They haven’t “asked” for it simply because they choose to have sex for money.
Because make no mistake: rape is NOT about sex. Rape is about control, domination, power, anger.
The fact that anyone would put rape in the same category as a “dine-and-dash” is disgusting–a condemnation of our very humanity and just further evidence of rape culture.
As the good folks at Cogent Comment explain, rape culture is “a set of socially accepted beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes which contribute to the trivialization of a survivor’s experience, make light of or rationalize sexually violent behavior, and perpetuate the negative effects suffered by both individuals and communities as a result.”
And the words with which I started this post clearly trivialize the experience of the woman to whom they were said and are also obviously an attempt to rationalize a brutal rape:
A woman stood, naked and devastated–physically, emotionally, and psychologically–beside a dumpster having just been brutally raped by a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, who having completed the act of rape, said (and forgive the language as I’m quoting), “That’s what you get for fucking niggers.” He left her there.
In case that doesn’t make it clear to you, let me just say it: that’s not about sex. It was about anger. It doesn’t matter that she was a prostitute and exchanged sex for money on occasions that were not this one. That doesn’t make her experience any less horrific or brutal or violent than if it happened to me, you, or anyone else. It doesn’t make it any less wrong.
Because what happened was not sex. It was an act of violence. As is all rape. And women in the sex trade do not ask to be brutalized.
Just for the record:
- Men do not rape because they can’t control their sex drives. And women do not incite men to rape.
- No still means no–no matter who you are, what you do, where you were, or what you were doing or wearing.
- And rape is still wrong. Rape is always wrong.
Let me be clear on one last thing: there’s a disclaimer on this blog, and if you haven’t read it, you should.