Is Rape the Worst Thing That Can Happen to a Woman?

Is Rape the Worst Thing That Can Happen to a Woman?

I’m going to tread lightly on today’s post. Rape is a very personal, very sensitive, very political issue, and emotions tend to run high around it.

But recently, I read a thoughtful, well-written piece by a UK escort named Charlotte Shane. In it, she asserts, from personal experience, that rape does not have to be the worst thing that could happen to a woman. For the author, it’s not even in the Top 5.

“Though some feminists regard ‘rape equals devastation’ as sacred fact, the notion that a man can ruin me with his penis strikes me as the most complete expression of vintage misogyny available. Common sense instructs us that it is far more ‘dangerous’ to insist to young women that they will be broken by an unwanted sex act than it is to propose they might have a happy, healthy, and sexually pleasant future ahead of them in spite of a sexual assault…

The truth is that it does not suit our social narrative to recognize that a woman can be raped and get on with her life, can maintain sexual and romantic relationships without counseling, won’t think of her rape every day, and won’t see herself as a ‘survivor’ or different in any material way. According to the cultural script, women are simply not strong enough to bear such an experience easily.”

I thought that this was a profound, thought-provoking take on things; one that I’d never seen expressed so eloquently before. I’ve had close friends who were raped before. I’ve even taken care of one in the immediate aftermath. But since I’ve never experienced it, it’s not my place to say what the appropriate response to an unwanted sexual assault is.

I will say, however, that I hope Ms. Shane is speaking for more women than just herself. No one is saying that you’re “wrong” if you let your rape define you, but then, it shouldn’t be wrong if you refuse to let your rape define you either.

Read the full article here and share your thoughts below.

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  1. 1

    Rape is diminished as a criminal act in our society and others throughout history. I don’t think this article helps reclaim women’s bodies by continuing to diminish what its like to be a victim of an assault. Rape comes in many forms and for many, will define their life. Especially if they were raped by a family member, as a child or brutally. But also it will always be in your mind, even if you can have healthy sexual relationships. I really hate the dichotomy she expressed either a woman thinks about it constantly and is paralyzed or she moves on. What is wrong in saying that I think about it all the time and yet I can enjoy sex. What is wrong in no longer feeling the shame that I did after I was drugged 2 weeks into my freshman year of college, in knowing that I was a victim and that I didn’t deserve it. It is traumatizing. Please don’t diminish the feelings of victims, we are all unique individuals with unique experiences. 

  2. 2

    My God. Do people really imagine that rape victims (yes, victims) end up committing suicide just because they’ve socially conditioned to believe rape is a life-changing trauma? That somehow rape is just someone slying slipping it in when you’re not expecting it – not a brutal, violent, humiliating, degrading event that leaves people physically battered, torn, bruised, bleeding, with bowel prolapses, permanent internal injuries – not to mention the post-traumatic symptoms that can last forever? Rape isn’t just (or even) about sex, but about fear, violence, control and hatred. With the greatest respect to Ms Shane, the fact that she works as an escort suggests that she my have a slightly different approach to sex to the average woman (or indeed man – I’ve watched male friends fall apart after sexual assault too). For most of us, sex is (or should be) the most personal, vulnerable, deep, intimate and loving thing you can do with someone you love and feel safe with. If that act is turned inside out into a violent, angry, terrifying robbery of your body, how can it NOT affect you deeply? You may be able to heal in time. You may refuse to be defined by it. Bravo to that. But however you want to dress it up, rape is a deeply profound event that changes the victim forever. 

  3. 3

    My thoughts are I wish I hadn’t been curious enough to read that article. And WHY did you feel compelled to share it with this audience?

  4. 4

    I’m not sure wht to say about the rape issue in this regard, but this hypothesis – that we do not HAVE to regard it as devastating-  has interesting parallels in my mind with the current societal norm that people HAVE to see infidelity as devastating. Whilst no one would argue that infidelity is distressing and unpleasant, the hysterical overdramatisation that tends to follow is, I think, unhelpful, and can only make the injured party feel worse. If we are told that something is a tragedy, we come to believe it IS a tragedy, and when it happens to us we react in a conditioned way to the fact that a “tragedy” has befallen us. I have not experienced rape, so like many people I feel ill-placed to make sweeping statements on the topic, but I HAVE experienced infidelity and honestly, its not as bad as people make out, if you choose not to view it in that way. People are human, bad stuff happens, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Perhaps there is something to be said for dedramatising our response to rape as well – I don’t know. Interesting article.

    1. 4.1
      Nathalie Bédard

      wow interesting to talk about something you never experienced this way. When it takes 50 years to heal from it I doN,t think it because someone want to over dramatise it. It is like you have been robed from your soul anyway that is my experience. No drama for years in silence about it. Atempted suicide how much it affected my own capcity to exist as I am. SO no drama no speaking about what you cannot relate can also  banalising it Let’s get out of right and wrong and just bring consiousness into this in each choice we are making. I choose to bring light and my perspective on this and have a hard time with people talking about this as it is just a lie or infidelity. I think we , youand i know much better then this. Some people have experienced it and we and you at least validate eople story is one way to get through it and transform it.

  5. 5

    Oh boy…here it comes!

    I agree with the article and the premise.  I’ve told my kids since they were young to not let any one external thing in their life ruin their whole life.  I would especially apply this to those who don’t seem to be able to escape from their childhood and parents to mature as adults.

  6. 6

    Interesting.  A very different take on rape.  I’m also going to tread lightly because I have, thankfully, never been a victim of rape.  I will hesitantly volunteer an opinion though…it is less about “the notion that a man can ruin me with his penis” and more about the loss of control that the situation entails.  I’m sure that theft, or being leered at or being cut off all leave the victim with the same sense of impotence, just to a lesser degree.  Rape is so hurtful and personal because of the intimacy or lack thereof that is involved.  If the victim is able to feel the same anger that the author of the article did, she will probably heal quicker.  Unfortunately, at least from what I’ve heard, many women feel shame in equal parts.  Is rape horrible?  Absolutely.  Is it worse than murder?  Not to my mind but then again, I haven’t been raped.  I sincerely hope that the number of women who choose not to let rape define them continues to grow exponentially.
    Also interesting: 
    “It is not women who have decided that rape is so heinous, but men.”  Maybe.  And maybe it was women based on what they imagined men would think.  Not the women who’d been raped.  The ones who hadn’t.  I don’t know.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. 

    1. 6.1

      I think I might have to disagree with the author when she says that rape is not worse than murder.  A woman can only be murdered once.   And murder is a more seriously investigated crime than rape.  I’m sure if my rapist had succeeded in murdering me, someone might have actually cared about prosecuting him.  There have been more than one time, probably several times a week when I think “I wish I had died”.  But that is because twenty years later I still have to deal with the slander and humiliation of being the girl that no one believed.  With a stalker rapist making sure that there is someone around me willing to remind me of him every day.

      Is rape a bad thing.  Yes.  But I think the way society behaves toward rape victims is worse.

      1. 6.1.1

        I’ll take rape over murder any day. Seriously, woman wth are you saying?

        1. Karl R


          Are you suggesting that your opinion about Linda’s experience is more valid than her opinion about her own experience?

          For twenty years she’s been stalked by her rapist. She was one of the small minority of women who report their rape, but nobody took her seriously. Twenty years later, she’s still getting slandered and humiliated, because nobody would take her seriously.

          And Linda is right about murder being taken more seriously. An estimated 42% of murders result in a prison sentence. For rapes, the estimate is 0.6%.

        2. Katie

          I reserve the right to have my own opinions about other peoples experiences, yes.

          Linda’s situation is nasty, I acknowledge that and empathize for her. But the notion that she’d rather be MURDERED than endure what she has is, in my humble opinion, absurd.

          Yeah, murder is taken more seriously by the court. So the guy would have been caught. So what if you’re DEAD?!?!


        3. Katie

          Furthermore, I think the notion is harmful. Not just absurd. Which is why I sound as callous as I do about Linda’s disclosure. It’s harmful mentality to Linda and those who may read this and experience such a traumatic experience in the future. In no way am I being cavalier about rape. But if I’m choosing between rape and murder – Hell, I’ll make the rape fun for ya. Just don’t kill me.

        4. Karl R


          I find it difficult to believe that you empathize with Linda. You sound less empathetic than the posters who implied that the sex worker was “asking for it.”

          While you claim that you’re not being cavalier about rape (in general), you sound extremely callous and cavalier about Linda’s rape experience (in particular).

          It’s little words like “wth” and “absurd” that sound particularly crass … especially when addressed toward someone who is still experiencing external torment from her rapist and her community.


          As a final note, it seems extremely hypocritical that you’re worried about “the notion” being harmful, and Linda’s “mentality” being harmful … yet you show absolutely no concern about your words being harmful.

        5. Katie


          If I have come across as unsensitive to Linda, then I regret some of my wording. Or rather, I regret not more expressing my sympathy and empathy more clearly. Let me remedy:

          Linda your situation is absolutely vile and it’s disgusting that you have to deal with that monster for so long. I admire your strength, sister.

          I also, think that Linda’s experience should not define her. And I still think that the notion of MURDER being preferable to RAPE suggests a harmful mentality on Linda’s part that is not her fault, but should not be ignored. Linda being a victim does NOT make her judgement infalliable. It does not shield her from anothers logical assessment that perpetrating the notion that rape is equivalent to murder is a harmful notion.

  7. 7

    Sorry for the double post but I cannot get over the fact that the author is a sex worker.  Rape is never okay but she puts herself in situations where she is especially vulnerable to it.  She has chosen her profession.  I get the gist of her article but she is not in a position to compare herself to other women who have been raped.

    1. 7.1

      So paraphrasing here…She’s was totally asking for it?!?!?!

  8. 8

    Frankly, I find this article irresponsible. Articles which suggest that some women can move on easily after rape just give run the risk of giving some would be rapists and right wing politicians the idea that rape is not that bad and that just puts other women at risk. Counselling is the way that it is because rape really does destroy lots of lives. If some women don’t need it that is fine and no-one should be condemning women for being able to move on after rape but a lot simply can’t. In the case of the sex worker it seems that her rape was committed by someone who she was willingly engaged in a form of sexual activity with. While this does not in any way justify the rape, perhaps the trauma would have been greater had it been by someone that she had not been willing to engage in some form of sexual activity with. As for her 11 year old neighbour, she really can’t possibly know what she went through and should refrain from making dangerous assumptions.

  9. 9

    She makes a great point about victim mentalities and how people find validation in that. I think it’s great how things have moved on so that certain topics are no longer taboo and that people can talk about them. But people are obsessed with over-emoting and labelling themselves. For example I was diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder. I see both diagnoses as describing my mind at that particular period in my life. I didn’t see them as states which couldn’t be adjusted and moved on from. You do get people with mental illness who label themselves as such and I really think it prevents recovery. I almost dropped out of college – it was that bad. But if I keep labelling myself as a sufferer of an anxiety disorder, then I will never move forward and find a new identity for myself. And that’s what rape victims do. They move beyond being a victim. I suppose that’s what the author is saying. She’s saying that women are victims enough without having that state projected onto them by the media. So find your own narrative for life. There is no solace in self-pity beyond self-indulgence. And certainly nothing inherently virtuous about being downtrodden, poor, a woman or whatever you make into your crux. The point is not that you don’t feel sympathy for people in bad circumstances; it’s that we all have rubbish to deal with in life. However it feels to you, no one else really gets it unless they know it too. Your suffering is of minimal interest to people living through their own kind of pain. Having humility and perspective goes a long way. I don’t think it’s possible to be truly compassionate without some humility.

  10. 10

    I agree with the article. 

    I was out running one day with headphones on. I didn’t hear the guy who ran up behind me. He tackled  me bringing me crashing to the ground . I didn’t know what had happened for a while until he started attempting a sexual assault. While he was stronger than me and outweighed me I turned out to be more feisty than he expected since Id spent 10 years training in martial arts. While it was a frightening situation, it empowered me because I was able to handle it and I learnt never to wear headphones again while exercising outside a gym. 

    I have empathy for anyone who has dealt with something traumatic. How resilient you are and what you learn from it though can influence your life in a positive way. 

    R W   Your comment about the sex worker feels judgmental and lacks compassion for her as a human being She didn’t give consent for what happened to her and you don’t know the circumstances of her life that brought her to “choose ” her profession. If an electrician gets electrocuted on the job can he not compare that trauma to someone else who got electrocuted?

  11. 11

    I enjoyed reading the author’s point of view on the subject. I think there is much to be gained any time we stop for a moment and think to question why we believe certain ‘truisms’. If you question your beliefs and wind up in the same place that’s fine, but I’d still say the questioning was a valid exercise.
    It may be easier to live in a world where things are black and white, all or nothing, and with very little nuance, but in my view it is not better.

  12. 12

    I agree with Selena #3.  This article was so offensive and presumptuous I couldn’t get through it, and I wish I hadn’t tried.  Can we go back to talking about dating?

  13. 13

    No judgement intended with regards to her profession.  It is her life to do with as she chooses.  I’m not commenting on her life choices.  I am also not denying that her rape was a bad thing.  I am, however, commenting on the parallels that she draws or implies between her experiences and those of other women.  They are not the same thing.  Honestly, her article made me think.  I liked that.  I saw the point she was trying to make.  We treat raped women with kid gloves and maybe we are doing them a disservice.  I don’t know but the point is that it made me think.  

    However, I do feel that an electrician who is soaking wet and takes his finger near a live wire (not on but near) has a much greater chance of being electrocuted than say a non-electrician who was unexpectedly electrocuted.  In both situations the pain is undeniable.  But if the electrician were to turn around and write an article about the dangers of electrocution and how to move on after the fact and if the article has a slight twinge of “just get over it, it’s not that big a deal”, someone might feel honour bound to point out that if hadn’t gone near a live wire on purpose he might not have been electrocuted at all.

    You might say a live wire and a rapist are not the same thing.  Then again, a sex worker and an electrician are not the same thing either…

  14. 14
    Karl R

    Julia said: (#1)
    “I really hate the dichotomy she expressed either a woman thinks about it constantly and is paralyzed or she moves on.”

    I noticed the dichotomies too. I don’t find it inconsistent to identify an experience as the worst in one’s life, without letting that horrible experience define your life, and still having a happy, healthy life.

    My father would probably consider the murder of his parents to be the worst thing that happened in his life. It defined our lives for the next six months. (Every weekend was spent cleaning out there apartment or handling other affairs associated with their deaths.) But life doesn’t stop because of one event.

    Kitty said: (#2)
    “not to mention the post-traumatic symptoms that can last forever?”

    My first serious relationship was with a woman who had PTSD from her rape. She also had a happy, healthy and sexually pleasant life. The PTSD was a rare interruption in an otherwise happy life.

    RW said: (#7)
    “I cannot get over the fact that the author is a sex worker.  Rape is never okay but she puts herself in situations where she is especially vulnerable to it.  She has chosen her profession.  I get the gist of her article but she is not in a position to compare herself to other women who have been raped.”

    I walk around a major city (and ride public transportation) after dark almost on a daily basis. In doing so, I am far more vulnerable to random violence than if I owned/drove a car.

    Does that mean that I’m not in a position to compare myself to other men and women who have been mugged and assaulted?

    RW said: (#13)
    “someone might feel honour bound to point out that if hadn’t gone near a live wire on purpose he might not have been electrocuted at all.”

    If the electrician wants to eat and pay the bills for the next month, he has to get over the trauma and get back to work. The person who works in another profession has the luxury of being able to avoid live wires.

    And if Charlotte Shane lacks other professional skills, she may be in a similar position as the electrician: Go back and confront the dangerous situation, or struggle to find another way to pay the bills.

    I don’t think your comment to the electrician displays much “honour”. Are you “honour bound” to be snarky?

    Fiona said: (#8)
    “Articles which suggest that some women can move on easily after rape just give run the risk of giving some would be rapists and right wing politicians the idea that rape is not that bad”

    The last time I was assaulted (attacked by four teenagers in broad daylight while walking down the street), I continued on to the yoga studio and did my regular yoga class. Getting assaulted wasn’t even the worst thing that happened to me that week.

    Is somebody going to use my experience to say that physical assaults aren’t that bad? That they shouldn’t be illegal? Is someone going to use my father’s experience to minimize the evil of murder?

    I don’t believe that people (as a whole) start acting stupidly because they’ve been exposed to more information. If people will only do what you think is right if they’re kept ignorant, than you need to reevaluate your position.

  15. 15

    AMEN Kitty (#2)!

  16. 16

    “Though some feminists regard ‘rape equals devastation’ as sacred fact, the notion that a man can ruin me with his penis strikes me as the most complete expression of vintage misogyny available.”

    I have to agree with RW (#7), when she says that author, as a self-described “prostitute” (read her bio), has put herself in a vulnerable position regarding rape, and she has been assaulted more than once.  Certainly that has influenced her reaction to the assaults she suffered. She even admits seeing one of her attackers a month after the attack for another encounter, and saying nothing. Her response to these acts is going to be very different to the response of someone who doesn’t trade in sex for a living. Frankly, she seems to enjoy exposing the details of her “assaults” a little too much for my liking. 
    What is up with the anti-feminist clap-trap? What is the point of this article? Of course, victims of sexual assault can move past a sexual assault – who has said that they can’t? Everyone – both male and female – struggles with the aftermath of such an violation in his or her own way, depending on the circumstances and on their own psychological make-up. I’ve known female victims who were able to move on, and male victims who were not. But no one suffers such a violation without enduring some physical and/or psychological damage that will need to be addressed.

  17. 17

    Karl, with due respect, this is exactly what has been happening in the UK where we have had a former senior politician claim that ‘date rape’ isn’t this bad and some of the comments made by some of the Republicans in your country about women who are truly raped having bodies that can prevent pregnancy. Let’s not give these right wing morons any more ammunition to attack rape victims who have done nothing wrong.

    I am sorry to hear that you were assaulted on the way to yoga. Had you actually been raped on the way to yoga you may not feel it wasn’t the worse thing that happened to you that week. 

    1. 17.1

      Fiona, there is a problem with date rape.  Often it is a he said she said situation.  Now here’s the problem with feminists making it an issue.  Is rape wrong?  Yes it is, and I won’t even begin to apologize for it.  But I once overheard two girls I know plotting to accuse a guy of date rape because the were mad at him.
      Again, the issue is one of a lack of proof.  Court is about what you can prove.  So maybe women need to start videotaping ever date on some secret recording device.  There are many situations in other aspects of life where video cameras have changed they way business is done, because the camera doesn’t lie.  The simple fact is, far too many women DO lie about date rape, and those who are truly date raped should be just as angry at them.

  18. 18

    I have never been raped nor had a close friend who was raped, so good karma I guess. I have never even had to fight off a male.

    I was felt up by a stranger in an empty Army cruise ship movie theatre, though, when about 9. My parents were concerned but didn’t lose their heads or treat me as if I were a victim. I learned a lot from that. (i.e., not to overreact).

    I do think people are increasingly defining themselves by the central negative (or positive) event in their lives to the near exclusion of everything else and that worries me in how isolating it can make one. In how it crowds out every other thought in their heads, to their ultimate detriment. It’s not detachment, that’s for sure, and listen, Buddhist-like detachment works. For a whole host of problems, conditions.

    My one, overwhelming, and often negative, event has been raising an autistic daughter. ‘Cause she is both very smart AND autistic, which is a deadly combo. lol I spent three years exhaustively researching solutions, talking in chatrooms with other bright autistic people all over the world, sent her to various programs/camps, but then said to myself internally “move on now”. And I have. Today she is trying to make a life for herself in a group home in a nearby city. Has a paying job which she pushed for. That was a huge breakthrough imo. I visit, my ex visits, but few else. She is making new friends though, which I love.

    So my question is: Who’s burder is greater? The one who must spend years helping difficult, challenging individuals (or deal with chronic disease or recurring cancers) or the one who spent 7 minutes under a stranger and was penetrated? Who is ultimately brutalized more? I have often felt brutalized by my experiences with my daughter, by other’s ignorance or actions……     

  19. 19

    @Karl R
    We’re talking about degrees of possibility now.  By walking around after dark you are putting yourself at risk.  It may be because you cannot afford a car or choose not to/are not able to get a car for another reason.  The point is you are more at risk of being mugged than someone who drives.  You clearly know this risk.  I’m going to make an assumption and say you take the precautions you can to avoid being mugged.  You may still get mugged and you would have my deepest sympathy.  On the other hand, if you didn’t take these precautions, were mugged more than once and following this adopted the attitude of “I was mugged, I got over it, so should everyone else who has ever been mugged because it’s not that big of a deal”, then no, you are not in a position to compare yourself with others who have been mugged.  Yes, I feel bad for you, yes, being mugged sucks, no you didn’t deserve it but it isn’t surprising.  What did Charlotte Shane think was going to happen when a man’s condom covered genitals were near her own?  The man is absolute scum and she didn’t deserve it but it wasn’t completely unexpected.

    I’m trying hard NOT to be snarky here…that was an ill fated attempt at ironic humour which clearly backfired (I was never good at humour :P)…but please don’t tell me you are comparing being an electrician to being a sex worker.  It is simple: her line of work has many dangers associated with it.  It is not accepted as a reputable career by society (I’m not debating the correctness of this, merely stating a fact) and it should not come as a surprise that many of her clients are unsavoury.  With the electrician, I think you completely missed the point.  Yes, he has to go back to work if he wants to pay the bills and will have to get over the experience faster but maybe next time he WON’T go near a live wire sopping wet.  If he absolutely has to then that is the danger associated with his line of work and while it is sad, it is not to be compared with the common man’s electrocution experience.

    Anyway, I feel like I’m on a runaway train, speeding far away from the original topic.  To restate the original point:  Charlotte Shane’s article made me think.  I’ve begun reevaluating previously held thoughts about rape in my head.  However, the big flaw in her article for me was the premise that the circumstances of her rapes were similar to those of most other women.

  20. 20
    That East Asian Man

    The responses to this issue remind me of the statement in Hermann Hesse’s wonderful book, Siddhartha, that the opposite of every truth is equally true. And they reawaken my admiration and affection for Immaculee Ilibagiza.

  21. 21

    Great post Karl R 14 !   You bring up some tough heartfelt examples.

    Ellen  18  You are right  Many people do define their identity that way. The challenges you have dealt with must have seemed overwhelming. 

    When a critical care nurse, I had seen children suffer terribly with massive burns. Seeing what they endured was more traumatic to me than anything else Ive been through in my life.

    I also don’t know how miserable someones life may have been before they turned to being a sex worker by the age of 22. I can’t assume she had as many opportunities as I may have had so i can have empathy for her when others don’t.   


  22. 22

    I get very annoyed when I see men falsely accused of rape. For example that French man – Dominique Strauss Kahn. There was no evidence of him being guilty whatsoever and yet there were feminist protesters against him outside the court. People were against him and supported her because she was poor and an ethnic minority and a woman. Well it turned out she had fabricated the whole thing but it was too late for him because it had already done him damage. Can’t believe those feminists outside the court – should be contempt of court really that the media were allowed to show those images. And this is one of the reasons I dissociate myself with feminists. They too often jump on the man hating bandwagon. The women who falsely accuse men of rape are awful. They make it so much harder for genuine rape victims to be taken seriously.


  23. 23

    Ruby, Very much agree with everything you wrote in #16. Especially,
     “What is up with the anti-feminist clap-trap? What is the point of this article? Of course, victims of sexual assault can move past a sexual assault – who has said that they can’t? Everyone – both male and female – struggles with the aftermath of such an violation in his or her own way, depending on the circumstances and on their own psychological make-up. ”

    As someone who has had many friends and acquaintances confide in me about being raped, as someone who went through an attempted rape with an abusive lover, the common denominator IS the ability to move past it. Moving past it is not the same thing as minimizing it. Or dismissing it. Which is clearly what the author of this article, a prostitute, has chosen to do.

    This was a sad read on many, many levels.

  24. 24

    Ellen, in answer to your question

    “Who’s burder is greater? The one who must spend years helping difficult, challenging individuals (or deal with chronic disease or recurring cancers) or the one who spent 7 minutes under a stranger and was penetrated? Who is ultimately brutalized more?”

    I would say what could you possibly know? You haven’t been raped. It has nothing to do with karma either. I am sorry to hear that you have an autistic daughter but what on earth does that have to do with rape? 

    Frankly, I shocked by the number of people on here lacking empathy and compassion for people who have undergone sexual assault and who are treating it like as if it is nothing worse than a slap in the face and something they can get over in a week. These people don’t have a clue what they are talking about. That is the real problem with that article. People start getting the idea that rape isn’t that bad and people should just easily get over it. Let’s hope that holds true if it happens to them.

  25. 25

    I think it depends how traumatizing it is. I don’t think rape defines anyone, but I think trauma deeply affects people and rape leads to trauma in many situations.  This is like saying “Does fighting in Afghanistan need to stay with a soldier for his entire life?”  Well, no, but if he’s traumatized, then it may well.
    People also don’t like letting rape victims discuss being raped.  If someone is an escort, they are probably more free to talk about the types of people they encounter (I’m not making judgements on escorts or people who use them) in their daily lives, but since many rapes are perpetrated by an acquaintance, people don’t like to know about it, or if they are violent, people like to shelter themselves from that, so while one may be able to vent about bad situations in their life or cry on friends’ shoulders, this is a thing that the average person can’t or won’t be proper support, so downplaying the role of counselors is not fair. 

  26. 26

    RW #19 I didn’t hear Charlotte say ‘I got raped, it’s no big deal to me so it shouldn’t be a big deal to anyone else’ What I heard her say was- what if a woman who has been raped doesn’t automatically feel that is it the worst thing that has ever happened to her. Can we make room for the narrative of that woman?

    I understand that the fact that she is a sex worker will make her opinion seem biased, and will cause some (not necessarily you) to discount it based solely upon that fact,  but I think it’s a question (can we make room for the narrative of that woman?) worth asking.

  27. 27

    My Sister was gang raped and beaten viciously. She never recovered both mentally & physically.
    She committed suicide 4 years ago.
    I refuse to read this article 🙁

  28. 28

    hmmmm.   I think she is right in that it doesn’t have to become something that completely brings someone’s life to a halt.  However, having been raped when i was 10 DID actually change how I developed as a person.  I grew up being unsure of who i could trust.  I felt (and still feel) panicked in crowds.  This event definitly was a MAJOR influence in my life.  Do I not like sex?  Nope, love it.  Am I wallowing in it day after day?  No, most days i don’t even think about it.  Is it still a part of who I am?  Yes, and it always will be. 

    I am not someone who has sex for money or FWB’s or even the occasional first date romps.  I only have sex when in a committed relationship.  Does sex mean something different to me than to the author of the column?  YES.  It’s her job.  

  29. 29

    Sorry – posted before i finished. 

    The only thing I can say about this is unless it has happened to you, it’s pretty hard to know how you would feel about it.  I don’t think it is the worst thing that could possible happen in life.   Here is what i do know: it is devasting, it does effect you, it doesn’t mean it you are forbidden from enjoying sex or life, it does mean, it will probably be more difficult. 

  30. 30

    Years ago I slept with someone I had met while travelling. He was a tour guide that I had spent all day every day with for about a week. After I slept with him using protection, he then forced me to have sex without a condom. I was determined not to let the experience ruin my trip let alone my life so I went for the morning after pill the next day and carried on with my trip knowing that I would need to wait months for tests for STDs including HIV, herpes etc. I spent the first week after the event in total denial. I felt ashamed, worthless and blamed myself. Then I developed a huge lump. Convinced it was herpes, I was a nervous wreck and I was seriously considering throwing myself off a bridge. Luckily, it wasn’t. It was just damaged caused by him having been quite brutal. I spent a nervous 3 months waiting to be tested for every STD under the sun and only felt that I could start to put the whole thing behind me after having all the STD tests. it hasn’t affected my capacity to love and have a relationship but it has made me wary of boyfriends until they have been sleeping over for several weeks and I am sure they aren’t going to suddenly pounce on me without warning. Only my mother, my sister and my most serious ex boyfriend even know this happened to me.I felt too ashamed to tell anyone else. I haven’t been for counselling partly because I don’t want to stir up all those memories again.

    I feel a lot of sympathy with rape victims. I was able to rationalise that my experience wasn’t that bad because I’d already slept with the man willingly although in all honesty I wouldn’t wish either the experience or the several months of distress that followed on anyone. I am not sure I would have coped very well had I been diagnosed with herpes or HIV. I got through this experience in the end but I can very well imagine that it would have been a lot harder for me had it not been someone I had already slept with willingly. I don’t think that rape should be trivialised. 

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