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.