Monday, August 9, 2010

It's ok to be raped but not to be angry about it

To put things into perspective here. I will outline a few facts about rape that should be common knowledge. In the legal system of both America and Australia rape is considered one of the worst things you could do to another person. It is in fact second only to murder. Rape is torture. Psychological and physical torture. Rape has long lasting effects on the person's life.

Now having gotten the housekeeping on rape done I get into the point of this entry. This was in part inspired by a response to my last post, but mostly inspired by the general response to rape.

It is easy for a person to say "yes, rape is bad, I understand it has long term consequences" but it seems like another issue entirely for them to actually have any understanding of the reality of rape. The reality is yes, anger and sadness, and confusion and anxiety. So why then is it so easy for these people who supposedly understand to call justified anger "wallowing" or "self pity".

Yes, I do feel bad that I was raped, it wasn't a pleasant experience. Yes I do get sad about it. I do get into a rage about it on occassion. Is this self pity though or is it just grief?

I am not talking about only myself here, it happens to other people who have experienced rape as well. We are still smothered in a silence enforced by societal pressures. No one wants to deal with the anger that results from rape. I mean I certainly don't so I can understand why someone else would want to be away from my anger. However to be treated with a complete lack of compassion is more then I can tolerate sometimes.

I am not by nature self pitying. I never think "Ohhh, why me?" I always think "Why anyone?". As a consequence I then set about trying to help the people it has happened to and trying to prevent it from happening to anyone else.

Sometimes I express my anger in a negative way, I direct it towards people who don't deserve it. However in the case of creative writing my anger isn't really directed towards anyone at all, just the situation in general.

I really don't comprehend why it is so wrong of me to be upset, why I should "lighten up" because someone isn't capable of dealing with the harsh realities of rape and the aftermath. Well sorry but it is something many people actually have to deal with every day.

In a society where sexual assault is so common, why is it that it still so wrong to be angry about it?


  1. You are right. I'm sorry. I will admit I wrote what I wrote in a snit. But you do have every right to be angry and it's YOUR blog. It's YOUR place to be angry.
    I am free to dislike what you write but I shouldn't be nasty about it and I was. I apologize.
    I would just say I wish you could live your life with less anger. It is in our power to let go of what happened to us. That is a power nobody can take away from us and it is what makes us stronger and better human beings.
    Please accept my apology. It is sincere. I spoke too hastily out of a gut reaction. And it was disrespectful and nasty and I'm sorry.


  2. Honestly, there are men who are angry about it, and they are considered noble...but when women are angry about it, we have a victim mentality...It's not lady-like to be angry is what I would assume the societal consensus would be...The only way to be noble as a woman is to stand up for the wrongs that happen to men, but you have to be sure you name that anger after men...if you call it feminism you're a whiny bitch...

  3. amy, I've read a bit about a victim mentality and when it applies to rape it seems to make no sense...You have one side telling you that it wasn't your fault the raper afterall did the raping...often unprovoked...Then you have the other side saying that in order to heal you have to take responsibility for your part...what would be your part as the victim of rape? Is it that you didn't go out with an escort, preferably male? Did you go out too late at night? Did you wear revealing clothing? Did you have one too many to drink? Where does it stop? Men can go about freely without being made into victims...females who are raped are FORCED into a victim mentality, or to be shut ins for the rest of their lives... maybe you can tell me how a rape victim can take responsibility for something that was forcibly taken away from for me, I just don't see it (I wasn't raped...just on the outside looking in)

  4. I accept your apology Amy

    The rest of what you say, well I can see you have been brainwashed in therapy. "We can let go of what has happened to us". Yeah well I find it hard to let go of something that is still happening, in fact I refuse to.

    Anger isn't always an impotent force, it's what drives my passion forward to do things to try to stop or ease the suffering of both myself and everyone else.

    Putting aside my anger would be like admitting there is nothing I can do, but there are things I can do, changes that can be made.

    Another popular cry of trauma therapy is "put the blame where it belongs". Well I am, I am putting it squarely on the patriarchy

    Haha marriedfem, victim mentality is a hilarious concept

  5. It is... we are so focused on the victim that we can just dismiss the perpetrator as mentally ill...we can't blame them...they are mentally ill... sounds like victim mentality to me...

  6. telling me to live my life with less anger, that's quite an illogical assumption. I am unsure of how anyone on this blog can know how I live my life.

  7. @AFOTC:"I really don't comprehend why it is so wrong of me to be upset, why I should "lighten up" because someone isn't capable of dealing with the harsh realities of rape and the aftermath. Well sorry but it is something many people actually have to deal with every day."

    The answer, of course, is that it ISN'T wrong to feel. To tell someone to change what they feel is just a ridiculous thing to say. It's not possible. An individual can certainly change how they choose to feel over time, but never in response to someone TELLING them to.

    What's wrong, but sadly isn't likely to change anytime soon, is peoples inability to accept and sit with the pain of others. It hurts, ironically, to see someone filled with anger and pain. And what hurts, we tend to try to avoid or destroy.
    So we diminish it by calling it wallowing or self-pity or many other terms that only serve to add shame.
    It is THEIR discomfort that needs to be challenged, not yours.

    It's sad to me that physical damage receives so much more compassion, in general, than does internal damage. It's obvious why, but that's the next phase of human growth to me.

  8. Anonymous, If you are raped it takes years to let go of what happened. What person would purposely choose to live in the surreal world of pain, confusion, and anger following an assault on their body and soul if they had a choice? Let go? This isn't a job application. It's something that infiltrates every aspect of our lives, from friendship, to real relationships to self-image to being able to trust again. Let go? What a bunch of new age baloney. I have been walking a spiritual path for 20 years, a large part of which involves "letting go." But I was also raped 30 years ago and it comes back and back and back. What we can do is learn to live with the waves, know that they will pass over, and most importantly, learn who to trust with our souls.

  9. Agreed.

    Plus I don't want to let go of the anger, I want to use it to make things better for people.

  10. Just came across this post. Amy makes me bloody fucking angry - that self-righteous superior 'calm down' crap - sounds like she's a Christian! (And I mean Christian in... you know what sense!) Everybody - anybody not only has the right to be angry - it is important that anger is shown - anger is not violence - anger is an expression of wrong-doing. Women are not only not permitted to talk about rape - get the criticisms of any novel with a rape scene as "female literature" but women too are not allowed to talke about any sexual abuse, particular child abuse. Yet men - oh, don't we sympathise and pity them when they are abused? The real fact is, millions of women are abused and raped - rape is used in wars as a main weapon (remember the US soldiers in Iraq?) and women are moaned at for being angry cos clearly we should spread our legs, take it and shut up about it otherwise. It's not those with this attitude that I despise though - it's people like Amy! And you know what Amy? The alternative to being angry is throwing yourself off a cliff. I hope you never get raped, because with your attitude, you wouldn't survive darling. You really, trully wouldn't