It is astounding that in the Year 2010, so many people still treat the word rape as if it’s a clever description from everything from taxes to actions at sporting events. The pictured cartoon made the rounds on the heels of the passage of health care reform. At seemingly all levels in the world of politics, many consider “rape” to be a true conversational gem:
It is no coincidence that each one the writers or talkers above is male. Men have had a long and grotesque history of trivializing rape and attempting to take their own ownership of the word. Often times for men, “rape” is just a powerful word, with no true reality. It is part of the “Rape Culture” in which we live. In Melissa McEwan’s powerful post “Rape Culture 101,” she gives a thorough examination of how “rape” has been taken away from its only true meaning – the act of rape, by a rapist, on a rape victim.
Rape culture is 1 in 33 men being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is encouraging men to use the language of rape to establish dominance over one another (“I’ll make you my bitch”). Rape culture is making rape a ubiquitous part of male-exclusive bonding. Rape culture is ignoring the cavernous need for men’s prison reform in part because the threat of being raped in prison is considered an acceptable deterrent to committing crime, and the threat only works if actual men are actually being raped.
Rape culture is 1 in 6 women being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is not even talking about the reality that many women are sexually assaulted multiple times in their lives. Rape culture is the way in which the constant threat of sexual assault affects women’s daily movements.
Rape is “A criminal offense defined in most states as forcible sexual relations with a person against that person’s will.”
Rape is not a clever way to describe political opinions. It is not a verb to be used to garner shock value. Randomly using the word rape does not make one a “gonzo” writer.
Rape is rape. If you need a better description, ask an actual rape victim. And then decide if paying taxes equates to this heinous act.