Talking about rape
I have been struggling lately with how to talk about the issue of rape in a manner that both is representative of the gendered nature of rape and its use as a weapon against women but also does not silence or erase the experience of men who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
I strongly believe in the gendered nature of rape – particularly the ways in which women victims are treated compared to other crimes, the lack of prosecutions that occur for rape and rape apologia in general but I also strongly detest the idea that men can never be raped. I believe this notion is part of a patriarchal social structure that views men as insatiable sexually and unable to control their sexual impulses meaning they always want to have sex no matter what. This both feeds in to rape culture – ideas around “well he couldn’t help it if she was dressed like that”, “She was coming on to him all night what did she expect” and also makes male victims either invisible or targets for ridicule as people question their masculinity.
How do I talk about rape in a way that is true to the social and political fact of rape and the threat of rape being a gendered experience without silencing or erasing other experience. I would love to know what you think.