"As I've said before, this points to an interesting, ahem, blindspot in the oft-cited statistic about 1 in 6 women being victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault sometime in their lives: Many of those women will have been victimized multiple times.
And many of us who are survivors of repeat assaults will not speak of it; many of us will pick the "worst" one and talk about that in threads on assault, as if it's the only one. We do this for many reasons: We might feel embarrassed by being repeatedly victimized, as if it's indicative of a character flaw within ourselves; we might have trouble discussing multiple assaults without undermining what tenuous feeling of safety we have; we might have faced reactions of incredulity from people with whom we shared this information and thought we could trust; we might have been called liars or hysterics—accusations born of the silence about sexual assault.
Disbelief is the inevitable result of swimming in a culture which renders invisible the reality that enormous numbers of women—and men—have been sexually assaulted, many of them more than once."
We have so many rumors, myths, and innuendos flying around the Internet and in our every day culture that would have young women think that they're more likely to get raped by a total stranger - something that couldn't be further from the truth In addition, most people don't think of a deed as rape unless the perpetrator is a total stranger. Worst of all, there are some pretty calloused people out there who think rape is funny. There are forms of rape that the legal system doesn't recognize, but that are every bit as traumatic and life-altering to the victim - such as voyeurism, frotting, up-skirt pictures, fondling, groping, engaging in sex acts before, during, or after intercourse without the partner's explicit consent for that particular act (see "gorilla mask" and "sneaky pete" for examples), and other forms of harassment. These are forms of rape no matter how cool, funny, or clever one may feel talking, joking, or bragging about them. Men, of course, are the primary perpetrators of this kind of shit, so I think it's up to us to do what we can to put a stop to it.
Based on what I've learned from other survivors I believe there are some factors about American culture that contribute to silencing rape victims. First is the fact that our society sees sex as such a taboo that we're afraid to talk about it (except in a dark room with a bottle of lotion). We surround sex - an act that's as natural as farting - with this aura or edginess and mystery. Secondly, men often see women and children as objects and possessions to which they are entitled (this is the current social construct, but not an absolute). These people think that every"thing" under "their roof" belongs to them and is at their disposal. This often includes human beings. Just as important is the stigma men get having been sexually assaulted. These things must be fixed before we can even think of having an open dialogue about it. We can start by listening to what the victims and survivors say, rather than what the courts and the rapists have to say. Laws, especially those designed to benefit and protect a privileged few, exist only to be challenged and revised. Not to say every accuser is telling the truth, but bear in mind that for every accuser - every person that reports being raped - there are dozens, if not hundreds, who don't report their ordeals for the reasons I outlined above. They will be shamed by ignorant people who believe that rape can only be committed by a stranger, that it only involves the victim being beaten to a bloody pulp, that it can't be done by a boyfriend, husband, father, uncle, brother, family friend, or what have you. These assumptions are just wrong, wrong, and wrong. Just because the judicial system doesn't recognize it doesn't mean it's not rape. Just because family tradition doesn't consider little girls having their dignity stolen by older male relatives as rape doesn't mean it isn't exactly that. To address the average Maxim reader: the fact that you're already getting it on with your girlfriend or wife doesn't automatically grant you permission to sneak your junk into her anus, punch her in the head or ribs, smear your semen on her face, slap her, "teabag" her, try to force yourself on her kid(s) or whatever other atrocious act 4chan or your favorite porn site can conjure (and yes, I do put all those acts in the same category). Who the fuck do you think you are, anyway? She doesn't owe you anything - especially her dignity, self-determination, self-respect, and right to safety - and certainly not her body.
And...Don't be mad at me because I'm willing to call it what it is. (finished with those little shitstains)
As long as we believe what conventional wisdom and our lame laws tell us about rape - and allow rape myths (do yourselves a favor and check out that link) to continue perpetuating - many women (and men) will continue to be silenced victims rather than respected survivors - or better yet, neither of those.
Justice has not been done. Laughing about it and making bullshit excuses about it won't get it done.