I did NOT want to write this post.
I tried my damndest not to. But it kept boiling inside me, all the things I needed to say, and if that's not what a blog is for, then I don't know what is.
I would love to be filling you guys in on the new web-series I've been working on, or how the horror movie I've been shooting was 11 days of fun and blood and screaming and sleep deprivation, or how Lira's wedding (which I officiated) went.
But first, I have to get this off my chest.
A blogger that I absolutely adore and respect to the highest degree (whom I STILL adore and respect to the highest degree, but I absolutely disagree with on this point) blogged about the Johnny Depp Incident. Basically, Johnny Depp, in an interview with this month's Vanity Fair, compared the act of sitting through a photo shoot to being raped. His words were: "Well, you just feel like you’re being raped somehow. Raped.... It feels like a kind of weird –- just weird."
And this blogger said there was no need to apologize (which the lovely Johnny Depp did, after being called out about it by RAINN) and that we had become too hypersensitive in this day and age about the meaning of words. Commenters agreed with her, saying that many, many things can be raped, including Mother Earth, celebrities by the media, etc.
So this is what I wrote:
"I'm going to have to disagree and say that I'm pleased that he apologized. Part of what is now Rape Culture is using the word "raped" to mean things that do NOT mean raped. When Johnny (whom I adore to the highest degree) said that he felt raped by a photo shoot, he did not ACTUALLY mean that he physically had someone shove a body part into an orifice of his while he repeatedly said NO and that he will have to deal with the guilt and shame regarding what he was wearing and how he was acting for the rest of his life. He will not have to deal with society judging him, labeling him a slut, telling him he "asked for it" and to just move on. He will not have to take a pregnancy test and wonder if he might be carrying the baby of the person who violated him, he will not have flashbacks of being raped while he's trying to be intimate with his wife, he will not find himself afraid of the dark or back alleys or wonder "What if" for the rest of his life. He will not spend a large amount of time (perhaps the rest of his life) being ashamed and afraid of his own sexuality.
He will not do any of this because he was not raped, yet he used the word raped. I don't think it's Political Correctness, and I don't think sexual abuse survivors have "hijacked a word." I think they know all too well that rape is serious and horrific and loaded and comes with a slew of baggage put upon it by society, and it is Rape Culture that says that is acceptable to use that word casually and throw it around and take the seriousness away from it. Rape Culture is making it casual and funny and when people STOP wincing at that word, then fuck it, we have a much bigger problem on our hands.
Thanks for listening."
And I thought that was that, and I moved on with my day. Except for the fact that I didn't move on. I couldn't. I got more and more frustrated the more I thought about it. Because I don't think the word "raped" should be used as a metaphor, much like I don't think the word "retarded" or "gay" should either. The definition of rape is not "whenever I feel particularly violated." It is an act of sexual assault, and if you take the sex out of rape then you are watering it down to a PC Diet Coke version of something very real, very tangible, and very traumatizing that happens to a lot of people. The very definition of rape includes sex; the word "violate" does not.
A few years back my car was broken into. Did I feel violated? Sure. Did I go around telling people I was raped? No, I did not. Violated is not the same as raped.
But people are now raped all the time. They are raped by Netflix raising its prices, raped at gas stations due to raising prices, raped at copy centers due to raising prices.. come to think of it, I don't hear people use the word "rape" as a metaphor NOT related to money very often. How do you think that makes actual rape victims feel? Do you think if someone came to you and tearfully told you that they were raped, that you'd nod and say, I was raped last week too when I was asked to pay more than I thought I should for a goods or service! We have so much to talk about now!
No. You wouldn't do that.
Celebrities are also raped, sometimes for hours on end... on red carpets, at photo shoots. In interviews. So let's imagine that scenario, shall we? Imagine a loved one calls you up. You ask how they are. Not so good, they say. I was just raped. Oh my God, you exclaim, what happened? Your loved one goes on to explain that he or she willingly showed up to a job, where he or she proceeded to work at this job for several hours, didn't express any feelings of uncomfortableness or reservations about this job while the work was being done, was paid for this job, and afterward felt taken advantage of in some way. Now, I'm not undermining this experience. To feel taken advantage of, even when you are getting paid, and you showed up willingly, and you expressed your feelings to no one (because if you had, people would have rushed to rectify this) is not a fun one. But it is not the same thing as being raped.
You cannot have rape without sex, my friends. You CAN.NOT. If you have rape without sex then you are taking the very loaded, complicated, horrific aspect of this crime and putting glitter on it. The Mother Earth can be violated, trashed, taken advantage of, used, spat upon, and neglected. But until someone finds a way to sexually assault an entire planet, no, it was not raped.
There are millions upon millions of people out there who have suffered sexual violence. Some are women who have been forced to marry their rapists to protect their honor, and so they continue to be raped. Some women were raped on dates, some men and women are raped by their partners, some men and women who are raped while passed out at parties. Rape is humiliating, and shaming, and is rarely punishable or provable in court (leading to the statistic that only 1 in 20 rapists will ever see a day behind bars, and that a rapist, assuming correctly that he will not be prosecuted, rapes an average of 6 times in his life time. Yes, even date rapists.)
Rape is a struggle for one person to exert power over another. Rape is something that happens to everyone, of all races, incomes, religions, and cultures. Rape seeks to silence people by creating a bubble of shame around it. Society encourages this by saying "she's asking for it" and putting the sexual history of rape victims on trial when the very rare incident of a rape going to court actually DOES happen.
Rape is many, many things. But rape is not a metaphor. And it should not be used as one.
Here I Am
3 weeks ago