On The Trivialization and Sensationalism of Rape

Hello there! 🙂 Let’s talk about rape.

Can you imagine saying that on a first date?

OK, corny jokes aside let me make one thing clear: I am not choosing any side because frankly I don’t need to be interested in who is right and I am not. Instead I want to talk about our rape culture.

Everyone’s consciousness is currently saturated with the Vhong Navarro versus Deniece Cornejo thing. Everyone has their opinions and everyone has chosen sides and people are parodying people and memes were made and it’s so noisy and to tell you the truth I’m so sick of it.

I was determined to ignore it. However, there is one thing that’s bothering me: the fact that a lot of people have chosen sides. The thing is, as of right now nothing has been decided by the court yet. As soon as this issue began and was plastered all over every news bulletin and showbiz talk show a lot of us have already begun crucifying people in social media “because they are lying sluts” or “because they are rapists”.

I think that the current culture that we have is sensationalizing and trivializing rape at the same time. It scares me that the subject of rape is supposedly scandalous for us and we give it massive attention, and yet it is fair sport to disregard or confirm it prematurely, based purely on assumptions on people’s characters and motives. And we are OK with judging, hurting and laughing about the people we assume are guilty on a public platform, where they might possibly see it.

Or are we maybe so hungry for attention and approval that we actually want them to see, regardless of how our words could injure? Are feelings mere acceptable collateral damage to our selfish need to be viewed as better than others? And don’t give me the bull shit reason that “if they put themselves in the public spotlight they should be prepared for public ridicule.” That is not an acceptable reason to behave without humanity.

Rape is never light. Rape is a heavy, three-ton solid metal anchor that can’t be flung around except by Jaegers and Godzilla. You shouldn’t shrug off someone’s rape claim as much as you shouldn’t claim rape when there was none.

Maybe instead of making nonsensical noise just to hear ourselves speak we should treat rape claims without levity and with sensitivity and the effort and patience to know and understand the truth before passing judgement, for the sake of both sides.

One: The Legitimately Abused

The psychological effects of being abused without consent is never minute and never funny. I do not claim to know how it feels to be raped; my experiences are in a lot smaller scale and I am presuming on parallelism. Let me give you an example.

I once had a boss who, when our team went out to drink one night, groped my breasts when pretending to examine a necklace I was wearing. I didn’t drink, he wasn’t drunk, and I know this because he was clearly lucid and even invited our male team mates to drink some more after some of us went home. He didn’t ask me if he could see my necklace and just grabbed my breasts out of the blue before pretending to look at the necklace. I looked at him in outrage and he pretended like it never happened. I never flirted with him or give him any hints that I am interested in him whatsoever. When I told a couple of office mates about it, the male one said, “it’s OK, he’s probably just drunk” and the girl said, “why didn’t you stop it?”

There was a shame that washed over me for a couple of minutes that said it was my fault for not being vigilant and preventing it and I was overreacting about the whole thing, before I remembered that I had a legitimate right to be angry and sad. And I have to deal with and go through the full length of those two emotions.

Now multiply that. Then imagine people telling you that you’re lying and was just looking for attention. There is a reason why a lot of rapes are unreported.

Two: The Wrongly Accused

Having even a small grasp of the effects of rape or abuse should bring home all the more that one should NEVER flippantly accuse someone of a crime so intimate and personal. There was a reason when there was a time rape was punishable by death. Accusing someone of being a rapist is basically telling everyone that a person is so evil that he/she would actively subject someone to a rape.

Have you ever thought about the effects of being wrongly accused of raping someone?

Aside from dealing with the actual accusation and it’s consequence in the form of a court case, you have to deal with the damage to your reputation. Without doing anything wrong. Worse, you could even experience jail while awaiting trial. And to most people, being arrested equals being guilty.

And in the future, even when proven innocent, there would still be people who don’t know the whole story telling other people, “I heard he/she once raped someone.”

What I’m trying to say is: since we’re not involved, and what we say about it doesn’t matter anyway, maybe we should all shut the fuck up.

<postscript> Thank you for reaching the bottom of the page. I was supposed to post something I was writing about wonder and how fantastically awesome science and Neil deGrasse Tyson is (I am so excited about Cosmos!) but I had to write this just to exorcise it out of my head. I’ll probably post that tomorrow. </postscript>

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