Two words. Two simple words.
Another word, suspected. Suspected rape.
I write this article for myself and for other victims of childhood sexual abuse – for other victims who have been set into a tailspin of anguish as the headlines flash and bore deep into our minds.
My question; why is any rape suspected. All the more, gang rape? Why and how can that possibly require the word suspected?
I am at a loss. I am 58 years old. I have been in this country since1983. What have I missed?
Yes, I am putting a trigger warning on this post.
Last week, the country was shaken to its core. There have been demonstrations, articles, interviews, etc. All of these strong responses give me, who has been completely shoved off balance, a glimmer of the possibility of hope. However, for me personally, there is always the overwhelming sense of there being absolutely no end in sight to this crime, not for those already raped and certainly not for those who will be raped.
As I write this, I understand that this is part of my process. The word rape for me is a trigger. The rape of an adolescent while others stand by, either participating, or ignoring the horrific physical and emotional pain being forced upon her -brings me to a full, dark and painful stop.
I have only 2 points that I need to make here; Two things to add to the horrific crime that was freely committed by these criminals waiting in line at their victim’s door.
So far, the press was particularly kind to the victim. They have yet to start questioning her behavior, her dress, her essence of being. Unfortunately, I know that this too will come. The crime is so horrendous, the only way for those who weren’t victimized to process this is to start questioning the victim – Victim blaming is a survival tactic for the misogynistic. (I have no need to elaborate here. Anyone who denies that this is the case is not anyone I want to engage with.)
We have all heard the news. Thirty men. I heard one reporter say 30 human beings (bn’ai adam) were involved in the rape…What does that mean? Did he hear himself say those words???
What differentiates human beings from animals is (generally accepted), among other things, the ability to use complex reasoning, the use of complex language and introspection. If they are indeed human beings, they used complex reasoning, used their complex language and introspection, read the situation -and then proceeded to permanently harm a helpless, unprotected life. They waited in line to batter her! One after the other – they waited in line to empty themselves into her body, without her permission.
If we chose to call these rapists human beings, then we must also agree that they most certainly did not do anything that can be called suspected rape. They committed the heinous crime – they committed rape. A human being would be keenly aware that what he is doing is indeed the violent act of rape. Complex communication, introspection? This was rape. This was rape.
Trigger warnings are put on things that will cause people who’ve suffered something similar to have some kind of reaction, bringing them back to their own traumas. (I am purposely using the plural here -given the numbers of uninvestigated rapes in this country). A trigger warning is a sign of acknowledgement and respect. It lets those who are about to read or listen to the article either prepare themselves, or decide not to go forward.
Not putting a trigger warning is an act of violence in and of itself. It is like saying, what you have experienced did not have a long-term detrimental effect on your life or, worse (?) -it didn’t really happen.
Not putting a trigger warning is engaging in denial. Not putting a trigger warning is a way to diminish the abominable crime that was perpetrated on millions of (mostly) women. Not putting a trigger warning is to openly announce that this crime is not outside the bounds of acceptable human behavior, as in no trigger warning is necessary, because… Not putting a trigger warning is not putting effort in prosecuting rapists. Finally, not putting a trigger warning is another statement by society that rape is not so bad after all -we should all just deal. No trigger warning is another way to bury the victims and free the rapist.