I was compelled to read on. The author went on to say, “RAPE. In any other realm outside of a family member would be referred to by its justified name, rape. My daughter was raped at age 3. I don’t call it incest, I call it what it is, rape. Because it was done by a very trusted family member doesn’t change what happened. The act is the same. Whether it was a family member or complete stranger, rape is still rape. Being raped by someone in your family doesn’t make it less of a crime.”
Being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, this got me to thinking about the other monikers associated with “any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person “as defined by Webster’s as Rape. Some of the names we associate with it are, “Date-Rape”, “Molestation”, “Statutory Rape”, “Despoilment”, and I even used one when describing what happened to me as a little boy, “Abuse”.
What makes us want to alter the name depending on the circumstances of the act? Is it to make us, as the victims of crime, feel less ashamed or dirty? Good luck with that. I can tell you that won’t work. Is it to make us as individuals feel less threatened as we consider “what happens elsewhere” or “not in my backyard”? Or is it to make us, as a society, feel less of a failure for not protecting our most precious resource, our children?
Whatever the rationale, none of it matters because none of it works or is justified. As the author of the article and I discussed on her blog, Rape is Rape. Period. And if no penetration occurs, someone still takes away the sexual innocence of a child, so therefore it is still rape. As I said in response to her post and she agreed, we must quit calling things by what is “socially acceptable” and call a spade a spade. Shouldn’t we cease labelling these crimes as date-rape, statutory rape or any other watered-down version of the harsh reality? It’s ALL rape. Shouldn’t we do all we can to prevent rape in the first place and to support all survivors of all forms of this criminal act?
Ah, therein lies the rub. To DO something by its definition requires ACTION. And that’s a tough pill to swallow, especially with our busy schedules. Breakfast and lunches to fix for multiple kids, soccer practices and piano lessons, conference calls to Europe and Asia, and on and on…where on earth will we find the time? Want to know when? When, God forbid, it happens to one of ours. It seems as only then do we realize how important raising awareness is, because “if we had only known; and we sure don’t want anyone else to go through this”.
Here’s an idea from a really smart guy: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Frederick Douglass said that some time ago, and it’s still true today. Let’s prevent rape before it happens.
Don’t know how? Take a look online and see how many groups out there for survivors of rape, domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse there are…trust me when I say, there is no end to the lists of organizations. Join one and help be a part of the solution.
As the Executive Director of Together We Heal, David Pittman works to educate the public through speaking and collaborating with other groups to raise awareness and expose the sexual predator's methods. TWH now works with therapists, counselors and groups aiding both men and women in their efforts to heal, grow and thrive. He is also the South Florida Area Support Group Leader for SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.