Rape has been on my mind.
I was raped almost 20 years ago to this day. For the next 15 years, I said nothing. There was no evidence. There was nothing to do, I thought, than get over it. Move on. But every so often, it came screaming back to me, usually in the form of other women suffering.
This week, rape, in many of its forms has been all over the news.
This morning, the New York Times
reports on girls being initiated into Central American gangs for protection from abusive households by rape. One girl reports that she was told that all she had to do was talk to the leader and he would induct her into the gang. "Before she knew what was happening, though, her new family members were disrobing and lining up to have sex with her."
The rapist and murderer of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach was finally found and arrested in Mexico last night.
After Lauterbach accused Cpl. Cesar Laurean of rape, it took the Corps 7 months to investigate. According to Rep. Michael Turner (R-NC), "The actions taken by the Marine Corps to protect Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach were totally inadequate."
Turner said he is reviewing the Marine Corps' response and sharing it with fellow lawmakers similarly concerned about the way the Marines handle allegations of rape.
Attorney Merle Wilberding, who represents the Lauterbach family, said Marine procedures seem to ignore the emotional trauma suffered by the victim. (my emphasis)
The charred remains of Lauterbach and her fetus were found buried in Laurean's backyard in North Carolina in January.
In Texas, 419 children were removed from a compound from which boys are expelled to make room for girls who become the wives of older men. It seems a number of the female children are pregnant. Meanwhile, the Associated Press is called out by Melissa McEwan
(again) for calling it sex.
A second KBR employee (formerly a subsidiary of Halliburton) has come forward with allegations of being gang-raped in Iraq by soldiers and other contractors.
Unfortunately, despite having come forward, the perpetrators may never be prosecuted in criminal court because of Order 17, which states that U.S. defense contractors in Iraq cannot be prosecuted in the Iraqi criminal justice system. While they can technically
be tried in U.S. Federal Court, the Justice Department has shown no interest
in prosecuting the first case, which occurred in 2005.
According to the article in The Nation (April 3)
"Prosecutorial jurisdiction for crimes like the alleged rape of Jones is easily established under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act and the Patriot Act's special maritime and territorial jurisdiction provisions. But somebody has to want to prosecute the cases."
And apparently, nobody does.
Stephen Lewis, a man I believe is one of the greatest heroes of this generation, gave a speech in September about the "litany of horror" occurring specifically in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where U.N. Emergency Coordinator and Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, characterized sexual violence against women as “almost unimaginable” adding that the intensity and frequency is worse than anywhere else in the world.
When I wrote the post on the t-shirt, I wasn't really thinking about responses, but rather about what I needed to say. I hadn't read any responses to any of the other posts around the 'sphere either. Later, I looked around at what people were saying. On one feminist website, I was a little surprised at some of the comments posted.
Yeah, I don't know if people would want to wear this t-shirt. Don't you want to forget that it happened?
Yes. But that ain't gonna happen.
I mean, let's say I saw you wearing that shirt, what am i supposed to do about it? Am I suppose to be like OMG You were RAPED? Please tell me all about it. Or am I supposed to be all OH NO You were raped? I am so sorry.
What are you supposed to do about it...?
Cuz that shirt is just flat out awkward. If I saw someone wearing that I would probably start sweating and wondering if I should look up or down or say something or give them a hug or a high five or start a converation or give them a 'knowing' nod....just too awkward lol.
Really - did you need to end with "lol"? I don't even have a response to this, but another person did.
You know what? I really couldn't care less if MY rape makes YOU feel awkward and uncomfortable. Know what's awkward and uncomfortable? BEING RAPED. So if I want to shout it from the rooftops, plaster it on billboards, or wear a t-shirt, I CAN and I WILL.
After reading all of those, I started to get worried. Do people think that I'm a "Debbie Downer"? Is my writing so depressing, so grim and out of touch that I should stop, but then I got such a lovely and honest response from Will Pillage for Yarn.
"I can't say that word because it is so loaded and charged and painful. I can't say it out loud. Or wear it out loud. I'm too ashamed." and that is a looong way from where I started the thought process and is probably a more honest place for me to be in.
I couldn't wear the shirt, but I'm really grateful to have the opportunity to have that conversation with myself and to read your thoughts and the thoughts of the women who posted comments here.
I know we don't want to talk about it. I know it's not fun. It doesn't amuse. It's depressing.
I don't care.
Labels: Body Electric, Politix, rape