* I will put a trigger warning on this post because it can be triggering for some readers.
I am sitting here thinking. Pounding a thought that has been with me for quite some time now. It’s been coming and going for the last two years or so, a thought regarding rape and what it means. I am specifically thinking about the act carried out by the rapist. Is it something ”anyone can do”? Is it something that is limited to a certain group of people? A certain group of members of the human population? If that is the case, who is that group? On what basis is it tied to this group? And if it makes sense to pin this horrifying act onto one group, why is it that society in general (especially on the juridical level) doesn’t handle it as such?
Rape, a word I see and hear being used more and more in day to day language, is for me tied to an act in which nothing but the worst sides of sexualised terror can be applied. This word, however, is more and more being devalued, watered down. People–and it goes without saying overwhelmingly, us males–throw it around like it carries no real value any more. Young men (and not so young men) playing video games can often be seen writing (or speaking using a microphone while playing online) that ”I just raped you” or ”I’m going to rape you”. Meaning to them that they just did a ‘wonderful’ kill in some FPS (First Person Shooter) game or that they are going after other players in an attempt to kill them to score points. This is of course but one example in which I so often hear (or see) this term being thrown around, seemingly without any real thought behind what actually lies behind the word. What does it truly mean? Does it mean getting kills playing computer games online? Really? I’m not satisfied with that option. Does it mean when men say it to other men that might have hurt their balls from falling in bad ways? ”Ohh, you just got so raped…” really? Does it mean we men having our balls hurt by falling over certain objects that might smack us, painfully, between the legs? Nah, I’m not satisfied with that either. Rape, to me, is a word that should make anyone think ”it’s horrifying/disgusting/indefensible. No one deserves to be raped”, yet it is thrown around without hesitation to the situation and often in combination with laughter among an ever-growing part of the human population.
Before I go on I just want to acknowledge that I am fully aware this is a topic that is hard to handle by many, and rightly so, it is a gruesome act of sexualised violence. An act in which penetration of an orifice–vagina, anus, mouth–has become, for the perpetrator, an urge (this is my personal opinion I might point out) to satisfy a lust to sexually violate. Another way to put it is the perpetrator’s pleasure of penetration–with or without force– triumphs the well-being and needs of the victim.
I might, with these opening words, already have cast a shadow as to whom I am thinking is the soul carrier of this gruesome act. Us males. My own belief is that rape is an act that can only be performed by males. You might disagree with me, but I do hope you will at least read the rest of the post and see my reasons as to why I believe it is so.
Rape is described in dictionaries as ”unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim. ” The act itself is described well here, however, I do disagree on the part that says ”other body part, or foreign object” I also believe it is very vague to simply say ”by a sex organ”. It’s not just any sex organ, it’s the male sexual organ: the penis. How on earth could you ever penetrate anyone with any other sex organ besides the penis/cock/dick/ladystick (the very specific male sex organ has a few names attached to it)? The sneaky thing here that has been done by men, who I believe are the ones who have written this juridical based definition anyway, is to tone down the very male perpetrator itself by being vague and not stating the obvious, for example, the only sex organ possible to penetrate with is the penis. It is us males who carry the weapon, the penis, to do this act. No one else.
I don’t believe females can commit rape. I don’t believe all males are rapists. I believe females can commit hideous crimes of sexual nature, with or without objects. I believe males can commit hideous crimes of sexual nature that is not rape. But Rape, the very core definition for me, is straight up an act of a very specific form of sexualised male violence, which is centred around the penetration with the penis, without the victim’s consent. The amount of force/violence applied to make this happen is irrelevant. The very purpose of rape is for a male to penetrate his victim with his penis. His penis is the weapon and the target is most often a female.
The overwhelming group who are victims of this act are females. This goes without saying. You can look rape statistics up, any place in the world, to see that the overwhelmingly majority of victims of this horrifying sexualised act are female. To joke around with this, to joke around and use it in day to day language is to trivialize a very specific ”systematic” act that we males do overwhelmingly against females all over the planet.
I understand holding this view upsets a lot of people, that I centre rape around us men, but my point here is not to devalue or minimize or trivialize sexually violent behaviors in any way/shape or form. My point is to highlight that we males need to be held collectively accountable for something that occurs on a systematic level among us.
To me, in order to be able to stop rape, one has to be able to define what it truly means. To stop rape is to start highlighting this very specific act of male aggression and sexual violence. The use of force ”to mount” is what rape is. And ”to mount” someone is a very specific act attached to males.
For too long, juridical processes under this patriarchy have watered down the meaning of this male act of sexual violence, so it has become almost invisible. It happens on such a large scale in day to day society that so many people no longer seem to care to think about what the act entails, from the perpetrator to the victim, when a man rapes a woman, child, nonhuman animal or another man.
Now, I need to point out that what I am not saying here is that being penetrated by a foreign object or any other body parts in vagina, anus or any other orifice by violence and without consent is not a hideous crime. Of course it is. Any form of sexual violence, perpetrated by a male or a female should be seen as a hideous crime and dealt with as such. But can we be honest and call it something else? sexual assault? Sexually aggravated assault?
Rape to me means the very specific act of gruesome violation of bodily integrity by a male with the core purpose of pushing his sex organ, the penis, inside of the victim without consent. It is a form of an ultimate sexual expression of domination by the perpetrator and it is without a doubt happening to women on a massive scale. It is systematic from men unto women around the world. It’s endemic. It’s sexual terrorism. It has, in this patriarchy, the sole purpose of violating the boundaries of females. To show them their bodies are not theirs, but belong to us men, whenever we want.
One way some people argue to stop rape is to allow us men to buy certain women, prostitutes or sex workers as some also call them. Women working within the sex industry – an industry that shall function as some kind of legalized rape institution. That men who want to stick their penises into women when they want, now can pay to rape instead. Because that is what it is to me. Paid rape. These women (and sometimes trans people and sometimes men) consent to the money not to the actual sex. Think about it. How often have you met anyone you love and care for that has told you before any sexual activity has taken place between the two of you–whether or not penetration has been part of that sexual act–that you have to pay them first?
It is a very specific act of male violence. It is a hideous form of male violence and it is time we men collectively start naming this problem. Highlight it. Make it visible and help stop it. Females are increasingly being left out in the cold regarding this one, together with a growing number of male victims.
If you don’t think rape as a term should be ‘limited’ to this very specific act of male aggression, then are you willing to name a suggestion of a term/word we could use? We need a word that exclusively name this very specific problem.