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Brilliant. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by wxPDX on January 8, 2013 at 11:06 AM · Report this
I imagine that, for women who have been raised to believe that chastity is life itself, rape is indeed also horrible because they feel they've lost their virtue. We should not minimize a part of the horror that is, for such people, very real, just because some of us think it's backward.

It's great that India even looks like it might come to a more gender-egalitarian view of sex and a more realistic idea of what causes rape and how to respond to it.
Posted by DRF on January 8, 2013 at 11:23 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 3
@2 - The trouble with "respecting" that is that the view that a woman's life and value is in her vagina is kind of the problem in the first place.
Posted by MacCrocodile on January 8, 2013 at 12:13 PM · Report this
@3 We are in agreement that a woman's worth isn't in her vagina. But telling a woman who's just been raped "You're wrong about why you feel bad" isn't going to help. Yes, a woman who prides herself on having as few sexual partners as possible has a right to feel bad about that number being increased against her will.

These women should also be told that it's not their fault, and their communities should be encouraged to think of it this way as well.
Posted by DRF on January 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM · Report this
RTam 5
Rape does not increase your number of sexual partners. You have x number of consentual partners and x number of RAPISTS! It is NOT the same thing.

And I'm sure you mean well, but no one is saying "Don't feel bad for the reasons you feel bad" they are saying "Don't perpetuate the myth of vaginal virtue in the first place".
Posted by RTam on January 8, 2013 at 1:04 PM · Report this
Arsenic7 6

The way you comfort woman who feel their virtue has been besmirched actually IS to tell them that their virtue has nothing to do with the actions other people take against you.
Posted by Arsenic7 on January 8, 2013 at 2:17 PM · Report this
Skye Blu 7
Really? It stops hurting and you stop hating men? It's been twenty years- when does it happen pray tell?

I guess having my father call me a slut and tell me I deserved it makes it more of a thing- hard to stand up when even the people who are supposed to love you don't.
Posted by Skye Blu on January 8, 2013 at 3:20 PM · Report this
kim in portland 8

I can agree with your point that no-one should tell a victim what to feel. They can say that they understand that is how they feel and that they disagree. You can affirm someone's feelings and express that you disagree. Tis anecdotal, but it helped me. I unfortunately grew up under the attitude that my value was based in my purity (not extended to male siblings). I didn't get to come home to support after and I was told that "no man would ever want me". Thankfully I met men, including my husband, who disagreed. Later while working with domestic violence victims (spousal rape is not uncommon) I found that they needed me to vocalize that they were not damaged or ruined, and their value was in their very person. Perhaps others feel differently, but I continue to believe it is best to comfort victims 1) by listening and acknowledging their feelings, 2) by confronting any negative attitudes they may direct at themselves, and 3) repeatedly affirm their value over and over. When the worst we imagine happens, we need others who have our backs and who can both comfort and empower us.

Just my $0.02.
Posted by kim in portland on January 8, 2013 at 3:38 PM · Report this
Bonefish 9
4: Make sure you read posts 5 and 6. Twice.
Posted by Bonefish on January 8, 2013 at 3:46 PM · Report this
@5 Rape may not be about sex, but it does take the form of sex. I can see why you'd object to the term "sexual partner" in this context, though. I amend my statement to "People who pride themselves on having had sex with as few people as possible have a right to be upset if that number is increased against their wills."

Yes, the author is saying that women should feel bad about X and not about Y: "It is not horrible because you lose your 'virtue.' It is not horrible because your father and your brother are dishonored." Yes, I can see why a woman getting raped would count losing her virtue and creating problems for her relatives on her list of horrible things about what had happened to her. If they're the only things on the list, then that might be indicative of a problem.

@7 That utterly sucks. It sounds like your dad's a jerk.
Posted by DRF on January 8, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this
kim in portland 11
Sorry, @7. I can sorta relate as I dislike and do not respect specific family members because of my experience. I imagine that the author has found her way to not allow her pain and anger to have a large say in her daily perception of her life. In a sense she has let time heal her. I could be wrong. I do hope you know how wonderful and capable you are.

Take care.
Posted by kim in portland on January 8, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this

You mean like how Sandy Hook has convinced Americans that a fundamental change in culture and law is necessary?

I don't see a lot of convincing going around just yet. What I see is a pitched battle in a culture war instead, with people taking their sides and digging in their heels. More than likely, India won't change until there's bloodshed in the streets - lots of it - and even then, probably not.
Posted by gromm on January 8, 2013 at 4:16 PM · Report this
TVDinner 13
@7: You don't have to stop hurting, and if you want to hate men for the rest of your life you can do that, too. There is a powerful message in our culture that unless we forgive the people who trespass against us we will not be whole. We get told that our anger is what harms us, not the trespass itself, and we get told that if we still hurt years afterward, it's our fault for not "letting go" and moving on.

Personally, I reject that. I reject that so fucking hard, because I see it as further victim blaming. You had something terrible happen to you? Well, honey, you can't let it get you down! Buck up, little camper, and don't depress the rest of us with your reminders that our culture is sick! Lalalalalalalalalala!

Fuck that shit. Anger and hurt are reasonable responses to unreasonable outrages. You don't have to heal according to a prescribed notion of what that entails. If your healing involves anger and outrage and disgust at the attitudes that create a climate of sexual entitlement to women's bodies, then you have the right to claim that as your own sort of healing.

This woman's experience is powerful, but it isn't yours and it isn't mine. My own path of healing from sexual assault has included a very healthy amount of hatred, and no one has the right to take that from me.

Being an atheist and not feeling doctrinally required to turn the other cheek or forgive my enemies definitely helps. It also helps that my assailant was brutally and publicly beaten some time after he assaulted me.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 8, 2013 at 4:25 PM · Report this
Posted by randoma on January 8, 2013 at 5:04 PM · Report this
Hating the person who raped you? Yeah, I can see where that could be healthy. Hating 3,500,000,000 people because of the actions of one? Doesn't sound so healthy. Not saying it's not understandable, not saying anyone's not entitled to hate whoever they want, not trying to imply hate is something we can just choose not to feel. But it sounds like an awful lot of hate to have to carry around, for a lot of people who didn't earn it.
Posted by jzimbert on January 8, 2013 at 5:13 PM · Report this
@12 Good point. Call it hope, then, a reason to have faith in humanity. There was already a debate about gun control in the U.S. before Sandy Hook. These Indian women standing up and condemning the fact that they're not safe in their own country due to fixable cultural problems strike me as being very new. Better a pitched battle for a righteous cause than more acceptance of this injustice.
Posted by DRF on January 8, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Report this

No one's suggesting telling rape survivors why they should or should not feel bad. What rape survivors feel isn't the problem. The problem is what the people around him or her are feeling. Particularly, that a father or brother commits suicide after his daughter's rape because they feel their daughter's honor and virtue has been violated, *that* is the problem.

Posted by flang on January 9, 2013 at 7:39 AM · Report this
Skye Blu 18
I'm more hung up on hating my father than my rapist. The boy who raped me was my age and drunk- I have managed to put away most of the direct anger over it and the fear of other young men who look the same as him. But the utter betrayal of my father who cared more about his religion and social standing than my spiritual wounds. I am still made furious by people who care more for their so-called morals than for actual people's feelings. Hypocrisy and self-centredness, caring more about "what the neighbours will think" than about someone who you said you loved, someone you promised to protect.
Posted by Skye Blu on January 9, 2013 at 4:57 PM · Report this
thecheesegirl 19
@18: That must be a terrible experience, to be betrayed so fundamentally by someone who is supposed to love and support you unconditionally. I truly hope you are able to find peace.
Posted by thecheesegirl on January 10, 2013 at 12:10 AM · Report this
sissoucat 20


Just like stuffing someone's mouth chock full of any kind of foodstuff until death happens by suffocation is NOT "having dinner".

Same orifices, yes. Same thing, NO.

Your "purity" concerns, aka reveling in counting how many different peens have been in a given vagina, and pretending that it should matter, are just stupid in the concern of consensual sex, but they are GROSS in this context of rape.

If you a vagina owner, keep a count of peens that get into your vagina all you want. But stay away from documenting other's vaginas, or making them believe your sick voyeuristic accounting should matter to them.

And STFU on rape. You'll do yourself a favor.
Posted by sissoucat on January 12, 2013 at 6:38 AM · Report this

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