• Fri, Jan 18 2013

It’s Not Okay To Wish Rape On Rapists

rape-rapists-not-okay

As I have mentioned more than once on The Gloss, I am a rape survivor. I talk about it frequently not because I want pity or sympathy, but because hearing from other survivors back before I told anybody what happened to me was what saved me from feeling painfully alone. When I’ve publicly spoken at events about being sexually assault or in articles, I typically receive some emails of people sharing their own stories, as well as people simply curious and interested in discussing sexual assault issues. I also get a few nutjobs that tell me to shut up, but those are few and far between, and pretty easy to ignore. My least favorite reaction, however, is when people tell me how much they wish rapists knew what it felt like to be raped. This is the only response I have trouble processing and replying to.

In particular, people often wish rapists be raped in prison. But sexual assault among inmates, no matter the crimes either party committed, is still sexual assault. It is still horrifying, despicable, cruel, demeaning, and violent. It is still the violation of another human being. It is still rape.

With Steubenville and the “rape crew” in the news, as well as the case of the New Delhi gang rape victim who died, people are more vocally angry about rape than, well, most of the time. The thought of a young woman being raped literally to death has caused the world to recoil, completely disgusted by the existence of such violent evil. The fact that a man could literally sit and giggle with his friends about a teenage girl being raped by multiple people has led to protests, threats and calls for action. The protests and calls for action are wonderful; without genuine desire and push for change, there will be none. But there have been so many comments on the Internet, including by people I know in person, stating this fucked-up yearning for somebody to rape the perpetrators. Comments like these:

rape comment

And there are dozens, if not hundreds more on every website that reported the story, all wishing for the same thing: for those who assault people to be assaulted themselves.

I do not want people to rape rapists any more than I want them to kill killers. In fact, I understand the logic of the death penalty more than the flow of commenters willing sexual assault on other human beings. Are rapists terrible human beings? Yes. But that does not mean I want them to be forced into having sexual contact. Any form of nonconsensual sex is not okay, even when committed on those who have perpetrated such crimes.

I will not lie to you, I’m not without guilt of this wish: in the past, when I was quite young, I briefly hoped that the person who assaulted me would someday know exactly how it felt. I wanted to know he had been punched in the face like I had, I wanted him to learn how to use coverup, I wanted him to feel sick and alone and desperate, too. But as I got older, I realized that hoping these things for another human being was causing me to drown in thoughts of retribution rather than recovery. Revenge will eat you alive from the inside out, and letting go of that sort of anger is the only way to believe–and behave–in goodness again.

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  • kj

    You know, it’s funny: I can’t seem to get the case of the rape-bus victim out of my head. I try not to, but I can’t stop wondering what that must have been like. It breaks my heart that this innocent person – that *anyone* should ever have to go through that. It makes me wonder just how awful of a person you must be to do that to anyone.

    My point is, I am generally against the death penalty, but I would fully support it in this case. These men deserve to die. Others need to see them die. I am the most ridiculous pacifist liberal hippy ever, but I honestly think that in this case, justice needs to get ugly.

    Anyways I know that doesn’t really relate to what you’ve written, except that in my thoughts I’ve wondered whether death by iron rod to the bowels was appropriate. I still haven’t decided for sure at this point.

  • MissR

    I work at a clinic that specializes in therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder, most of our clients have had repeated sexual assaults. I absolutely agree that the whole eye for an eye thing is thoughtless, and doesn’t do anything for the survivor at all, which is really who we should be focusing on.

    The problem with rehabilitation is that for most rapists the act is about power, I’d imagine that it would be difficult to have discussions about the long term impact of rape and sexual assault (PTSD etc.) since that would sort of feed into the I’ll be part of/impacting/controlling her life forever that many rapists thrive on.

  • anya

    Although I definetly see your point, I would not feel bad if I found out a rapist was raped. There are just some people who feel no remorse for their crime and actually laugh when thinking about their victim. Statistics show that the majority of rapists will rape again. As a victim of sexual assault myself, I completely know where you are coming from and I applaud you for being able to speak so openly about it

  • meteor_echo

    But death penalty for rape would be good. I’m all for it.

  • Lo

    Is this an article distinguishing between revenge and justice? On the internet? Now I really have seen everything.

  • Rachel

    I’m a pretty firm believer that the majority of male rapists will never understand the pain they’ve inflicted because for men, sticking your erect penis into a hole always feels good. For men like this who have no idea how the female body works, they must have something in the back of their head saying, “This is enjoyable for me so it must be at least somewhat enjoyable for her.” The woman in turn to them is just a stupid bitch who needs to “get over it”. Until a male rapist can fully comprehend how physically excruciating and brutally violating it feels to have a large-ish object shoved into an orifice of their body against their will, then they will NEVER have true empathy.

    That said, I did enjoy your article and I appreciate the dialogue it will bring. But I’m still a far cry away from having any sympathy for a rapist being raped.