“I wasn’t raped but…” class discussion

I mean no disrespect to rape victims, but I feel that Gavey in “I wasn’t raped but…” used an incorrect analogy. We didn’t get a chance to discuss this in class, but I was curious how everyone else saw it.

Gavey paralleled rape to depression, suggesting that although one might say they’re not depressed, they can be if they have the symptoms. Similarly, some might say a person has been raped although the person does not identify as a rape victim.

Depression is in the DSM and a person must meet a couple of the requirements. Rape doesn’t have to meet requirements, its determined person to person. People interpret it differently so there isn’t a set definition- I see it similar to the definition of hookup (I think theblock wrote a blog on the definition of hookups). Some people might think rape is constituted by not giving consent while others believe the victim has to actively not give consent. It seems like there is a spectrum for the definition of rape to me.

4 thoughts on ““I wasn’t raped but…” class discussion

  1. Sumo: I think there are many ways to approach the definition of rape. I think there is a legal definition (which both Talks with S and upluto expound upon in their posts) and from what they found, those definitions have grown and changed over time. Then I think there is also a personal definition, which is what I think Gavey was getting at. I am less unhappy with her comparison/metaphor of depression. I think there are people out there who are clinically depressed, that is, they meet the medical requirements as laid out in the DSM but they don’t identify themselves as depressed.

    I think we talked about this in regards to sexuality as well (way back at the beginning of the semester). Some folks are in same sex relationships, have children together who call both of them “mom” or “dad” but they don’t self-identify as lesbian or gay.

    I must have seen these questions brewing in your brain yesterday in class and that is why I kept on calling on you when you weren’t really raising your hand.

  2. I read Talks with S and upluto’s blog and see that there are laws that describe rape as well as personal definitions. It seems like many women will not identify as a rape victim, but meet the criteria for a rape victim when the wording of the question has changed- as mentioned in Gavey’s article. I don’t understand why you would want someone to believe they have been raped if they personally don’t think they have. Realizing they have been raped bring more negatives (restrict their lifestyle, increased anxiety, etc) than the positives (learning to say no).

    • Sumo: I understand your confusion about this but I think some might thing that folks who don’t identify what happened as sexual assault or rape (when legally it was) might be in denial and therefore when they finally do come to terms with it (if they ever do) it will be REALLY HARD to handle. At the same time others may truly just not see it that way. It’s rocky terrain to travel.

      • I have to agree with Dr. Troka, a person coming to terms will inevitably suffer a great with the realization of being a victim of sexual assault or rape. The thing is that when a person is in denial of such an instance, he or she can ultimately become self destructive in terms of him/herself and the relationships around. Unfortunately, in these instances, the person may not be aware of these destructive actions. For example, a rape or sexual assault victim may not identify as a victim (thus being in denial) and may appear perfectly fine, but this type of situation can potentially lead to more confusion, hurt and misdirected emotions once that person enters into a new relationship. I fully believe it is important, no matter how difficult it is and how bad it hurts, to get help to remedy denial in order to pursue a full and happy life.

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