Trigger warning: this post contains descriptions of the aftermath of a fictional rape – there are no descriptions of a rape event.
The aftermath of rape is different for every victim. I don’t want the anger I am feeling at present to lead me to generalisations. I do not know how I would behave because I have not been raped. On this occasion, I cannot write from experience. I don’t want anyone to read this and believe I am making light of their experiences to make a political point. I am trying extremely hard not to do so, while also trying to release the feelings that have been building up in me over the last week. This isn’t the first time I have spoken of my disgust with the hypocrisy some of those on the left show when turning a blind eye to the unadmirable actions of those they admire before. Sadly I suspect it will not be the last.
The events I allude to in this post clearly centre around the Asaange case. In the interests of balance & justice, it is important to note that no charges have yet been made in this case.
What would happen if I were raped by a man of the left? That’s not a question I’ve ever felt the need to ask myself before this last week. Now, it’s a question that is haunting me.
What if the man who raped me had done great things? If were an incredible orator, a superb thinker and writer? A man by far my intellectual superior? A man whose achievements in life I could not hope to equal. A man who was put on a pedestal by many of those whom I myself admired.
Would I feel any less violated? Would he be any less guilty of violating me? Would I be any less raped? Would he be any less a rapist? NO! NO! NO! NO!
But after what I have seen this week. I believe that if I were to suffer such an attack, there would be those who believe themselves to be my comrade in the fight for equality who would seek to deny me justice, to denigrate my claim, to make me not just the victim but the perpetrator of a greater crime. They would name and shame me. They would show how I have been open in my past about my sexuality, about my sexual history and about my feminism and championing of women’s rights as trumping religious and cultural customs as if they had any bearing on the case. As if my sex life had any bearing on my rape life.
Key “left-leaning” newspapers might hire one of my rapists greatest champions to make his case over and over again. Leading feminists will argue that I can’t have my justice because that isn’t what the case is really about. If I am lucky enough to see the police pursue justice to the fullest of their ability, my fellow feminists – both female and male, despite being largely supportive, will publicly voice their discomfort at the lengths being taken to achieve justice. Will argue that this pursuit of justice is not about my rape, but about my rapist’s politics. Robbing me further of my power and bolstering his once again. And there will be those who either deny my claim outright or who belittle the importance of my experience next to the importance of their great man and his great cause. Some will trample all over my rights in their commitment to their champion.
I know too that the vast majority will not be like this. That there will be many hundreds and thousands who do believe in my right to justice. Too many to link to every one. The left, of which I remain a proud part, have not been shouted down by their small malignant minority.
But, just as it is not when the innocent are put to death but when the terrible are that you find out how you really feel about the death penalty., it is not when a villain commits rape that we find out how women’s rights have advanced but when it is a hero who stands accused.
The sad, terrible and shocking truth is that there are parts of the left who have been exposed in this last week, not as champions of equality, but as defenders of a patriarchal hegemony that denies women politically inconvenient sexual equality. And I now know, with a sad and shocked certainty, that were I to be a victim in these circumstances, my rape would be denied and dismissed by those who DARE to call themselves my fellow champions for equality.
You are not. You will never be. You have bankrupted your right to call yourselves fighters for equality.