As you may/may not know, Cosmo has a “tell your story to cosmo!” which is asking women if they’ve ever had the experience where they may/may not’ve been raped…a term they’ve coined “gray rape.”
So here’s mine. Please do your part and write your own letters to email@example.com
also, Shakespeare’s Sister has a good blog entry about this so called gray rape. check it out, peeps.
As a women’s magazine you should know that one thing women share—regardless of age, sexual orientation or class, is fear. Like it or not, fear is our constant companion. We don’t have to be walking outside walking home late at night to find ourselves confronted by this—we can be at home and the doorbell rings late at night.
Women are told to be safe, walk in groups and carry mace in case we’re attacked by an attacker/rapist.
The danger isn’t always in the unknown, however. Surely you know the term ‘date rape’? Just because we know the person, does not make us automatically safe. If sex is not consensual, then it is rape. If a woman does not want to have sex, but the guy forces her to then it is rape. If her judgment is impaired because he has bought her several alcoholic drinks and she can’t think straight, there’s no consent, therefore it is rape. Sex requires two consensual adults, and where there isn’t consent, there isn’t sex. And it is not ‘gray rape’ either.
The consequences of having been raped are very real and there is no in between. saying something like ‘gray rape’ implies that there is fault on the woman—she was a tease, she wore clothing that meant she would end up in a cheap motel on a bed she doesn’t want to be in with a man she doesn’t want to be with. There is no ‘gray rape.’
I know someone who was in a very real situation of what you say is ‘gray rape.’
It was not gray.
It was rape.
She wanted justice.
But she got none.
Why? because of lack of evidence. Because they’d been drinking.
If you want evidence, you need only to look at the way she felt after the fact—the way any woman feels after being sexually used.
Yes, we live in a culture where hookups happen, and they happen a lot. One only needs to look at the behavior of women in shows like Sex & the City or even the L Word.
Yes, hookups happen. But the difference between a hookup and rape is the factor of consent. If I meet up with a guy and decide to take him home with me and we decide to ‘hookup’ then that is that. I may regret it afterward, but the fact that I consented and he consented makes it a valid hookup. If I go with a guy to his house drunk and unaware of what is really happening around me, and he proceeds to have his way with me despite my slurred protests, then that is rape.
There is a very definite rape culture within our society. Women, despite being the victims, are often seen in a way to make them guilty. Rape is one of the few cases where the victim is guilty until proven innocent. If a woman dresses skimpily, if she is not a pure, untouched virgin, or has a career in sex work, her character is already in question and her case is in jeopardy. For you see, if a woman has such a background, clearly it must be her fault, right?
In addition, it’s interesting to note that there are more animal shelters than women’s shelters. Such a fact is glaringly obvious when you note the outcry that has come over the Michael Vick case. The public is outraged at his abuse of dogs. But if a woman is abused and murdered, where is the public then?
Naomi Wolf, in The Beauty Myth, discusses how media and representations of rape have made rape seem like a natural course of events. rape fantasies are practically encouraged as the showing male:dominance/female:submission. She notes that in such a culture, it may become normal for boys to rape girls, because—well—that’s just the way things go.
She mentions the jogger that was battered and raped by 5 NY teenagers and the questions that came after: was it because of her race? Was it because of her class? No one wondered at the fact that it happened because of how normal violence against women has become.
While there are plenty of things to add to this letter, I will stop here. I am sure you will receive many other letters, many of them more eloquent than this, all amounting to the same thing.
Beware of the terms you use and the meaning they have behind them. think carefully before you try to coin a term such as ‘gray rape’. As I’ve mentioned, rape is a very real thing and there is no gray to being raped. A woman raped, knows it—even if she’s told by her friends/the rapist/or the jury—that she wasn’t. even if her social conscious is telling herself that she wasn’t raped—she knows it somewhere deep down.
The Beauty Myth—Naomi Wolf
Thank you for your time.