So, if it’s not rape, then what is it?
Rape is always depicted as an act of violence….but what if it is not so overt? What if it is “don’t be such a ninny”? And “It will only hurt if you are tense.”
What if the rape is anal sex under duress? What if the only way you can endure it is to drink several shots of scotch so the your senses are blurred? What if you can see the sign of the imminent act in the eyes and words of your spouse of more than two decades? What if you beg him to stop when it is so painful that you want to scream but are scared of waking your children nearby? What if you know that for the next two days you will have loose bowels because he prefers to come inside you, without a condom? That what was once a silly moment of experimentation, early in your marriage, is now a regular “ritual”, where he proves how ‘liberated’ he is?
It can happen anywhere, any time. When you go on an overseas holiday, and he’s looking for a suitable lubricant because he feels like “fucking you in the ass”. The lubricants are back home, 10 000km away, because you didn’t expect he would bring along his “need” to a B&B in Europe. It can happen when he’s been surfing anal porn on your brand-new smartphone “just to see what this thing can do”. Anal porn is all he really looks for.
One day you help him set up his laptop with a photo-viewing app. Little does he realise that it will find every image on it so that you discover just wherever got those ideas from….and why you couldn’t sit properly for a few days. And he dismisses the images as being in the cause of exploration.
Until one day you know that the pain of regular anal assault is not just your own self being a “prude”, but the act of a man who doesn’t give a shit that this is torture…and not an act of love.
And the saddest thing? If he hadn’t been so forceful and unyielding, he would have discovered an incredibly sensual woman, with a wonderfully, wickedly erotic mind, who could have taken him to places he never dreamt of…but who eventually gave up and realised that “stop being so prudish” was the sign of an arrogant mind…
Rape comes in many shapes and colours..
If you are rape survivor and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence‘ helpline at 0800 150 150.
Note: Rape myths abound after the Vavi rape accusation was brought to light. These myths hurt all rape survivors – and if you ever experience sexual violence, these myths will hurt you too. The most common myth I’ve seen is the fallacy that if you don’t report to the police, it didn’t happen. (See here.) I put out a call on Twitter for survivors who didn’t report to send me their story. To follow the series, see here.
If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please email me: michelle at journoactivist dot com. I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.