Rape is rape. Whether you are attacked and beaten by a stranger in your home, or you are hooking up with someone you know on his sofa and decide you don’t want it to go any further and he forces himself on you anyway or if you are running on a secluded path and get pulled into the bushes and attacked – if the attacker forces you to have sex without your consent, it’s rape. It’s also rape when the victim is a prostitute.
In a recent Sun Times article “Rape case sends mixed messages on prostitution,” Mary Mitchell writes that “a recent case involving a prostitue and a john is making a mockery of rape victims.” She also goes on to say that “It’s tough to see this unidentified prostitute as a victim.” I agree whole heartedly that if you agree to meet a man you don’t know for sex, you are putting yourself at risk for harm. But just because there is an acknowledged risk does not mean that the rape is less valid.
According to the FBI, the definition of rape is: “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” Without consent of the victim.
If the victim is a prostitute, is held at gunpoint and does NOT give her consent, and the alleged assailant forces her to have sex, it’s rape. If a drunk girl goes back to a boy’s college dorm with the intent to have sex and at the last minute says ‘no,’ and he forces himself on and in her, it’s rape. If I go for a run on a secluded path, at night, wearing a sports bra and spandex shorts and I get pulled to the side and forced to have sex against my consent, it’s rape.
Mitchell goes on to describe the recent, tragic rape of a Willowbrook woman who was repeatedly stabbed and was violently beaten and raped by a man who broke into her home. “Earlier this month, we saw what a rape victim looks like.” What a rape victim looks like? What a rape victim looks LIKE? A rape victim looks like the Willowbrook woman, looks like me, like you, like your son, your daughter, like ANYONE who is forced to have penetrative sex against his or her will.
Differentiating what a rape victim “looks like” is a blatant disregard to all victims of rape and a sad, tell-tale sign of the rape culture we live in. Rape is rape. Always.
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