Wednesday, August 24, 2016

There's No Perfect Rape

Amy Schumer gets points for using her comedy to not just make us laugh, but to make us think about really important issues!

Entertainment Weekly reports that in promoting her now book, she sat for an interview with Howard Stern and discussed the effects of losing her virginity when she was raped by her then boyfriend as she slept. This type of rape doesn't fit our image of 'what rape is'.  There was no masked stranger jumping from the bushes rape. There was no screaming and struggling in fear for her life. It's not what we imagine rape to be... but it's what rape is, more often than not.
She knew him well and trusted him
Most rape victims know their assailant. (According to a 2011 CDC study less than 14% of rapes are perpetrated by a stranger.) 
She didn't report the rape to the police
The majority of rapes are not reported to the police. According to the Bureau of justice Statistics only 36 percent of rapes, 34 percent of attempted rapes, and 26 percent of sexual assaults are reported.

She didn't behave as we would expect
The rape didn't immediately end the relationship. She stayed with him and even reassured him when he expressed remorse. Many rape victims initially deny to themselves that they were assaulted. Many don't disclose the rape to anyone immediately, or for decades. The reasons are as diverse as rape victims: shock and disbelief that someone they know and trusted could do this to them, shame, fear of being judged. And they've got good reason. Our society  often questions and judges the actions of the rape victim even more than those of the assailant. What was she wearing? Had she been drinking? Did she send mixed messages, e.g., agree to kissing but not sex? Did she protest loudly enough or fight him off? Society's response to rape influences how victims respond. For example, an American Medical Association study  reports that more than half of 6000 teens studied believed rape is acceptable, if the male and female had dated six months or longer or if he'd spent considerable money on her.

Is it any wonder why victims don't report rapes?
Rape is an all too common crime. Victims behaviors don't cause rape; rapes are caused by a decision to engage in nonconsensual sex. RAINN surveyed the activities of victims when they were raped:
  • 48% were sleeping, or performing another activity at home
  • 29% were traveling to and from work or school, or traveling to shop or run errands
  • 12% were working
  • 7% were attending school
  • 5% were doing an unknown or other activity
Just because a rape is what Schumer jokingly refers to a  as a "grape", i.e., gray area rape, doesn't diminish the violation the victim feels. In fact, being sexually assaulted by your best friend, a family member, or a trusted co-worker can leave a greater sense of betrayal than a complete stranger.  Schumer confided that her "[the rape] messed me up... "my trust issues are terrible." With comedy, compassion and candor, she challenges our judgments about sexual assault victims, using her own life experience as a launching point for conversation about a taboo topic. "I think it's important to talk about because it's made me feel less alone when other women have come forward about being sexually assaulted," Schumer told Stern. "And also because it's not this perfect rape. People want you to have been raped perfectly, and they want you to be a perfect victim."

Schumer has used her considerable comedic voice as a forum to transcend the victimization and to help others. We don't all have that option or her frankly her courage. If you or someone you know has experienced a sexual assault, whether recent or in the past, call us. We know there's no such thing as a 'perfect rape'.

Office 518-583-0280
24/7 Hotline 518-584-8188

For more information about consent and how to talk about it visit our consent webpage

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