The following subject matter is of a sensitive nature. If you are not comfortable reading about matters touching on physical and sexual violence against women, then I would suggest that you do not proceed. However, I feel it is my duty, not just as an aspiring journalist, but also as a woman, to bring lay this out on the table and discuss it openly.
It’s always fascinating how such a small word can encompass such a large meaning. I suppose it is more unnerving than fascinating, especially when we consider the link between the word and the actions associated with it.
The definition given by the dictionary is nowhere near accurate enough to describe what exactly takes place before, during and after a woman is raped, and the kind of residual psychological scarring it leaves behind. Most dictionaries define it along the lines of “the unwilling participation in the act of sexual intercourse”. This gives only a very basic understanding of what rape is.
The reason I bring up this subject – there is always a method to my madness – is because of the most reason news story that has surfaced, addressing a gang rape that took place in New Delhi. The woman, who was only 23 years old, died this past week from the injuries that she sustained from the incident.
This is by no means the first time, nor will it be the last time, that something of this magnitude will occur. It is becoming more and more difficult to find places where women know they will be safe. People take public transportation everyday, thinking that nothing could possibly happen between the point of departure and the point of arrival. I myself take the buses in Ottawa every now and again, usually when I am visiting a friend who happens to live just out of walking distance. Never once have I thought, when stepping onto those buses, that a group of guys with ill intent might be sitting in one of those seats.
This instance took place all the way over in New Delhi, but this is an issue that affects women universally. I suppose I should mention that women are not the only ones who can be raped. Although much more unlikely and not usually made public, men can and have been subjugated to rape situations. Unfortunately, most of the male rape crimes tend to be treated lightly, or are interpreted as being some other act of violence. It also doesn’t help that men rarely come forward to talk about what was done to them. What’s more, women are most frequently the victims of rape, and the person instigating the action is usually a male, which makes it difficult to show sympathy for their plight.
Still, whether a person is male or female, an adult or a child, rape can happen to everyone, and it is not an issue to be taken lightly.
I found this video on YouTube, which reveals just to what extent any kind of physical, mental, or sexual abuse can have on someone’s life.
When I heard Richard Murdock, a politician from Indianna, say that ” even when life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen”, I felt like he had slapped every woman around the world who had ever been raped. I myself am a religious person, but I have never for one second believed that God intended anyone to undergo such a traumatic experience. It got even worse when Todd Akin tried to convince people that women could not get pregnant when they have been “legitimately raped”! This wasn’t even a new idea that he came up with. Men, for a long time, believed that rape could not lead to pregnancy, thinking that there was some kind of biological mechanism that prevented this from occurring. This view is terribly misguided. Women can get pregnant from any kind of sexual intercourse, whether it be consented upon or not.
There are many services available to help the victims of rape or any other kind of physical abuse, the following only to name a couple:
The more people speak up about an issue, the more can be done to prevent it from happening to anyone else. Rape is nothing to joke about.
If you have any comments, questions or concerns, feel free to write them down in the comments.