Rape Is Not Really About Sex: The Rape Spectrum

I’d always heard that rape is not really about sex; it’s about power. But one thing I’ve learned from relentlessly studying my own experience being gang-raped last year, is that rape need not actually involve any physical violence, necessarily, nor even any sort of physical contact at all. If you’ve never actually been raped yourself, this is probably going to sound completely nuts indeed, but it’s actually possible to rape someone merely by looking at them.

If this sounds impossible to you I would guess that it’s because you are misinformed about rape in the same way that autism researchers used to be misinformed about autism, because they didn’t realize that autism is best conceptualized as a spectrum of disorders, with great variability being observed across the entire population of autistic people, and all of these blending more or less seamlessly into the general population.

I suspect rape is like that — best conceptualized as a spectrum, with some cases of rape being perhaps more obviously examples of rape than others, but all of them recognizable as rape nonetheless — most especially by the survivors.

 

 

 

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