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.

 

 

 

I Was Gang-Raped by MetLife Employees: Another Open Letter to the People of Earth

Dear Earthling,

I think you should know that I was gang-raped by roughly a dozen employees of the so-called Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, a.k.a. MetLife, my former employer.

I’m guessing you’ll find it super important that I’m using the term gang-rape here in a purely figurative sense. I too would have thought as much, back before I got gang-raped, and especially before I spent months obsessing about the ordeal and trying to figure out what to do about it. But I have recently reached the other side of all that insanity, and I’m happy to announce that when considered from this new perspective, the real differences between literal and figurative gang-rape are simply not such a big deal.

Please don’t misunderstand me here. Of course an old-school gang-rape in the literal sense could be and even most often is worse — even much, much worse. But I can easily imagine cases in which the rapists might take extreme precautions against physical injury, disease, and pregnancy (perhaps by using gloved and lubricated fingers to gently rape a man’s anus) , which would in no sense change the fundamental nature of the crime, nor mitigate the ensuing psychological consequences. To my view, such a physically gentle, injury- , disease- and pregnancy-free crime would be no less a gang-rape than, say, the infamous football-team-beneath-the-bleachers variety.

In my own case, the perpetrators indeed took extreme measures to prevent physical injury, disease, and pregnancy — but I really couldn’t care less about any of that. These individuals nevertheless gang-raped me, in my opinion (for now, at least, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that might change my mind). Much of what I have written in this blog documents my sincere and enthusiastic attempts to find some other way to describe the experience[1], but after months of trying, I have utterly failed to find any other way to put it that doesn’t cause a serious misunderstanding between me and anyone I might wish to tell: you, for example.

Please know that I am fully prepared to endure and respond effectively to any skepticism or objections you or anyone else may have with respect to what I’m claiming here. Especially if you are one of the perpetrators, or a MetLife employee or officer, or a member of the company’s governing board, or a stockholder, or really anybody at all with a stake big or small in denying what these MetLife employees did to me, I am ready for all of you. So please, don’t be shy about expressing yourself or sharing your thoughts and concerns with me.

Finally, as a rule, no matter who we are, no matter what problems we have or ordeals we endure, somewhere out there someone else has it worse — much worse. I am quite certain, for example, that you in particular, whoever you are, at some point in your life, were quite possibly really gang-raped in a way that by comparison makes my own ordeal look like a nice back massage.

If you are such a gang-rape survivor, or indeed anybody else who has had a rougher go of things than I have in Life, and this due to any reason at all; please know that any advantages afforded me by my obviously much lower martyr-status — for example, those resources (financial or otherwise) that I have come to control by virtue of the fact that I am a college-educated white man of middle-class upbringing living in a world that was mostly designed by and expressly built for guys like me (or at least, the ones who aren’t autistic) — I wish to assure you that I am wholeheartedly committed to applying those advantages to the task of making the world safer for you and for everyone that matters to you.

If you have any suggestions for how best to do that, I would love to know about them.

Thanks for reading this.

Sincerely,

The Walrus


[1] For an example of such an attempt and general overview of the events in question, see An Open Letter to A Certain EEOC Deputy District Director.