I take classes at my local community college as I hope to become a paralegal and one day, a lawyer. There are several excellent professors and I enjoy taking classes from them. However, I want to address one disturbing event that happened in my Evidence class.
My professor was lecturing us on the rules of evidence, which I find incredibly fascinating, but after a tough week of recurring nightmares and flashbacks, this particular class was the last lecture I wanted to hear: Rape Shield Laws and related topics. There was virtually no warning as we launched into the discussion. For the most part, it was unbiased and sensitive towards rape victims. The lecture gradually shifted towards the problems of filing charges against rapists in civil court (where you're entitled to monetary compensation), versus the smarter option of a criminal court.
Now, I understand that there are women out there--a small minority, mind you--that cry rape to get out of prostitution charges (just an example) or simply do it out of malice and greed. But everyone who's been through something like what I have knows that most people that bring charges against their rapist are bravely doing so, to put him behind bars: not for money. With this said, you can understand why the next question from my professor's mouth stunned me beyond words. He began actually joking about being "raped for money" and even asked the class if that was something we would even think of--still cracking jokes. What disgusted me even more is that the class joined in--I had to conceal my anger when someone said "depends on who it is". Upset past the point of saying anything, I stayed silent, but now I know that was a mistake.
Trivializing something as serious as rape through a joke is not only insensitive but inappropriate. As a victim of rape I found some of the professor’s remarks to be callous towards anyone who has experienced what I have--or worse. I was not attacked in an alley by knife or gunpoint; I was not fondled or otherwise sexually assaulted by a family member or raped by a stranger while I was passed out drunk. I am a victim of sexual and psychological abuse, from someone I once considered my boyfriend.
This monster stripped me of my virginity and innocence and denied me any chance of having a normal life. I was raped in public bathrooms, forced to give him oral sex. He made me grab his genitals in public while several members of the general public had turned away. He treated me like nothing more than a sex toy on a leash. I could call him possessive and controlling but that would be a grievous understatement.
Let me ask you the question my professor posed, with a grin on his face, to the students in his evidence class. Would you get raped for money? Put yourself in my shoes: laying half asleep in a soaking wet tent, when all of a sudden, a man so much stronger than you climbs on top of you and attempts to anally rape you. But the horror doesn’t end there: you turn over to stop it and you find this man masturbating over you, and you try to get away, but can’t, trapped there until your attacker reaches orgasm and ejaculates all over your breasts and face, making you swallow his sperm. He makes you swallow every time he forces you to suck on his penis, in fact. Would you go through any of that for money?
For several days I have thought about the subject and how to best write something about it without sounding like I'm ranting and raving, repeating what we all know but forget or disregard. Rape is not a joking matter, and no one should ever joke about the devastating, life-shattering violation that so many women and men endure every year.
When people joke about rape like it is something trivial or something they can exploit in media for entertainment and not education, it makes me feel victimized yet again. I also felt that I was wrong in experiencing those emotions: was I too sensitive or reading into it too much, and by feeling victimized, was I letting my victimization get too far under my skin? After much consideration I realized that this was also a facet of modern culture's view on rape. Do we constantly have to be worried about being viewed as so sensitive and vulnerable, so lacking in strength? We are survivors and warriors, constantly fighting an uphill battle with not only society but our own minds.