A long-ago conversation has been haunting me somewhat of late. One of my friends had gotten into a rather heated argument with a woman who, although never having been through it, thought being raped was the absolute worst thing that could ever happen to a woman.
“No, it’s not!” I said, incredulous. “It’s horrible, yeah, but I can think of worse things. Being murdered, death of a child…”
And, since I’m a rape survivor, my friend thought I’d be a good counter-authority if she ever broached the topic again.
But here’s the thing I didn’t quite grasp in those days: I am one data point, not the World’s Authority. Yes, it’s true: while I think rape is one of the worst, but not the worst, crimes that can be committed against a woman (or any human of any sex or gender, not to mention any sentient creature), I’m just one survivor. I don’t speak for us all. Just because I can think of things that, to me, would be worse than rape doesn’t mean rape isn’t the absolute worst thing that might happen to someone else. It doesn’t mean those who think it is the worst are wrong or irrational for thinking so.
You cannot use me as a shield against their points. You can’t use me as your sword to strike them down.
Take it further. [Read more…]