Disclosure in arguments

[cn: that’s disclosure as in disclosure of rape]

[This is not a response to anything I’ve seen recently.  In fact, it’s a repost of something I posted to Tumblr a while ago.]

I feel like I’ve seen a lot of arguments, where things escalate, and then one person says that they are a victim of rape.  It’s basically a way of saying that they speak with some authority on the topic of discussion.  And then the person on the other side says they, too, are a victim of rape.  And somehow this doesn’t magically clear up any disagreement or stop people from yelling at each other.

The sad fact is that rape is terribly common, especially among women, queer people, and POC, and especially intersections thereof.  In queer spaces, any given argument is relatively likely to be between two people who have each been victimized in some way.

In that light, the argument pattern seems kind of pathological.  If you ever get into a heated argument, is that really the time that you want to disclose your victim/survivor status, and to the very person who is giving you a hard time?  And it could be that all you accomplish is forcing your opponent to disclose too, causing everybody to lose.

I mean, not everybody has been a victim of rape or sexual violence, and sometimes it’s useful to know who is speaking from personal experience and who is just talking out their ass.  But there are also many other people who cannot disclose:

-People who were victimized but haven’t admitted it to themselves yet
-People who were victimized but aren’t ready to say so in public
-People who were victimized but aren’t ready to say so to their sworn opponents
-People who had some experience that they don’t know how to categorize

I don’t know, I’m not telling anybody else what to do.  But in my personal MO, I prefer to avoid disclosure, allowing my opponents to do the same.


  1. tecolata says

    People who were victimized but told so many times they were making it up and besides it’s their fault they just decided to shut up.

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