If you read my post about the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s removal of an ad that upset a lot of folks because it showed a young woman’s legs sprawled on what appeared to be a bathrooms tiled floor with the words that suggested that when you are drunk you can’t say ‘no’. People who objected were upset that it made the victim look as if she was responsible if she couldn’t say no!
Well, I mentioned that rape in PA is still defined as forcible penetration often combined with weapons or some object that would threaten the female. There is also a qualification for an adult who abuses a child- it has to be someone more than 4 years older than the victim and not married to them! I was horrified that rape had to fit into certain categories in order to be considered a rape!
Therefore it was very pleasing to me to read that the FBI has decided to update it’s own definition of rape. They are removing the word ‘forcible’ which means that a rape will be recognized even if the victim hasn’t been threatened with being beaten to a pulp first, or even if no weapon was held to them! I know it seems outrageous, but in courts if it couldn’t be proved that the victim thought she was in immediate danger then it wasn’t rape. Now thanks to some people who saw the problem it is being fixed.
It will also include language that will make it clear that oral penetration or penetration by things other than a sexual organ are also rape! I’m shocked that there was ever a problem seeing those things as anything other than rape, but there apparently was!
PA still will continue to operate under it’s own laws, and that is certainly reasonable, but I do hope that the changes at the national level will impel changes at the state level.
It’s bad enough to be raped. It’s worse when you feel like you can’t go to authorities because you aren’t sure what happened to you fits the legal definition.
I’m not talking here as someone who has no knowledge of this. In my situation, believe it or not, I had two attacks. And I was so incredibly stupid that I thought that if it happened once it couldn’t happen again. I am not talking about karma, or magical thinking here. I am saying I thought that once you were “a woman” or hell, let’s be frank- I thought if you were popped you were legal for anyone to abuse!
The second time I was physically abused, it was by a police officer. I still remember the gun and the bedroom and his knife scar. That time there was no forced penetration because I literally lost my mind and started screaming and crying. I can’t remember any words. I just remember seeing the fright on the officer’s face as he bundled me into his car to take me home berating me the whole time for being such a baby.
I didn’t know you could call the police on the police.
At first, I worried about sharing this. Afterall, I’m sure my story is common. Why do I insist on retelling it? Why do I have to torture myself with those images? Why do I have to feel my heart racing when I think about it? Ugh, Why don’t I just get over it?!
Then, as if there is a kinder much more mature version of my self I mentally declare that it’s okay for me to talk about my own experience. It’s okay to identify myself by my wounds. And if by sharing it helps one other person then I’m glad to do it. It’s my truth. My experiences have made me who I am. Sometimes I’m brave and sure and then other times I’m really afraid. But almost all of the time I won’t be quieted if I feel something is wrong.
It’s how I roll!