Live Through This

Mermaid_WEB_schulnik-383x458There are a few controversial pieces this week about rape. First, in reddit is a post from someone who claims to have been a serial rapist and a discussion that follows. (Warning: needless to say, it's disturbing. He seems to be a sociopath who claims to have now somehow managed to keep his sociopathology at bay.) Second is this piece in New Inquiry by Charlotte Shane (which has some graphic descriptions of rape):

In our society, we recognize this as rape, an act of violence that in all its permutations (date, stranger, violent, anal, oral, gang) is understood to be the worst thing that can happen to a woman — worse than a serious car accident, worse than a protracted divorce, worse than the death of a parent. It is regularly equated with being murdered. It is life-shattering. It is soul-destroying. If you are a woman, you can never move past your rape; you can only “learn” to live with it, as though it is akin to abrupt blindness or a paralyzed limb. If it does not ruin you, it will at the very least change you forever for the worse. This is the only allowable truth about rape. There are no alternatives.

In my eight years as a sex worker, I’ve been sexually mistreated a relatively small number of times. For instance, I’ve been held down and penetrated without a condom twice, once vaginally and once anally, by separate men. The first was over so quickly that I was too shocked to have much of a reaction. He pulled out to ejaculate after maybe six rabbit fast strokes. It wasn’t painful. At that time I was providing so-called sensual massage, which means there was no implicit agreement for anything beyond a hand job. I was 22.

After he left, I gradually became furious. What I most wanted was not for him to serve jail time or face some retributive physical assault; what I wanted was the chance to berate him, to tear him down verbally for deciding he could use me, another human being, however he wanted and without consequence — ultimately, an accurate assessment on his part. I wanted to make him feel ashamed.

Then I mostly forgot about it. I didn’t quit my job. I didn’t stop enjoying sex.