Fearing Rape More Than Death

Death is said to be the greatest fear of the average person. I must not be average, then, because if someone held a gun to my head and tried to rape me, I would gladly take the bullet. Growing up, one of the nuggets of wisdom I received was to relax during a rape. If you fight back, you could die. If you just let it happen, you’ll live. That’s what’s most important, right? Well, I feel like that would work as well as ignoring my bullies worked. It wouldn’t.

Chapter TK - They say death is the #1 fear, but I find rape scares me even more.

Of course, I have no real idea what I’m talking about. I know rape most commonly happens without the involvement of drunks, during the day time, by someone close to the victim and at a location near the victims home. I know 1 in 4 women in America will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime and 1 in 6 will be the victim of attempted or completed rape. I also know that 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime and 1 in 33 will be the victims of attempted or completed rape. What those numbers fail to tell me is how to survive rape. They don’t tell me if fighting back against one’s rapist increases your chances for survival. They don’t tell me if trying to relax and suffer through a rape makes the case of rape harder to prosecute in a court of law (although, let’s be honest, rape is already incredibly hard to prosecute).

I admit, saying I’d rather die than be raped is probably an ignorant statement. I have friend who were raped and, if asked, I’m sure they’d say they are happy to be alive. When it comes to something as devastating as rape, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to ask questions. The women I know who were raped never tried their rapist in a court of law. I never asked if they fought back or not.

Someone reading this is already questioning the credibility of my friends stories because they didn’t seek legal action against their rapist. That could fill many blog posts, but let me leave it at this. When your rapist is a boyfriend, whom you still love, what jury would believe you? If you are sexually active, especially if you have consented to sexual activity with your rapist in the past, what jury would believe you? If you followed the advice in the text books (I went to Catholic school. I know about ‘second virginity’ and I read the section on trying to relax and suffer through for your own survival instead of fighting back),  what jury would believe you? There are many reasons why victims don’t prosecute their rapist. I’m not going to say I agree with those decisions all the time, but that’s simply not my decision to make.

Perhaps my desire to choose death over rape is my overly dramatic way of saying I would fight back. Threatened with any weapon, I would fight back. If I fight back and die, no one will question my rapist and murderer was anything but wrong. What a girl is wearing has been used as an excuse for rape, but I’ve never heard someone try to argue a person deserved to be murdered because they showed too much skin. The other option, though, is that I live. I live with the scars and wounds of my struggle, making it much harder (but unfortunately not impossible) for someone to claim I ‘wanted it.’

Fighting back also holds the possibility of victory, of escaping my would-be rapist before they rape me. Nothing else but fighting back carries that possibility. That, more than anything else is why I hold this opinion. I’d much rather fight back with all my might, knowing I did everything I could to save myself, than give in and wonder if I someone secretly did want it.

I would actually really like to see some numbers comparing rape (or attempted rape) victims who fought back versus those who didn’t. Does fighting back increase your chances of dying or does it increase your chances of escaping. Does trying to suffering through it for your own survival hurt the victim’s case in court?

Without having answers to these questions, who knows what the right course of action is? Maybe someone reading this can tell me if there is any statistically significant difference between people who fight off their rapists and people who don’t. If someone can actually prove to me that fighting back increases your chances of getting killed, maybe I might reconsider. Until then, what little experience I have with power-hungry bullies tells me that fighting back is a far better idea then closing your eyes and suffering through.

Just like on the playground, fighting back doesn’t guarantee you won’t get hurt. It doesn’t guarantee you will be victorious over your bullies. However, suffering through, rolling with the punches, does guarantee you will get punched.

Which do you fear more, death or rape? If someone tried to sexually assault you or rape you, would you fight back? Do you have answers to the questions I ask? Do you think fighting back against a rapist is a better idea than relaxing and suffering through?

Photo Copyright: Novic / 123RF Stock Photo


70 thoughts on “Fearing Rape More Than Death”

  1. Great post. It is always good to read views by someone who is not afraid to touch on subjects often considered taboo for general public consumption.
    I have written an two articles, presented as flash fiction, in my ‘Life in the Warzone’ collection about rape, which do contain some statistics.
    One of these is about corrective rape, the other is about the growing rape crisis in Africa.
    Let me know if you would like to read, or use them as guest pieces on your blog.
    Kind regards, Paul.

    1. Yes, I know about corrective rape. It’s a horrible thing. And, honestly, I was terrified to hit publish on this article, but I did. It needed to be said.

      Now that I think about it, I’m remembering a project I did in college about war rape on males in Africa. Part of the larger problem was the victims had no where to go. Sanctuaries for rape victims are made for women and don’t tend to accept men. Their wives abandoned them because they allegedly lost their masculinity.

      We’d move forward a lot faster on the issue of rape if we removed gender from the discussion. People can rape other people, period.

      Lastly, I am certainly open to guest posts (I should probably put a page up on my blog), but I’d prefer the pieces published on my blog be exclusive to my blog. Let me know if you ever have something!

  2. I think if you get killed, the thing you fear most, rape, will likely happen then. The only people who will know how things played out, will be those conducting the autospy and those receiving the results. What if the media changes the story and said you were raped then killed instead of killed then raped?

    1. I don’t mean this to sound insensitive, but this would be my answer. At least I wasn’t really there during the rape. And if I am watching from some afterlife… well, I’m not sure if I’d care (I mean, if the afterlife is supposed to be happy, would I not be happy?). But, let’s say I stay in the same mindset I have now. I feel like I would feel better about my last moments of life if I fought back. People may change the story, but I’ll never question that I maybe did want it because I never gave in.

      1. I respect that. Your answer shouldn’t change especially if you feel certain about something.

        I know the afterlife is supposed to be something happy but if I get murdered, I would make sure to make the person(s) life a living hell.

  3. I, personally, didn’t fight. It was my boyfriend at the time, and I was young. Rape is rape, yes, but there are different types of violence, if you know what I mean. I am NOT saying that any form of violence is less traumatic. In my case, it wasn’t violence in the sense of a weapon being held against me or being beaten. I was as high as a kite. Now, a guy ATTEMPTED to rape me once. I fought him as much as my alcohol induced haze allowed me. I got lucky. Someone walking past called the cops.
    Do I fear rape? I fear the loss of control, not the act itself. Do I fear death? Not really. Or maybe I’m deluding myself.

    1. There’s always a lot o context surrounding rape, which probably contributes to how hard it is to prosecute. I doubt most rapes involve a victim being beaten in anyway.

      In either case, that loss of control probably is the most terrifying. We’re supposed to have control over our own bodies. To have that taken is dehumanizing.

  4. This is a wonderfully thoughtful analysis, and very timely. A young friend of mine just went through an attempted rape. She managed to fight off her attacker but she is traumatized. When she went to the police, they tried to discourage her from pursuing the matter. When she contacted her country’s consulate, they took the matter lightly because in the end “nothing really happened.” Meanwhile she is suffering physically and mentally, like so many other victims around the world, and at a loss as to where to go from here. Should she tell her story to the press? Should she stick around to appear as a witness for the prosecution (the perpetrator is free on bail) or fly home at once? I did not know what advice to give her, except to seek counseling as soon as possible…
    Why do we continue to put up with this and what can we do to stop it?

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend! Just like someone can be tried for attempted murder (even though “nothing really happened”) a person should also be tried for attempted rape. It’s just crazy. Nothing infuriates me more than people who take this issue lightly, or who try to blame it on what the victim was wearing or doing. If I walk down the streets naked at midnight, I’m still not asking to be raped. No one deserves that.

      1. I’m amazed that our country is still so, to use what I believe to be the most accurate descriptor, retarded, that female toplessness is still illegal in most contexts. We need to call these attitudes what they are: primitive.

  5. A brave, thought-provoking post… I think many women don’t report rape because going to court is still such a traumatic business. And if it occurs within a domestic situation, I think there is always the fear that no one is going to take you seriously if you complain of being raped by your husband or boyfriend. I, too, would like to know the statistics of how women fared if they fought back versus those who gritted their teeth and just waited for it to be over. And how they felt afterwards… I suspect, again, it depends on context. Being gang-raped by soldiers in Africa would probably get you killed if you struggled too much…
    And why should you die? Rape was always considered a taboo because it was bound up with women as property – we were considered ‘sullied’ and ‘soiled’, which is a very patriarchial attitude. Both women and men who have suffered such an assault should know they are precious and wonderful and worth so much more than to be defined by a particular terrible experience, whether it was a one-off, or abuse that stretched over a period of years. The person who is truly soiled is the perpetrator.

    1. I think the idea that women are not property is still new to our society. A lot of women place their whole worth on their virginity. A common expression said to me growing up was “why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that statement reduced my worth to a cow whose only use is in what their body can provide. How crazy is that? We’ll have to mover far beyond the idea a women is somehow useless or “deflowered” once she’s had sex for women to have less fear of the experience.

  6. What happened to me, happened when I was very young. I felt dirty afterwards for a long time, although violence was threatened, my only injuries were done to my spirit. I don’t hate him anymore, but I thought about it for a long time afterwards. I made peace with the abuse, and long ago accepted that it wasn’t my fault. It was, in the scheme of things, a lower case incident in comparision to what others go through. Still, it stays with you.

    That said, I know that I am not policed by rape in the same way women are. I can walk in dark, rough places and the most I have to fear is a beating or a knife, and that shouldn’t happen.

    1. I’m glad to hear you’ve made peace. As I said to someone else, I think the whole discussion would improve if we removed gender. If a man says he was raped or sexually assaulted, do we ask what he was wearing? If a women sexually assaults another women, do we say the crime never happened because women can’t rape women? I think more people would feel comfortable stepping forward if it wasn’t a gender thing.

      Maybe, just maybe, that would lead to more criminals being convicted and somehow reduce rapes and assaults. Or maybe I’m just dreaming.

  7. I think it’s not natural to want death or a violation of your body, but it is more natural to want to live than to die. The thought of being raped is an extremely painful one and fighting back does seem sensible to a point, but if I truly felt like the fight was pointless and there were many people holding me down, I would rather get it over with and live. I have survived hardships and while this would be far worse, I would still rather live than die. Just being able to see my child smile again would be enough to make me want to live another day. I feel there is too much to live for that surviving seems like the better option.

    1. I agree in terms of logic, but for many women around the world, their whole worth and livelihood is tied up in their body. If society says they are now worthless because they are “damaged goods,” perhaps they feel death would be a better option.

      1. I’m not sure the survival instinct has much to do with logic. I’m sure there are some very conservative countries where ‘damaged goods’ is a real problem, but here in the US there are plenty of men who don’t think that way

        1. But it is not how girls are told men think about them. Maybe that shouldn’t matter so much, but knowing guys who wouldn’t hold it against you dosen’t stop you from worry about the stigmas imprinted in your mind from a young age.

          And who knows, maybe that instinct would overpower my desire to fight if I did end up in a situation where my life was being threatened unless I gave into rape.

  8. I once read a book by a guy named Gavin DeBecker (sp?) and the book was titled “The Gift of Fear”. It was truly intriguing, but the premise of the book is that women’s intuition is real, and society has sort of put an ixnay on women who “had a feeling”. In other words, our society has made a habit of informing women that their feelings can’t be trusted because they are emotional and emotions can’t be trusted. The author of the book had studies criminal cases involving various types of assault on women, and he said the one thing that always stood out in his mind is how many women mentioned they “had a feeling” they wish they would have trusted.

    I’m also an ex-cop, and used to teach Rape Prevention classes and Women’s Self-Defense courses and in my very limited experience and research, it seems like women that fought back had a much easier time dealing with the aftermath of sexual assaults. Their minds were already geared towards saving themselves. I know there was a time when law enforcement would tell women “Just lay there and take it” because the idea that they would make better witnesses if they were alive was the emphasis. From a personal standpoint, I believe women experience the same emotions being raped as they do being murdered. This comes from the many victims of sexual assault that make statements like, “I felt I was going to die”.

    I know I encourage my own daughter to fight like a friggin dog, if she is ever in a situation like this. I’ve encouraged her to take firearms training. I’ve encouraged her to believe that no one, whatsoever has the right to take any kind of advantage of her. And if she feels the need to kill a mother-fucker, than she should do it! (I’m sorry, do I sound a little passionate about this?)

    1. Not at all. 😉 I too have had this talk with my daughter, several times, but in the end…….nothing trumps that NOBODY deserves it, asks for it or “wants” it. Zero, never let someone tell you that! EVER!!

    2. That is one other big reason to fight back. To lay there and take it would feel like giving up. When I was young, I was badly bullied. The adults in my life told me to ignore them… so I did. But they didn’t stop. Feeling like I had no other alternative than to suffer through, I numbed my emotions. I spent many years of my childhood quite literally feeling nothing. Once I was past those years of my life, it became a problem. It felt like something near death. I can understand why some people cut themselves just to feel alive. When you numb yourself to that extent, you really do start to wonder if you are alive anymore. It’s an odd way to be.

      All this is to say, I feel like I’d have to do the same thing. To give in and suffer through, I would have to numb myself, my mind, my emotions and my body to what was going on. I’m not sure I’d ever really be alive again. Whereas, if I were to fight back, every moment of pain and struggle would be a reminder I was alive and that my life is my own. I feel like, after, it would be easier to move forward.

      1. That’s incredibly insightful. Every year in school I spent deeply depressed was followed by a year in which I just kind of felt half crazy, half blank, but I convinced myself that it was better because I was clearly less emotional. I was sexually harassed by boys in middle school and if I remember correctly, I think I had to tell the administrators multiple times. I felt like they were a bit taken aback by a boy making such a complaint, but in hindsight I’m proud that I knew what to do about it. The main guy was a year older than me and I had never been in a fight in my life. (Still haven’t)

        1. With some of the things that happened to me… well, my parents talked about going to the principal to discuss sexual harassment. I told them not to. The main instigator was the principals daughter. To this day, the very thought is terrifying. Maybe he should have been told, but I still feel like it would have just made things worse.

          I attended a small Catholic school through 8th grade. My parents talked about taking me out it got so bad. They’d send me to the public school instead. At the time, I thought that would just mean there’s be 200 kids to make fun of me instead of 20. I said no. Looking back, I wish I would have said yes.

          Oh well. Can’t change the past.

          1. It may very well have. I had a teacher who seemed to despise me (other kids thought so too), and it was suggested to me that it was because his [adopted] son, who was in my grade, and I didn’t like each other much. The whole school, including the teachers, knew what an obnoxious problem child he was, but it didn’t matter. I was still treated shittily that whole year.

  9. Very good subject, But sad to say this fear is more in a nation from where i belong(India).each and every day some newspaper with rape related news and worst case is that it is more in capital of country .
    Recently a case of cab driver and drunk girl rape case in in news .

    1. That’s terrifying. And cab drivers are probably among those who should be trusted. It’s supposed to be safer to take a cab home than to walk home alone. It really is a world wide problem, but I feel like the causes are often very similar.

  10. Everybody fights back against rape, everyone, without fail. Some fight back physically, some use the legal system, and still more fight back psychologically and emotionally, long after the fact. Even compliance can be a form of fighting back, of living long enough to tell the tale.

    I think it’s a bit sad however that we have come to this place where people now perceive rape as a fate worse then death. You are not alone in that perception, I’ve heard it from young girls recently. Their biggest fear is rape. Bit of gallows humor here from a mom , but rape is really not the worst the world has to offer. Their are so many other horrors far more terrible that one prays their children manage to avoid.

    Rape is something one can recover from, but not just recover from, truly thrive and heal after. There are numerous other horrors that are far more challenging to deal with.

    1. I think the fear extends beyond rape. What does survival mean if half or more of the people you meet don’t believe you. If they say you deserved it. What if your father dosen’t believe you and never looks you in the eye again? Rape can be survived, but all the stigma that comes with it is likely a part of the greater fear.

  11. I personally choose to not live my life in fear of anything. I am well aware of the risks faced by women everyday – particularly in some areas of the globe – and my previous work in the child protection field could lead me to be paranoid and over-protective but I choose to not have my life limited by fear. This, therefore, is not a question I have pondered much. I know that I did fight back when I was in my teens and experienced an attempted assault but it was an absolutely instinctive thing with no thought process behind it. And I rather think that none of us can ever know how we will react in any extreme situation, how the balance between thought processes and instinct will play out, and we cannot, therefore, judge how anyone else responds to their circumstances. Surviving and thriving can also be a way of fighting back.

    What I do offer, by way of my humble opinion, is that people would possibly feel less vulnerable, more empowered, less fearful, if the judicial system with regards to sex crimes was more robust. If victims were receiving the message that it is never their fault, that perpetrators will face justice and appropriate sentences levied, then perhaps that would remove some of the fear.

    1. I completely agree. If we felt like the judicial system was effective at convicting rapist, if we felt like we wouldn’t be blamed for the crime against us, it would be a lot easier to be less afraid of rape.

  12. Three thoughts on the subject:

    1 – Historical:
    In the Middle Ages, Europeans believed you couldn’t get pregnant unless you had an orgasm. In absence of DNA testing, the only way to prove you had been raped was if it resulted in a pregnancy. However, by their own beliefs, that meant that the woman had enjoyed it, thus voiding any claims she had that it was “rape.”

    2 – Responding to your question:
    What your numbers also don’t show is the nature of the terms “sexual assault” and “rape.” These terms are used to describe a wide range of events. A rape where a stranger jumps out of the bushes late at night will look completely different from a boy who roofies a drink at a party, which again will be completely different from a wife refusing consent to her husband. If you want to know whether fighting will improve your chances of survival, I really can’t say, but I would imagine that it all depends on what’s actually happening at the time. I don’t know if these statistics exist, but if they do, you should look up survival rates for domestic rape, date rape, stranger rape, etc.

    3 – Something I’ve always wondered about:
    This topic caught my attention because I’ve known a few girls who seemingly had an obsession with the fear of rape, even when they had never had any evidence of a threat thereof. While I won’t argue that rape is a crime and deserves to be treated as such, I’ve always wondered about people who suggest that it’s worse than murder–after all, violent though it may be, the actual goal of the rapist is not damaging to physical health, whereas murder is. So my question is how did our society bestow this status on rape? If we didn’t pressure women to believe that sex is dirty, that they have to remain “pure,” or that their worth wasn’t tied to chastity, do you think women would still fear rape on par with murder?

    1. …Maybe I should amend something in that statement, because it sounds bad. When I say “the goal of the rapist is not damaging to physical health,” what I mean to say is that consenting adults can have sex without damaging health, whereas, say, consenting adults who agree to a duel, maybe, wouldn’t fare so well. I am aware that there are physical repercussions to rape.

    2. I said this in some other comments, but I think it all comes down to how women feel valued by society. If they feel like they will be viewed as broken, worthless or used up after being raped, they may feel that fate is worth than death. Why live if your life is worthless?

      So to your questions, I say yes. If women weren’t made to feel their ‘pure’ sexuality was a crucial commentate of their worth to society, I don’t think as many women would equal such an assault to murder.

  13. This is my 2c, though obviously you don’t have to believe anything I say… As a Spiritual Being you have the ‘right’ not to be raped. You ALWAYS fight back, because fighting back, in and of itself, is Victory. Whether you live or die, all that matters is that you fought back, because Death is only a transition phase and nothing to fear. In fact, the bottom line is to transcend the fear of physical death. Once that happens for real, the fear of rape will dissipate. I think every woman should be trained in martial arts, so that they can defend themselves in a fight or an attempted rape. Letting go of Fear is the topmost important thing for anyone traveling through Planet Earth.

    1. I think what you say is part of why I say I would fight back no matter the risk. On a spiritual level, to keep on fighting is a victory, regardless.

      1. No problem! It’s well written and rape is a topic that needs to be discussed as often as possible if we are ever going to solve such a societal cancer. I should be thanking you for writing it.

        1. There is so much to say on this subject, too. Just by talking with commenters, I can think of a bunch of other blogs I should write on this subject.

  14. I’m also strongly of the “fight back” persuasion. This goes for any kind of violence committed against me, so long as I think I have a decent chance of winning. For the reasons stated above (not letting the bad guy get away with it, having a fighting chance at NOT being raped, etc.), and others, I can’t really relate to the “just let it happen and survive” train of thought. Those who are the victims of violence will have to live with it…and it’s not pretty. That being said, I’m a man, and I have had extensive martial arts training.

    Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that a woman (physically smaller, with less muscle mass) who has not had such training couldn’t beat a would-be rapist. In fact, there’s some rather good/useful information on the topic, on this site:

    The bottom line, in terms of physical self-defense against rape is this: be EFFECTIVE, or don’t bother. Most rapes occur after, or as a result of inneffective attempts at self-defense–like slapping, pushing, etc. This will only enrage the perpetrator. If you decide to fight back, prepare yourself mentally, and go at it with the intent to send him to the hospital. If that doesn’t sound OK to you, then the only remaining option is to not resist and let it happen. There’s a big cost to being raped, but there’s also a substantial cost to hurting another human being, even in self-defense. It’s best to weigh these options mentally before the need arises, so you’ll be prepared for the consequences of whichever option you choose.

    1. I agree, but I also think it gets complicated real fast. If you have a feeling this guy is about to assault you, but you are in a crowded room or something,kneeing him where it hurts and running my get you in more trouble than a slap. But I agree. Be effective. Go for the places that will bring the person down long enough for you to escape.

      But then, I wonder how many rapes are that violent. Even a man can be taken down and raped with the right mix of drugs. How often is there even a struggle? (again, I don’t know the answer)

      1. Sorry for being all over this thread, I chose the notify option so now I’m getting a ton of emails. But if you don’t mind then I don’t. I’m enjoying this!

        Anyway I was just thinking, we could teach girls that, if they manage to bring him to his knees by kicking his fun (or not so fun) parts, don’t run just because he’s momentarily incapacitated! Take that opportunity to kick him in the side of the head! And if he winds up down on his side, don’t hesitate to STOMP on his head or genitals or whatever!

        Y’all need to be doing like 100 squats a day! You’ll be formidable AND sexy!

        1. I feel like kicking a downed person could be problematic. At what point does self-defense become battery? Surely, if a person is down in such a way that you no longer need to defend yourself, any other use of force would be wrong. At least, that’a what the courts would argue.

        2. I also agree that basic fitness and self-defense for women would be great, but for men, too. I want to see gender taken away from this issue. When I was in college, they created a system to protect women from rape and battery. However, when men walking home alone at night were getting attacked by groups of drunk people – to the point of hospitalization – was a system created for them? No. Men are expected to protect themselves.

          With true equality, we’d create systems so everyone regardless of their gender, could be protected. We’d also teach all people, regardless of their gender, how to properly defend themselves (because no system we create will be perfect)

      2. I think there’s definitely something to be said for “appropriate response.” Merely thinking that a person might assault you warrants getting to where people are, seeking safety, calling 9-1-1, etc. If you throw the first punch (or kick), then it’s YOU assaulting THEM, and not the other way around: they now have a right to defend themselves. I’ve known a few women who think it’s OK to hurt someone on suspicion, alone…and I’m not OK with that. Legally and morally, it’s problematic.

        On the other hand, if a person is actually trying to rape you, RIGHT NOW, then most people would agree that it constitutes a credible threat of “grievous bodily harm,” and therefore justifies lethal force, if necessary. (Consult a lawyer…)

        As for how men are raped: I personally know one man who was raped. He wasn’t drugged, and his assailant was a woman smaller than him. She threatened to cut him with a knife, and convinced him that he deserved it. I think that just convincing someone NOT to fight back is usually enough, and emotional abuse can be very effective at that. If a person is drugged…well, that’s a different matter. There are some good tips for avoiding being drugged at parties and such, on the ‘net, but once you’ve been drugged, you’re pretty much “up a creek.”

        1. That’s the other thing I’m curious about. Rape is more about power than sexual attraction (or, you could say it’s about being sexually attracted to having power over another). It makes sense when you think about it. No man I know is attracted to a person telling them how much they are not attracted to them. I know some men who are seriously concerned about girls they are with ‘faking it.’ They don’t want them to fake anything. All this is to say that I wouldn’t be surprised if most rape cases involve the rapist somehow convincing their victim to not fight back.

          If we teach people to fight back, I’m not sure how much rape would be effected. Those sudden, drunken rapes might be easier to prove, but since those are in the minority of rape cases, maybe it wouldn’t have any real effect on the overall numbers.

          1. It certainly does seem to be about power. Those who rape are sating unmet desires–even if sexual (tired of being single, without sex, whatever)–which they feel that they have no power to satiate. Some surely do it to show dominance, to re-imagine old hurts caused by women in a reverse role (as Ted Bundy did), or such. Either way, though, all rape, by definition, has one thing in common: the other person doesn’t want sex from that person, at that time.

            From that, we can deduce at least two things:
            1) At the moment that a rape commences, the perpetrator isn’t interested whether the other person feels OK, and will proceed, regardless of any signals to stop, so long as s/he is capable of doing so.
            2) An effective self-defense by the soon-to-be victim–one that cripples the perpetrator’s ability to continue his/her assault–will stop the rape.

            Ergo, if these deductions are correct, it would definitely reduce the number of successful rape attempts.

            However, there remains a more salient question: how would the defender prove, later, that s/he had a legitimate reason to inflict great bodily harm upon the attacker?

            For women, I feel that this is largely a non-issue: while people are loath to believe a woman about being raped, they’re conversely eager to believe that the man was the original aggressor, if there exists any physical evidence to support the claim of violence having been done–even if that evidence is the man’s own injuries. I suspect that, so long as the male rapist isn’t killed, the woman would have a good chance of having any charges against her dismissed for reason of self-defense. (If he is, it would likely bring greater cynicism about her character, and make the court case harder to win.)

            What about male would-be victims, though? It’s a favorite tactic of violent offenders of many kinds to call the police and claim that the victim was, in fact, the perpetrator. So, if the woman complains to the responding officers that the man tried to rape her, and has serious injuries on her body, they’ll almost certainly assume that the man was the rapist, even if, in fact, he was only defending himself. As you’ve mentioned in another comment, men rarely have the full protection of the law, when it comes to the prevention of violence; and in this case, effective self-defense would almost certainly land any man a rape, aggrevated assault, battery, and/or attempted murder conviction. If the woman dies as a result of his defending himself–even if she was using a weapon to rape him–then he’ll get a murder conviction.

            I’ve found that, inasmuch as women fear violence by men–with some good reason–men fear being falsely accused by abusive women–with similar good reason. Public perception about gender roles makes a HUGE mess of this dynamic, especially where defense against a female perpetrator is concerned.

            1. I see your last paragraph proven a lot. I once had a man try to claim men being falsely accused by women of rape is a bigger deal than women being raped. This just makes me sad. A better issue would be “What about the 1 and 6 men who will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime? Where is there protection? Where is their hotline? Where is their justice?”

              Inasmuch as rape is about power, a woman can have so much more power over a man knowing the law is on her side. But, I do think that’s changing slightly. I once saw a statistic that claimed 40% of domestic violence cases have the woman as the aggressor. While that is not the same as rape, a society that is slowly starting to accept that may be able to accept that male rape victims are a reality.

              And if we removed gender from the issues you describe, then all would be left up to evidence. We’d have a he-said-she-said, we’d compare each of their injuries to their stories and how to room is laid out. It would all go to court. BUT with gender involved, it almost gives the aggressor more power. In the world we live in, it’s easy for the aggressor to convince their victim the law isn’t on their side, regardless of which gender is which.

              1. I resonate with the sentiment of, “Where is their hotline? Where is their justice?” Once, a friend of mine asked me to call a rape hotline on his behalf, in order to assess whether they would be understanding of what had happened to him. It took me about an hour to find a few suitable candidates, and at least one of them gave me the impression of it being a “just-for-women rape hotline.” I was disguisted. I’ve also seen that statistic about 40% of domestic violence having a female perpetrator, and have experienced a fair bit of that, personally. I do wonder, sometimes, where the notion of “violence is a male thing” comes from.

                Perhaps, it’s created by several factors:
                1) Women talk about their problems a lot more. People will therefore hear about what happens to women, from their point of view, but be less likely to hear the same regarding men.
                2) Men are more physically capable of causing truly serious injuries, due to greater size and muscel mass (stemming, biologically, from having more testosterone). Therefore, when a man commits a violent crime, the injuries are more likely to be grave enough to take note of.
                3) Women (and girls) are usually more inclined than men to fight with words and emotions. Men (and boys) lack the emotional intelligence to see the point of doing so, and are somewhat more likely to resort to violence. (This applies to schoolyards, homes, workplaces, etc.) Also, men tend to have a conversely increased logistical intelligence, and sometimes use it to plan more complex, devious, and devestating attacks.

                Even so, it’s scary to think about any perpetrator who knows that the law is on his/her side. I know of a rather dishonorable man who, despite being a self-professed thug and neo-nazi, is quite good at doing legal research, and was able to abtain sole custody of a child by abusing the mother until she had a nervous breakdown. He knew the right things to say, and how not to get caught. He frequently used legal scare tactics to convince the woman’s family not to stand up for her.

                Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of any centralized society such as ours is finding ways of making the legal system truly fair. How can someone who didn’t witness an event make a just determination about who is guilty? How can someone who did witness and event make an unbiased (and therefore just) determination about the same? Taking gender out of the equation sounds like a really good start, to me (based on where we currently are). In a nation where justice is delivered (as best we can) via trial-by-jury, that seems to require a major shift in public sentiment about what gender is, and is not.

                How might a thing best be accomplished?

  15. Most of a person’s deepest desires & insecurities are inextricably tied to their sexuality, and as far as I’m concerned that makes sex crimes the most heinous by definition. If more men weren’t too afraid to actually vividly imagine what it must be like, they might have stronger feelings about the matter. I honestly think any man guilty of rape beyond a shadow of a doubt (i.e. caught on video) should have his penis removed. This obviously wouldn’t be useful in many, if not most cases as that kind of evidence isn’t available, but if we could implement it in the prison system it would be spectacular. Of course you’d have a few sickos who would say that in order to keep the deterrent effect of prison we should continue to let it happen, but any person in their right mind knows that if we could prevent it, we have an obligation to. Prison should be for the protection of society and for rehabilitation if at all possible, not punishment as we see fit. (But then again if I were to really get into it, I think indentured servitude should be brought back in place of most prison sentences. But that’s neither here nor there, nor likely to happen.)

    On the issue of civilian rape, I agree with the above post that women can do a lot to defend themselves, they just rarely actually think about & prepare for it, and it seriously bothers me that public schools don’t have mandatory female self-defense courses, K-12. (Of course boys would be allowed to attend as well.) It’d be nice to live in a world where you didn’t have to worry about it, but we have to be practical ’cause we ain’t there yet.

    As for your actual question, I’d fight, but I’m also a nearly six and a half foot tall male, and my bone structure is proportionate rather than slender. Lucked out I guess!

    Btw I read an earlier comment that lead me to reading about corrective rape in Africa. BOY WAS THAT FUN. Also, half-serious thought, those barbed female condoms. Just found out they were invented by a South African woman, not surprisingly after reading about the aforementioned topic. Probably feels pretty ridiculous to wear around, but just imagine how satisfying it would be if and when it actually worked! (Well, I suppose you’d be too terrified & preoccupied with finding help as quick as possible to feel vindictive satisfaction, but I can imagine their reaction, and I feel vindictive satisfaction.)

    Rape sucks, and I’m really sick of autocomplete not realizing, or more likely not wanting to acknowledge by this point that I’m not talking about tape. Okay now I think I’m just trying to lighten my own mood after all that rape I just read about.

    Thanks for posting. I’ve always heard of girls being told to just relax and let it happen, and while it makes sense, I was never able to imagine doing anything but balling and flailing violently. There is no proper ending to this whole comment. Tape is horrific.

    1. I agree women can be strong and effective in any kind of fight. Men are taught to throw a punch from a young age, women should be taught the same. We all deserve to know how to protect ourselves. If you ask me, we deserve to know how to protect ourselves without weapons more than anything else. You can never guarantee you’ll have a weapon on hand, but you will always have yourself.

      I’ve heard of those barbed female condoms. I think they are brilliant, but it’s also sad such an invention needed to be made. That said, we’d know almost for sure that a guy raped a girl if he came to the hospital needing that removed (I say almost because who can say the women didn’t consent to the action, knowing what would happen to the man?)

      Lastly, on your comment of men visualizing it… the truth is men are raped too. Not quite as much, but enough to be a problem. And yet men grow up without fear of rape while women do. I think it’s because of how we stereotype rape as something men do to women instead of something that can happen to anyone, anywhere.

  16. I had to deal with both “raped” two times. Once while sleeping and once while to meased up to do anything. I know being male i technically cannot be raped. Technicalities. One of those times I lost my virginity. I have also dealt with death. Having epilepsy, I have almost been hit by cars, fallen off of patios, downing, etc. In my opinion people are able to over come very difficult circumstances. I would say rape was harder for me to deal with. But I would not choose it over death. Death is the end.

    1. I’m sorry to hear those experiences happen to you. Technicalities be damned. All genders can be raped by any other gender.

      This is one opinion which I admit to have in ignorance. I have never been raped, but I am terrified of it nonetheless. I think what I really mean when I say I fear rape more than death is that I intend to fight any potential rapist as hard as I can. If I can help it, I won’t just lay there.

      1. I’m not sorry, they made me the person I am today. I have never taken a female home who was too drunk. I would explain and give her my number. It has made me appreciate women for who they are instead of what they look like. In my opinion it is a good thing.

  17. For starters, you know I’m in your corner. Most of the time. Here I am not. I think it’s all fine and good to assume you’d fight it, and that’s an admirable quality to have (to have that kind of confidence in yourself). That being said, I think it’s also a phenomenally… I don’t know… Anti-woman (??) stance to take to say you value some level of “purity” over your LIFE. Yes, it’s an absolutely horrid thought to face, knowing your choices are death or rape, but I know personally women who very possibly be dead had they fought. I understand the strength in fighting but I also greatly admire the strength it takes to choose something you know you will spend possibly the rest of your long life recovering from. They chose to fight, too… After. And that’s just as strong.

    All I’m saying is unless you’ve been in that situation (which frankly is no one’s business), this is all mildly irrelevant…

    …and I promise, girl, that I mean that in the most positive way.

    1. No, I get it. I’ve never experienced this, so what I really fear is what I imagine that to be like. We can’t always control what we fear the most. We just do.

      I agree that it’s a bit insane to value a sense of purity over your life, or the life of any woman. However, if you have been raised to value purity over your life, that can be a hard habit to break. Even if you feel your life is worth more, that dosen’t always change the opinions of those around you.

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