Trigger Warning: This post discusses sexual and domestic violence in detail
I am one of those rape survivors who has never experienced “proper rape”, as some rape-apologists so aptly put it. But let me assure you that I have been severely affected by it –reliving those experiences night after night; unable to sleep due to flashbacks and nightmares; panic attacks when in crowds and triggered by an unexpected touch; countless days spent in hospital receiving treatment because of self-harm or attempted suicides; and desperately trying to avoid returning to my past eating disorder or drinking problem. So don’t anybody dare tell me that what I experienced wasn’t proper and severe rape.
Rape-apologists often make the misogynistic, cissexist, heterosexist claim that “proper rape” involves a man using physical violence against an unwilling woman. The reality is that rape is traumatic regardless whether the rapist is a stranger hiding behind a bush, a date, or a partner. Rape is traumatic regardless of how much physical violence there is or if you freeze instead of fighting back. Rape is traumatic regardless of whether you are physically forced, or forced through coercion. And rape is traumatic regardless of whether the survivor is a woman, a man, or any other gender.