#MeToo movement adds insult to injury for rape victims
How does it feel to be raped? In the clamour to be the most righteous of the #MeToo era, the voices of those who have actually experienced it are rarely heard. Maybe it’s because our views don’t fit the dogma.
Here’s how I describe it. When I was raped, my first instinct was to jump out of the window of the house. Not to kill myself, but to save myself. I was in such fear of the man who had entered my room as I slept that I was willing to jump from a building to escape. That’s how horrifying rape can be.
The author Naomi Wolf, who was raped by a male babysitter as a child, made similar comments recently. “Every woman I know who has been raped thought she might have been about to die. What is damaging is being nothing in the presence of another human being.”
No one I know who has been raped as an adult woman supports the #MeToo movement. At best, they see it as a well-intentioned but misguided campaign which was hijacked by militants ignorant of the reality of rape. At worst, they feel used by opportunists who have weaponised compassion in a bid to control sexual behaviour and undo years of sexual liberation that women have enjoyed.
As someone who has been raped, I see it as a vigilante movement with a dangerous open-door policy that allows some vengeful people to stand with genuine victims. Victims’ views often contradict the tenets of #MeToo ideology. I’ve been called a “rape apologist” by those who purport to champion victims, yet haven’t the empathy to consider they might be talking to one. They don’t want to hear that we find the blanket “I believe you” stance to be offensive and damaging. Instant belief is patronising and dismissive; as bad as instant disbelief. It renders truth meaningless.
We are appalled by the notion of an innocent person being convicted. In the kangaroo court of #MeToo, you can be guilty because accused — a travesty of justice that encourages false allegations. We know the only thing as bad as being raped is being wrongly convicted of it.
Many of us feel the movement has been bad for rape victims and for women in general. Not yet a year on, and we are beginning to see how it is turning on us.
Asia Argento, the figurehead of the movement, is accused of being an abuser herself, of paying off a child star with whom she had sex. Actress Roxanne Pallett falsely accused a male housemate on Celebrity Big Brother of “beating her up”. Both these incidents are damaging to the gravity of rape as a crime, and the public’s perception of the rape victim. So too is broadening the definition of rape to the extent that every woman can claim to be a victim. The message that sends out is: if everyone’s a victim, no one is.
We’re troubled by how women are encouraged to reframe past sexual experiences as rape. This is irresponsible and damaging, and it takes agency from those who have been through the trauma. Ask them: they’ll tell you preventing rape where possible is preferable to any useless sympathy after the fact. What we don’t want is to be terrified of sex.
This is why the empowering No Means No consent policy must not be discarded in preference to the “progressive” but puritanical affirmative model, which reduces women to Victorian maidens. The penis is not a lethal weapon, as Germaine Greer says in her new book, On Rape. Greer also states we are not irrevocably damaged in body and soul by what happened to us, and this is a common feeling among raped women.
However, as a rape victim herself, will Greer be listened to or sidelined? Because it seems that, in certain circles, unless your viewpoint is in line with the orthodoxy, no one cares what happened to you.