Monday, August 27, 2012
Shame, Fear and Dignity - A Male Rape Victim Speaks Out
Guest Post by Chad Felix Greene
Shame, fear and dignity. I think rape victims feel these things more than anything else. Being violated is such a uniquely traumatic experience that it is difficult to truly explain, but these three words help.
Shame is not supposed to happen but it does. You go through your normal life feeling exceptionally in control, especially over your body, and if that is taken from you it becomes an incredible blizzard of self-doubt, anger and confusion. How could someone do this to me? Why didn't I stop them? Shame is the saddest emotion because no one can overcome it but the person experiencing it.
Fear is what happens when you recognize your own limited ability to control some situations, especially the one you never thought you'd ever be susceptible to.
Dignity. This one is the wild card. We find dignity in embracing the title “rape victim” and we find dignity in recognizing the before and after of experience. Dignity can find us moving on with our lives or becoming advocates for others.
The Pro-Choice movement uses these three things to define the experience too, and they use it as a weapon. Pro-Choice is based around the concept that a woman is helpless in terms of her bodily integrity. She cannot control its value, who uses it, how they use it and what happens after. Pregnancy is defined as the peak of this inability to control one's life as one must endure it without finding any peace in the knowledge of one's life before and after.
Pro-Choice relies on the the fear that as a woman you will be forced to release authority over your body to the whims of others – men – and accept whatever they have planned for you. The demand for abortion revolves around the belief that as a woman you have the right to choose the outcome of the before-mentioned abuse of your bodily integrity.
Pro-Life recognizes the glaring flaws in this world view by pointing out that a woman has complete control over her bodily integrity. She can choose everything from her exposure to sexual interest to the sexual experience itself. She can protect herself in a variety of ways, as can the man involved, from pregnancy occurring. She can choose to be in a long term relationship, be married or stay single. She can choose the number of partners and the frequency as well as the level of activity with each. A woman has authority over her body and her life without difference to that of a man.
Pro-Life does not see pregnancy as a punishment for sexual activity nor does it view words such as “force” or “choice” as being relevant to the pregnancy itself. When one creates a life that life becomes equal to all human life and without exception should be honored as such.
In a straight-forward discussion it is comfortable and natural to affirm the dignity of the human life created and the many Pro-Choice responses about a woman's personal selfish requirements become less and less convincing. We have too much evidence, both instinctual and and scientific, that show how life is dramatic and vibrant from the moment of conception on and it becomes an irrational demand to say that life must be terminated to satisfy the immediate whim of the mother.
Pro-Choice recognizes this and chooses to, instead, focus a morbid level of attention on the shame, fear and dignity of those whose bodies were taken from them by force. It is reasonable to consider the experiences of a woman who becomes pregnant due to rape. It is compassionate to provide extraordinary care and protection for women in this situation. No one disputes this. But Pro-Choice is not interested in this at all. Their primary goal is to win the argument and they will use any means necessary.
In any given discussion you will likely experience a Pro-Choice advocate demand an explanation to cases of rape and incest. This is not because they are genuinely concerned with the woman involved and certainly not for the child that is created. They consistently bring this question up because they know they have the advantage. Pro-Life advocates are compassionate and deeply caring people and they are simply not prepared to argue against the emotional and physical experiences of a rape victim. This is why “You've never been raped! You can't make decisions for them!” can be a debate-ender with the distinct realization that Pro-Choice has “won.”
This is where my personal experience often plays an important role in shining a bright light onto the true motives of the Pro-Choice argument. The purpose of this question is, of course, to force a person to concede that in some situations it is acceptable to end the life of the baby. By doing so they can both shame the Pro-Life advocate into discussing the limitations of ending such a life while maintaining the illusion of moral superiority by claiming it is both compassionate and just.
The life of the baby should not lose value based solely upon how it was created, but any discussion of the parameters of when and how that life can be terminated in cases of rape merely places the Pro-Life advocate into an impossible situation. We have been bullied into being afraid to even mention the subject because it is terrible to experience both the emotional insecurity of challenging someone who may have experienced rape directly and the internal struggle of conceding that a baby must die in order to satisfy a sense of compassion or justice proposed solely by the Pro-Choice advocate.
I do not experience this. I am a victim of rape, or a survivor or whatever label is granted at any given time. Several years ago I entered the hotel room of a man who was visiting with the intention of taking him to dinner and a movie and instead found myself in the impossible situation of being overpowered. The experience was both blindingly fast and hellishly slow as I let go of my will to fight and prayed merely for the moment to pass. As I left I experienced a dizzying array of emotions from complete denial to terror to overwhelming shame. I never spoke about it to anyone.
I did not report it to the police and I did not go to the hospital. I simply resumed my life choosing to see it as a personal mistake of poor judgment. I recognized that I had no way to identify him as his internet persona was useless and as each day passed it became clear that my credibility lessened. I am male and I have no socially equipped set of rules to react to such a situation. Gay pornography is filled with aggressive men overpowering weaker ones. I convinced myself I was just too weak to withstand what many would consider aggressive sex.
It wasn't until I tested HIV+ later that the experience truly flooded back to me. He had mentioned “breeding” me and making me one of “his own.” Researching I discovered a disturbing trend of HIV+ gay men who intentionally target younger men to forcibly infect them with HIV. That is when I first spoke of the rape and I first experienced the range of responses. Most people responded with horror and compassion, but many responded with “Are you sure you didn't let it happen?”
It was in college that I learned how feminism views rape for men. In one class in particular the professor compared rape to racism and sexism in that only women can experience sexism and only black people can experience racism. Women, it seems, could only truly be raped because of male dominance and male rape was merely an extension of using a man as a woman. I protested and found myself the target of intense hostility among the women in particular most concerned with rape.
Somehow my personal violation was a mockery of their own and to think that I had any clue what it felt like for a woman just proved the depth of my misogyny.
In discussions on abortion I am often confronted with the “You don't know what its like” argument and while I do not often choose to mention it, sometimes it feels warranted. I do not like to use this experience as a weapon as I know others are not prepared to continue a discussion per their genuine concern for offending or upsetting me. I like to keep the playing ground equal and let the value of the ideas speak for themselves. But sometimes it needs to be stated that rape status is not the end of a conversation.
As I experienced with the college liberal women in class, I too have experienced with Pro-Choice advocates who seem genuinely offended that I would dare compare my own experience to that of a woman's. Rape and pregnancy is an idea they are arguing, but my point is to demonstrate that being a survivor or what-have-you provides insight but not authority on the discussion. Can I understand the terror and the emotional trauma of rape? Yes. Does it provide me more authority over the fate of unborn life? No.
Why is this important? As I mentioned, it has come to be obvious to me that Pro-Choice does not speak for rape out of concern for the unique experience of the small minority of women who become pregnant from this experience. They simply recognize it is a highly useful tool to quiet the opposition who does not know how to respond. They come from the perspective that men are the enemy and rape is the pentacle of evidence to this fact. When a woman is raped it is the culmination of all feminism has to demand as their reality. It gives them absolute moral authority to declare that they alone speak to this experience.
I challenge that.
My reality as a man who has been violated in the same way as the women they propose to speak for challenges the concept that the subject of rape and of abortion are the sole territories of women. I offend them because I force them to recognize that their bias against men is irrational and equal in disgust to any bias men have against women. To be truly equal requires the equality of our experiences in respect. Pro-Choice does not speak for those who have been raped, they use them to manipulate the argument to their own advantage.
The fear of rape is exaggerated when Pro-Choice continually declares that it must be a primary focus of abortion discussion. It manipulates the narrative that not only do Pro-Life advocates want to “force” you to remain pregnant as a punishment for your sexual freedom but they will also stand by coldly when you are raped and demand that you “incubate” the rapist's child. The absurdity is overshadowed by the ferocity of their emotional outcry and outrage.
Rape is a uniquely devastating experience, but it is not a life-ending one. Even with being infected with a terminal illness I can say that the human spirit and will moves forward. I am not given moral authority to murder my rapist. If he would have been caught and prosecuted the very people fighting for the termination of a baby as the result of rape would just as loudly protest the death penalty for my rapist.
A woman who reports her rape and is brave enough to find her voice in that hour of deepest insecurity and shame can choose to prevent pregnancy from occurring within the small window between the attack itself and the reporting the next day. It is important to note that many Pro-Choice advocates find themselves unable to answer the question of what happens if a woman reports her pregnancy was due to rape 5, 6 or 7 months into the pregnancy. It seems the question falls in the time in-between and while I cannot speak for all, for myself I feel strongly that the life created from the horrible experience is valuable and healing and should not be extinguished out of fear or shame.
My inability to become pregnant does not silence my voice in speaking for the unborn. The lack of experience in this horrible trauma does not silence your voice to speak out for the unborn. We must find our voice. I am an example of the true inhumanity that is perpetuated by the Pro-Choice movement. They devalue the rape of a man just as they devalue the life of a baby inside the womb. They do not speak for the protection or sanctity of the woman. They speak only for their own mythology that women are lined up, forced to become pregnant and enslaved inside kitchens for their whole lives.
We must not back down from this important subject. A woman who becomes pregnant from rape should be given permission to recognize the blessing every child brings, even in the darkest of hours. Even if she feels she is not prepared to nurture this life, she should be given the support and love to know that the soul inside her speaks louder than the decomposed rot inside the man who violated her. We have been bullied into believing that giving birth after rape is the single most horrible experience a woman can have and I challenge that.
Regardless of your stance on this very specific topic not nearly connected to abortion for abortion's sake, it is vital that we do not allow Pro-Choice to take ownership of the experience of rape itself. As you can see, when they do it becomes nothing more to them than a tool to manipulate those who care deeply for life. When you do not support their narrative they dismiss you or demean you and walk away.
My experience of being raped allows me to recognize the distinct emotional insecurity, anger and fear that a woman faces in the same experience. But shame, fear and certainly dignity do not give freedom to end innocent life. There is no dignity in ending the pregnancy caused, and there is no lack of dignity or “force” in allowing the child to develop naturally either. The reality that life is created when the earth is scorched should remind us of the beauty and wonder our creator has given us. No one has the choice to end that.
-Chad Felix Greene
Many thanks to Chad for this courageous post-I'm sick and tired of feminist supremacists ignoring the fact that men and children are also victims of rape. Chad, I wish you many blessings in the future-you're an example to us all.