Survivors get to decide what they do with their story.
My daughter reminds me of this when I complain about a particular rape narrator who seems to be exonerating people who actively refused to value her need to be heard over points in a game.
What I would tell if she answered my email is:
- Describing your rape in sexually explicit details obscures the message that rape is always about anger and power and objectifying the victim. Do not give potential felons a script for how to commit a crime.
- Why exonerate anyone who has now or in the past facilitated rape culture? Anyone who actively compensated for rapists needs to be called out and fired, not hugged and beatified–no matter how many teams he or she has taken on to victory.
- What happened to you has and will happen to a lot of other people–male, female, gender non-binary, old, young, non-consenting. Don’t sell all of them out by sanitizing or excusing deeply broken human systems.
- Don’t unwittingly hand potential perpetrators a script for rape. Whether or not you realize it, when you tell a story where no one has enforced negative criminal or civil consequences for raping you, you are not changing rape culture.
- No victim of rape should walk down the road you have. Every person deserves incisive rules for sexual safety. We need to change those rules.
- Most victims chose or are pressured into silence. They should not have to fear the stigma of being a crime victim who speaks out..
…but they are, and as long as they are, your message is not enough, whether it is what you say or don’t say to a group of athletes, or what you tell the mother of a rape victim
By not answering her at all.