Chris over at Here in the Waiting Room has written a very challenging but acutely incisive piece on the jarring disconnect between the seriousness with which we rightly view rape and the casual attitude we as a culture display about sex in general.

…if rape is honestly as unthinkable as we all agree it to be, then I cannot for the life of me understand why the inverse does not also hold true. If rape has the power to damage and destroy – then why do we refuse to talk about sex as though it has any real value?

Every article I read on the prevention of rape could say only this: learn to say yes and say it unambiguously. This is how we will prevent rape.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing to instruct you to value sex, or treat it as though it were worth something. This society lives totally inconsistently with its own assessment of sex: if sex is so meaningless, if it is nothing more than an ‘act’ and only requires ‘consent’ then why is rape so damning? It is utterly disproportionate. If we gave the same weight and meaning to sex as we did the horror of rape, the tone of the ‘awkward conversation’ would change completely.

This world is constantly trying to untangle itself from its sexual dysfunction, Sulkowicz’s protest [carrying around a mattress to draw attention to her university’s failure to help her when she was raped] is just one example. It’s such a powerful one. I tried to think of an illustration that might match it to demonstrate the value of sex. I thought of one. Marriage. It doesn’t seem to have the same effect it once did.

The total inability, or refusal of the media to discuss sex before it discusses rape is completely unsurprising. The moment you remove any religious framework from the dialogue sex is just sex and we’re animals (animals that need to learn to speak, but animals nonetheless). But the hurt, the fear, the shame, and the brokenness that accompanies rape bears witness to the poverty of this understanding of sex.

Go read it all.

 

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7 comments on “Taking rape seriously requires us to take sex seriously.

    • Keith, while it’s surely true that the church has often had an immature attitude about sex, I’m not sure how they can be blamed for societal values at large when our society so comprehensively rejects the church’s authority on this (and most every other) issue.

      • The church is everywhere, look at this horrible crusade spending $500 million we don’t have to kill mostly innocent people in a country we played a part in destroying.
        Are a thousand people a day still dying from AIDS in South Africa? No one cares …..
        We might not go to church but anti Muslim sells newspapers and gets votes.
        You are right the church is useless, but it is still there, still causing misery.

  1. Learn to say yes and say it implicitly – equates sex with rape. Rape is about power, humiliation and nothing to do with choice.

    Yes, many people don't take sex seriously. They get hurt, but have made the choice . Let's take sex seriously but also not confuse the two.

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