Some people will find this entire entry triggery. I apologise for that in advance, but I think what I am putting here needs saying. I've put the worst bits behind a cut.
Sometimes a person fails through lack of empathy; this is not their fault, necessarily, although it can be if they do it wilfully. But mostly, it's just that they haven't really thought about what it would be like to be another person. There has been a lot of vilification of Ken Clarke today for comments he has made about rape, and I find the revulsion that he has triggered in many people entirely understandable. But then, I have been raped. I suspect Ken Clarke hasn't. And I further suspect that most of the people who think the way that he seems to on the matter of rape have not been raped either. It seems to me that most of the people who think that way have only considered the physical ramifications of a rape: if you are forced to have sex against your will by someone you have never met, there is much more likely to be the use of a weapon and much more likely to be serious physical injury, therefore that is worse than so-called "date rape".
This takes no consideration of the psychological effects of rape whatsoever.
I'd like to put forward four scenarios for your consideration, dear reader, and then there will be a poll. I'd like you to answer for yourself in the poll because obviously, none of us can know how another person will react. As always, if you don't have a Dreamwidth account you can log in with openID (any google, blogger, yahoo, myspace, wordpress, flickr, or lots of other accounts can function as an openID) here
.( cut for triggeryness )
( my answers )
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 26
Which scenario do you think would have the worst PHYSICAL effect on you (tick all that apply)
Which scenario do you think would have the worst PSYCHOLOGICAL effect on you (tick all that apply)
Which scenario do you think would have the MOST LONG-LASTING effect on you (tick all that apply)
Which scenario do you think would have the worst OVERALL effect on you (tick all that apply)
I can understand what people are saying when they say that you can't classify rapes; that each rape must be considered on a case by case basis, and that ranking types of rape is wrong. I can understand it, but I don't fully share that view. I do rank types of rape. I classify them and I rank them. The problem is that I give far more importance to the psychological damage caused by rape, and therefore my rankings are radically different from the rankings of those who only consider the physical damage caused by rape.
For me, I can
conceive of cases of date rape that would be less awful than some forms of stranger rape, for example if if a stranger rape happens in a place where you previously felt safe, like your home. But if all other elements of the crime are equal (level of force applied, etc.) date rape is a lot worse
than stranger rape. Where I do agree with those who say you can't categorise rape is that each case should be considered on its own facts, and no case of rape should automatically fall into one sentencing bracket or another.
But then, I think that about ALL crimes.