CONTENT WARNING: RAPE, LABELS
The following is something I had originally blogged on Tumblr.
So far, at least two different people at seminary have told me that reporting my rape to the police would be a bad idea. The arguments have been that since the police are part of a system of oppression, my rapist would be oppressed by them and that incarceration probably wouldn’t stop him from raping people in prison anyway.
I feel compelled to add that one of these persons who told me this was a woman. A cis woman, albeit who is indeed a fierce trans ally (and the partner of a trans person).
I do feel that the prison-industrial complex must be dismantled. The school-to-prison pipeline must be destroyed. I do not challenge these ideas in any way. What I struggle with is the idea that I must think of my rapist’s potential oppression in the aftermath of him raping me. How many other trans women has he raped? What about cis women? Has he raped men, cis or trans, as well? Has he raped non-binary persons? I feel as if I’m being told that those questions aren’t as important as the question of his potential oppression if he were arrested, tried, and convicted.
I get that as a seminarian and would-be minister, I need to let go of the idea of how I’m oppressed in particular and instead working toward ending oppression in general. I am also very aware that I should probably seek therapy or find a support group. Money, however, factors into that. My current medical insurance doesn’t cover therapy, which is odd since it’s through the seminary. I’m trying to start a rape survivor support group on campus.
It seems to me that something that needs to be addressed is how we might be inadvertently supporting rape culture even as we seek to overturn an unjust penal system. Rape survivors are victims of oppression. If we aren’t supposed to involve the police to address our rapes, how can we be granted justice and create situations in which our assailants are prevented from raping anyone else?
I posted that a week ago, and only one person had replied to date, which is odd because usually talk of rape culture on Tumblr, especially with regards to not reporting rape and rapists to the police is seen as supporting rape culture, usually results in a lively virtual discussion. Well, not this time. Only one response. And here it is:
spinachandmushrooms answered: Until there is a better solution, I wholeheartedly believe that it is right to go to the police. Our systems are broken, but no rapist should continue to commit crimes against innocents. Sometimes the lesser of two evils is the choice we must make.
Last night, I saw a report on the news of a 13-year-old girl who was assaulted in her own home, an attack caught on her family’s in-home security cameras. The photo of her assailant seems to match in-store security images of a man who attacked a woman in that store’s restroom. Police are asking for help finding him.
Six police officers have been arrested for the homicide of Freddie Gray. If convicted, they face prison time. How should this be received by those of us who believe in prison abolition? How can they offer restitution for what they’ve done?
Is it really the lesser of two evils to call the police when one has been attacked (assuming one has the ability to make the call)?