Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Speaking of rape

A close friend of mine recently came out to me that she was molested as a child.

I say came out because I think there are alot of children whose numbers never get counted because they never tell.

And I wonder why we use the term molested instead of rape. Is it not just a linguistic trick so that we don't feel as angry or bad or disgusted or vengful or sad... or do we just judge what happens to kids differnt? Like hitting a kid, if you hit an adult you go to jail for assult, you hit a kid, who cannot fight back, and its called tough love or even abuse, but abuse is not legally the same as assault.

But back to my friend. There is alot I don't know and am not sure if or how to ask. I imagine that she has no real clue as to the level of damage inflicted upon her.

And like the vast majority of cases she was not raped by a stranger: stranger danger is rarer than being hit by lightning. No, she was raped by a close family acquaintince, someone trusted by her family.

Maybe I should tell her to see someone, but I doubt she would. Either way, I think that Reagen was right about one thing, "trust but verify." You can't live your whole life not trusting anyone ever, but don't trust blindly either.


Rafi G said...

perhaps we use molested rather than rape because it was not rape. The term rape is used by a minor even when the sex is consensual. But maybe there was no sex in this case (or any case where the word molest is used). Maybe there was sexual abuse; kissing, fondling, rubbing, dry humping, whatever. But without penetration I do not think it qualifies as rape.

The Way said...

what about oral? For an adult woman oral rape is legally the same as penetration.

Besides that, you often hear on the news, even in those case where the child was abducted, they use the term molest as a catchall. And the abuse/assault point is another way we use language to distinguish between violence done to a child or to an adult.