Can we stop rape culture now please?

Last Thursday I didn’t get much work done because I was watching the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in which Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh testified. And then obsessively reading everything I could find about it. Okay, I lost more than one day of work.

The next day I was interviewed by a team of college students who were doing a trauma therapy project. When they asked, “What is your greatest clinical challenge?” I immediately responded, “Rape culture.”

That’s probably not what they were asking for, but that’s what it is. By now we’re pretty good at trauma therapy. We don’t help everyone, but we help most people. And the trauma therapy field is on track, we’re continuing to fine tune. Every year we get a little better at it.

The problem is that people get hurt faster than we can heal them. Hurt in ways that shouldn’t even happen. And on a large scale, society-wide. (This goes beyond rape culture to other types of systemic harm of groups of people; the present focus on rape culture is one example.)

I mean, look at last week’s hearing. Judge Kavanaugh’s promoters had already made sure that much of the usual documentation on the prospective Supreme Court justice’s career would not be available for review, in the rush to get him affirmed before people could track down his involvement with torture, dirty tricks, etc. Then when they learned of the sexual assault allegations, they refused to ask the FBI to investigate, and they refused to invite any of the witnesses that could shed light on same. Instead of taking the allegations seriously, they created an untenable “he-said/she-said” scenario designed to preclude determination of guilt. Then in the sexual assault hearing, their nominee, already on record for having previously lied under oath, blatantly lied under oath numerous additional times.

This was not an issue for Judge Kavanaugh’s promoters. They already knew he was dirty. He was their man, and they were going to get him in. Judge Kavanaugh understood this, which is why he felt so free to lie so brazenly.

But the hearing did not go exactly as planned. The problem? Dr. Ford failed to be a sufficiently intimidated or incapacitated witness. She calmly and forcefully detailed the horrific assault she said she experienced at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge. She clearly stated her motives and fears in coming forward, what she did remember, and what she didn’t. Most who watched found her sincere and credible, including experts in sexual assault. Even so, the committee’s majority seemed determined to disregard her testimony and press forward with the nomination.

Rape culture relies on a critical mass in the community to respect and support the power structure that fosters victimization and disregard for victims. I am not the first to point out that the judge’s promoters on the Judiciary Committee themselves exemplified rape culture in their refusal to seriously consider Dr. Ford’s testimony, and in pushing to get what they wanted regardless of any objections or concerns.

Image result for lady justice cartoon

Nevertheless – as has been said in a related context – she persisted. And she apparently inspired many others to step forward, as well. The national sexual assault hotline reported over a 200% increase in phone calls. In response to the president’s assertion that if Ford’s allegation was valid she would have reported it at the time, the #WhyIDidn’tReport movement took off, with many thousands of victims posting their own stories and explanations. One woman finally reported a rape by a prominent man, that occurred a decade ago. Other women reported their rapes to a senator on the Judiciary committee. This groundswell of protest led at least to the delay of the confirmation vote, and may (or may not) ultimately lead to rejection or withdrawal of the nomination.

An equality movement has been building for many years, to counter and overcome rape culture. Recent highlights of this movement include the Women’s March, the #metoo movement, and now Dr. Blasey Ford and #WhyIDidn’tReport. Will this be a tipping point? I hope so.


22 Responses

  1. Why are people picking sides. I see LOTS of issues on BOTH sides of this story. The political system has gotten out of hand, not to mention the media drama. I get traumatized every day listening to the media!! The media DOESN’T report the news anymore, they put their personal spin on everything and create more hype. Talk about trauma!! Is anyone speaking the truth, who knows.

    1. IMO people should pick sides. People should favor truth-tellers over liars. People should favor victims over perpetrators.

  2. Let’s not jump the gun here. There is no real proof that he has raped anyone. We are innocent in this country until PROVEN guilty of a jury of our peers. We cannot have peace in a society where here-say is accepted as fact and truth. Ford should have gone to the police when this has happened. This is as if I would go the department store and tell them I was overcharged for an item 30 years ago and demand to be compensated, with no receipt. I fear for our country with articles like this.

    1. Innocent until proven guilty is the standard we use to (try to) avoid jailing possibly-innocent people. It is not the standard we use to appoint people to the Supreme Court. If you’ll notice, I did not proclaim this man guilty of the sexual assault as charged (though I suspect he is guilty). Rather, I highlighted the ways this confirmation process has exemplified rape culture, by a priori discounting and even vilifying the alleged victim, while a priori supporting the alleged perpetrator who blatantly and repeatedly lies. Not to mention how aggressive and disrespectful he was towards women right there in the hearing! which could be considered Exhibit A.

      I might add that the first two comments on this post exemplify other aspects of rape culture, by throwing up smoke screens designed to prevent an alleged victim’s claims from being seriously considered.

  3. Reporting a crime is very different from reporting immoral behavior on the part of someone who should be held to the highest possible standard. She is a true Patriot, in my opinion.

  4. I’m disappointed in you jumping to conclusions before we know the facts. It sounds like you had your mind already made up.
    I felt both Ford and Kavanaugh did a credible job on Thursday. Our culture is bearing the consequences of the 60’s “sexual revolution” and it will not help anyone if we, as trauma therapists, get swept up in the panic. Let’s hold on to the principles of truth and justice.

    1. Pat, If you follow the links in the blog post, there’s a lot more info. According to the experts on sexual assault (and consistent with my own expert opinion), Dr. Ford’s testimony was consistent with an actual victim’s testimony. Whereas Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony was rife with lies. That being said, my focus was not specifically on his guilt (though I suspect that he is guilty). It was on the manner in which the alleged victim was mistreated, before, during, and after her testimony. The plan was to suppress evidence and disregard her testimony, regardless of its possible veracity. I am indeed interested in truth and justice, but rape culture, as represented in this case by Kavanaugh’s promoters, is not.

  5. This post is disgusting and disgraceful. I do NOT subscribe to this site to read your ill-informed political views and ridiculous rant. Where is your outrage over Keith Ellison and his domestic abuse allegation? Yeah, right. Nowhere, because he is a Democrat. And why are you not leaping to his girlfriend’s defense? Where is your support for HER. Again no surprise that there is no mention of this. I guess abuse is just fine if a Democrat is the perpetrator. What is that? The ends justify the means.

    You are welcome to post all this garbage you want, but there are consequences. I would never attend your programs and will make certain that all of the therapists in my practice never partake in any of your programs either. You are an utter disgrace to the profession. That you would prefer to see someone’s life ruined with no corroboration beyond “She said” just to meet a political agenda shows that you have no integrity, no decency and no compassion. I am ashamed to be a woman right now and if the rest of my profession feels the same as you do, I am ashamed to be a therapist. I will block ALL future Emails from you and never read another stinking word that you write.

    1. Victoria Duncan, Our training programs are excellent, but if you are offended by my views I understand that you may wish to stay away. Regardless, my views are quite well-informed, as you would know if you tracked down the sources that I linked.

      I am opposed to any and all sexual assault. I would think that would be clear. Your suggestion that I approve of sexual assault by Democrats is groundless and offensive.

      I wrote this post as a trauma therapist because prevention is better than cure. I did not in fact proclaim Kavanaugh to be guilty of sexual assault (though I do suspect that he is; and he is clearly guilty of many lies under oath). Rather, I focused on the process that his promoters orchestrated, as improper and exemplary of rape culture. I would think that any trauma therapist would be opposed to rape culture and supportive of a process designed to be respectful and fact-finding.

  6. Lisa doesn’t get it. Ryan doesn’t get it. And there are far too many people who do not. I am having PTSD flashbacks as a result of Kavanaugh’s behavior as well as Jeff Flake’s incident in the elevator with the survivor who confronted him. You see, I was at a university in the 1980s at a party on campus. We were all drinking. That’s what college kids did on the weekends. I do not remember being attracted to the guy. I do not remember kissing the guy. But I do remember being alone in a room with him. I do remember this fraternity guy (who I do not remember being attracted to nor interested in) forcing me into a room and hold me down on and remove his pants while he attempted to have sex with me. I kicked him and managed to get away. This was ‘normal’ kind of behavior by men in the 1980’s especially among popular, affluent white men: the football players, the jocks, the fraternity boys. This is common knowledge among anyone who has attended high school or college within white, privileged neighborhoods. The popular guys get the girls and, apparently, have free access their bodies at parties

    1. Jennifer M, You are among the many thousands of people who have recognized and been reminded of their own experiences, from the testimony and sequelae. The experts have said that Dr. Ford’s testimony rings true, and so do many who have experienced something similar. Likewise that Kavanaugh’s behavior while testifying was consistent with an offender/abuser. So now many people are dealing with re-activated traumatic memories. I hope you are taking good care of yourself.

    2. Thank you for acknowledging my response, Dr. Greenwald. And, I believe your CENSORSHIP of my post, ironically, is part of the problem. I can see (and respect) why you may have not felt it appropriate to post my response because we (trauma survivors) are suppose to play ‘nice’ and we wouldn’t want others exposed to ‘not nice’ words. It may also be that you felt a need to ‘protect’ me. While that’s a kind gesture, really isn’t necessary. I’m in recovery and ‘strong’ enough and ‘resilient’ enough and ‘wise’ enough to take care of myself thanks to all the hard work I have been doing over the years processing, integrating and clearing traumas. Complex trauma is not exactly an easy road.

      And, while I do not feel you need to respond, I’m not sure why I am suppose to play ‘nice’ and be’courteous’ and ‘respectful’ to those who choose to remain ignorant and say, ‘I don’t understand’. Brad’s comments were hostile, aggressive, insensitive and rude, btw. I pray to God this man is not a trauma therapist (and I’m a athiest). Proudly and unabashedly sharing the fact that you carry a concealed firearms is not exactly healthy behavior or a healthy response. It’s a FEAR response. I wonder if it’s ‘Brad’ who might have unprocessed trauma that he needs to integrate. Maybe he needs to go to a ‘quiet space’ or do some neurofeedback work. Do you see the double standard response I received from YOU, the censorship? It’s okay for ‘Brad’ to be angry, outraged and offensive — but ‘Jennifer’ — not so much….

      Sometimes, people engage in ‘selective listening’ – in other words, they hear what they want to hear become it reinforces the narrative — what they want to believe about the world — what they want to believe is their place on the side of the ‘truth’ and the ‘good’ and the ‘righteous’ and the’Godly’ and the ‘holy’ among us. ‘Brad’ speaks for all of them, of course. He reminds us that some of us were born more ‘perfect’ than others. We should not point out to him the inherent hypocrisies in his rhetoric or what might be his ‘shadows’ lest their be six more weeks of winter.

      I guess, I must admit, I would have been giving off the proper ‘signs’ of recovery if I had been ‘kinder and gentler’ with my speech. It might have been evidence or proof of my ability to show I’ve acquired the necessary skills in emotional regulation. It may have demostrated to you that I have transcended an identity beyond ‘disorder’ and ‘survivor’ to something that looks a little more self-actualized and fully human. I can now see that’s it’s more important to adapt to others expectations of us rather than be fully authentic and present, that rather than be a woman who is allowed to feel a full range of feelings, who is allowed to express her feelings of unhappiness, her discontent, her anger (which come from a place of somatic felt sense ‘experience’ and ‘knowing’) over the way women have been treated, I should take the higher ground. I should ‘always’ take the higher ground, No one has those expectations of ‘Brad’. He’s not the pathologized one. He has no one to answer to for his inappropriate and insensitive comments.

      Of course, I do not speak for ALL trauma survivors. I speak for myself. And I can imagine there might be a few who would relate to my perspective. I mean no disrespect of anyone, and sometimes ANGER is the appropriate response when injustice occurs. Sometimes OUTRAGE is the appropriate response when the vulnerable person’s voice is not heard. Sometimes others need a wake up call.

      I’d like to point out that there seems to be no SPACE among these comments for the voice of the SURVIVOR, which is not, in all honestly, all that surprising because the marginalized, trauma survivor is not normally given a voice even among the mental health professional folk who are suppose to be trauma sensitive and trauma informed. You did post other people’s comments which were not particularly kind, sensitive or trauma informed. The irony in all of this, I realized, is that these people are actually trauma therapists. That’s a scary and disconcerting thought.

      It’s rare that a trauma expert shares space or a stage for a trauma survivor. The ‘expert’ holds court as the ‘expert’ and ‘knows’ what is best for trauma survivor in terms of treatment, interventions, etc. That part of the shadow side of being a trauma therapist– seeing themselves as the ultimate authority, regardless of the modality (it could be EMDR or CBT or DBT or IFS) when it comes integration and healing. Most therapists are not that humble, evolved or integrated in my opinion. I’m not suggesting you fall into that category — but I’d just like to point out that most therapists are not as healthy as they think they are.

      I’ve experienced that disrespect and dishonoring behavior from far too many unhealthy, unintegrated mental health professions on one too many social media platforms. Many mental health professionals reproduce oppressive dynamics (a similar parent/child dynamic of mommy/daddy know best) when they claim to ‘know’ better, have more ‘experience’, a superior credential. This posturing serves to feed their own ego. It also helps to legitimate themselves as leaders in the field trauma survivor is parentified and not treated as an equal, is not treated as a person with a right to their own feelings, thoughts and perceptions. The idea that a trauma survivor might actually have insight into their own life experience, that they might actually know what is right for themselves and their own healing journey is considered a bit unorthodox, I will admit.

      One of the central problems we face today is finding ways for trauma survivors to reconnect with a world that is pathological itself, that is traumatized itself, that is not in a position to create ‘safe space’ that can hold collective rage and grief. It’s not only the responsibility of mental health professionals, it’s the responsibility of the collective community to ‘take care’ and ‘hold space’ of the most marginalized and vulnerable members of society. You may call me an idealist and I believe If we want to move forward, some of these issues social justice issue will need to be confronted, and specifically, individuals who choose to turn a blind eye will need to be confronted by survivors like Senator Flake who was publically shamed (as he should have been) in an elevator while the whole world watched. That might not feel ‘pretty’ or ideal to you, but what are options are survivors given to make their voices heard? Are we suppose to continue living with silence and oppression? Although I am not privy to your political views, I imagine probably wouldn’t question a Black Panther’s feelings of rage around their sense of oppression when it comes to racism. (Or at least many other people who consider themselves politically correct liberals would not… forgive me for making assumptions regarding your political views). I’d like to understand why we have this double standard in this country about women and their oppression. Why is the silencing of women, the silencing of rage around systematic sexism and the descrimination of trauma survivors, okay? Why is it okay when YOU don’t like my words, when YOU don’t like what I have to say, is it okay to SILENCE me? I spoke the TRUTH of my experience and I will not apologize or feel shame in saying to people what they really need to hear: ‘THEY’ are part of the problem. ‘THEY’ are part of the collective dis-ease.

      I’m sure you understand that integration and healing does not occur in a therapeutic vacuum. Dr. Bruce Perry talks about the importance of EMPATHY in the context of trauma neuroscience. So does Dr. Dan Siegel, Dr. Stephen Porges, Dr. Gabor Mate. When is the world going to take note? Our brains need healthy connections and healthy communities. We are social and relational creatures.

      I’m sure you’ve done a lot of great work over the years as a trauma therapist and it’s not all up to trauma therapists to support trauma survivors — it takes a village!

      MEN need to start being open to integrating the ‘divine feminine’ rather than marginalizing her. MEN will need to start sharing power and space at the table for women, they actually need to be interested in what women have to say about their experiences in a patriarchal world. (See: Michael Brown’s Presence Processs video: As Michael Brown states: “We know what are work is in the world by what triggers us…”

      Sexually abused women are really the canaries in the coalmines. We have been told time and time again that we are suppose to remain silent and sleep in the ‘shadows’ (Carl Jung) survivors because we are suppose to accept that MEN have access to power whereas women, generally, do not have the same access to power or control of their lives, their destinies or even their own bodies. This is viewed as the natural order of things by the right wing conservatives in power. Republicans would have women believe that that ‘oppression is liberty’, that ‘denial is freedom of choice’. This is all very, very chillingly Orwellian and postmodern. You know that ‘up is actually down’ I’d call that the ultimate in COLLECTIVE gaslighting. Your TRUTH as a women really isn’t your TRUTH because it’s really WHITE, CONSERVATIVE MEN in power who get to spin the post-modern narrative that women as commodities (objects) is for the ‘good’ of our society and Wall Street.

      When I said, ‘What’s wrong with you people?’ I was consciously turned the table on the ‘collective unconscious’ projection (see: Carl Jung) that says, it’s very wrong to be a sexual abused woman to feel enraged about it. And, ‘there’s two sides to every story…’. Where are the two-sides to the narrative when injustice and an equal power distribution prevails? We could see how open minded and tolerant the Republican men behaved at the congressional hearing. Dialogue doesn’t move our understanding forward when people remain uneducated, closed minded and unwilling to learn from experiences that differ from their own.

      Trauma survivors are NOT allowed a VOICE or proper FORUM in our world. We’re not given safe spaces, or a microphone or a podium. That’s the problem. This is today’s civil right’s movement: the freedom of TRAUMA SURVIVORS to take up space and have a VOICE in public spaces. Trauma survivors are not allowed to speak the TRUTH of their experience because OTHERS might be offended. Oh, how I am reminded of that truth every day. How is that different than the gay right’s movement? Are TRAUMA SURVIVORS not allowed to have their experience of the world? Are we not suppose to expect TRAUMA INFORMED care, services and accommodations?

      I’ve experienced the forced SHUT UP by mental health professionals as well as people in general who have accused me of having false memories, being crazy or being a liar. This has consequently resulted in my own SHUT DOWN response (or meant EXILES going back into the closet), it has undermined a sense of trust in myself, it has had me questioning the validity of my own experiences as a result of others not being willing to hold space for ME or my ANGER.

      There are very few therapists can hold SPACE for RAGE even though it’s a natural defense mechanism, part of the FIGHT response (see: Peter Levine/Stephen Porges), btw. Peter Levine is one of the few therapists that understands the relationship between sexual abuse and rage. Most therapists, even the supposed trauma informed, will convey to the survivor that somehow ANGER is wrong, that we’re suppose to ALWAYS control our ANGER and if we feel a need to express our ANGER we better be using the right vocabulary. We’re NEVER ever suppose to express our ANGRY or RAGE. We’re not suppose to want to kick or scream or punch a hole in the wall. Even the DESIRE is wrong. We’re suppose to be ‘lady-like’. Men can exhibit rage, punch

    3. Jennifer M, I didn’t know what you were talking about — censored? — but I checked and three of the comments that I had approved, including yours, now did not show up as approved. Some weird glitch. I’m sorry about that, as it obviously gave an unintended message. I went back and approved them again, hopefully this time it’ll stick.

      I do occasionally edit out or fully censor comments, when someone is changing the subject by too much, or when someone is taking a position that I do not want to promote on my blog. But your comment did not fit either of those categories. And those comments that did, I chose to approve of those as well this time around, since they further exemplified the subject of the original post.

      Anyway thank you for persisting!

      As for the content of your more recent comment, I am largely in agreement with you (though I do not have an opinion about how “most” trauma therapists are). I recently posted (elsewhere) that the complaints about how women and/or victims present reminds me of the complaints about how black people protest. Bottom line: (for those who don’t like the complaints) There’s no right way. This says it better than I do:

  7. In my opinion, it is important to take a side ONCE WE HAVE THE EVIDENCE. And..we don’t have EVIDENCE that Ford is lying nor that Kavanaugh is untruthful. We weren,t there. However, both sides Dems/Repubs have a political vested interest in staying off topic and have now made a mockery of the allegations. Not sure what means for all the work the trauma field has accomplished in educating the public about the veracity of SA.

    1. Jan Williams, There’s a reason that we don’t have more evidence: because Kavanaugh’s promoters made sure of that (although we do have clear evidence that Kavanaugh was untruthful on many occasions). My point was not to proclaim Kavanaugh’s guilt regarding the assault (though I suspect he is guilty). It was to highlight the problems with the way his promoters proceeded — including the disrespect of the alleged victim, and the suppression of evidence.

  8. Sadly, sexual assaults do happen. I have watched much, not all of the proceedings, and followed it pretty closely. I do not believe Ford and I do not find her credible at all. I am an Independent and have voted for Dems and Republicans, so this is not that political for me. I don’t think I will EVER consider voting for a democrat now after watching this. I have had 2 calls from men who have been accused of such actions and that is traumatic for them, and there are no charges against them as there is no evidence. Enough is enough.

    As for sexual assaults, my wife and I both carry and conceal firearms. If someone were to attempt to assault either of us, they are to have a very bad day. Another reason to live in a stand your ground state. That is my position on assaults. Period.

    1. Brad, I’m not sure why you didn’t find Ford credible, but I guess not everyone has to see things the way I do. I’m OK with that.

      What I’m not OK with is you taking the position that those who did take an alleged victim’s claim seriously (in this case Democrats) have lost your trust. What I’m not OK with is that you make this all about the hardship of men who get accused. False accusations do exist and they can be very harmful. However, true accusations are many many times more common, and dismissing those can be very harmful as well.

      Making an allegation of sexual assault all about how the accuser is a liar, those who respect her are vile, and the accused is a victim? That is a reasonable stance in the case of an obviously/demonstrably false allegation. The present case does not meet that criteria (even if you are not personally convinced of its veracity). When such an attitude is applied to a reasonably credible allegation such as this one, that exemplifies rape culture.

    2. We are a nation founded upon truth and facts, and when we stray, we will fall. And you mention false allegations, yet Ford has no real proof. We cannot make allegations with serious repercussions unless they are backed by facts and truth. That is slander, defamation of character, and I feel that he should sue. And falling we are.

    3. Brad, I’m not sure I’m following you here. Slander is intentionally saying something false about someone else that damages them in some way. Assuming Ford believed what she said, she did not knowingly say something false. Furthermore, just because she cannot definitively prove her allegation does not mean that it is false. Thus it cannot be considered slander.

      Most sexual assault allegations cannot be definitively proven, especially when the allegations are made long after the fact. Does that mean that nobody should ever say what someone else did to them? That’s how rape culture wants it.

      Ford testified that she felt it was her civic duty to notify her representative that Kavanaugh, then only a potential nominee, had done something horrible that only she (and the alleged perpetrators) knew about. Whether or not our country is actually built on truth, it is certainly built in part on selfless acts of patriotism. In my opinion, Ford has earned her place in history in that regard.

    4. Ricky, I am not sure what you mean by “rape culture”? True, people, both men and women get raped in our society, and most others I would imagine also. As they say, prostitution is the oldest trick in the book. And I have been pondering this a while since reading this. And I don’t know of anyone who actually supports rape. Even working in a penitentiary, the inmates have a code, and rapists are only one notch up from child molesters in the prison hierarchy. And I mean this too and I have seen about a dozen murdered and countless more stabbed and beat severely over my 16 years.

    5. Brad, why mention prostitution???

      Nearly everyone will say that they oppose rape, and most are sincere. Yet rape is rampant and punishment for same is nearly nonexistent (only about 3% of rapists serve time). Why? Because of what has been called rape culture. The link in the blog post gives more detail, but I’ll give a brief explanation here.

      Rape culture is the system of values, attitudes, and behaviors that promote and support men’s ownership of and entitlement to women (and children for that matter). Examples:

      – After sex, the male is regarded as manly whereas the female is regarded as shameful. Stud vs. slut.

      – When a man tells a woman, “Smile,” he is saying, “Your own interests or state of mind is not important. Your primary job is to please me.” Yet when a woman complains about being harassed on the street, she is often told that she should not complain, because the harassment was “a compliment.”

      – When someone reports a rape, she is often disrespected, dismissed, and disregarded. When the report becomes more public, she is often vilified or even attacked. These are some of the reasons that most victims do not report.

      – Even when a rape has been acknowledged, the social response is often to value the perpetrator more than the victim. The Brock Turner verdict is a dramatic example of this, in that the judge was more concerned with the perpetrator’s prospects than with the victim’s. But this is routinely expressed when a victim comes forward and the reaction is, “How could you do that to him?/ruin his life?”

      – Even when it’s uncertain that the rape or assault actually occurred, the response is often to focus on the alleged perpetrator’s welfare at the expense of the victim. The Kavanaugh confirmation process is a good example, in that rather than even investigating the claims, the focus has been on the harm the alleged victim has done to the alleged perpetrator.

      – You may have noticed that I did not publish another of your comments. This is because you addressed another commenter by a nickname, rather than using the name she gave. Regardless of your intent, this could be perceived as an attempt to diminish her — a male attempting to dominate a female. In this fraught conversation, I chose not to permit that.

      – False allegations of sexual assault and rape are a tiny fraction of all such allegations — an estimated 6%, give or take, depending on the study, which is about the rate of false allegations for other crimes. Yet unlike for other crimes, the presumption is that every such allegation is false. And every little detail of an allegation is picked apart to prove its falsity. Too emotional, not emotional enough, doesn’t report enough detail, reports too much detail, reported too soon, reported too late, etc., no matter how it’s reported, that proves it’s a lie. It wasn’t until perhaps 30 or so women accused Cosby that the general public finally acknowledged that maybe he was actually guilty.

      Obviously we should seriously scrutinize allegations of rape or assault, as we should for any alleged crime, to determine if the allegation is true. However, allegations of rape or assault are treated with far more skepticism than are allegations of other crimes, and evidence in support of such allegations is routinely discounted and/or disregarded. The Kavanaugh confirmation process is a good example, in that evidence that might have supported (or refuted) the allegation of sexual assault was suppressed; his promoters have made every effort to prevent such evidence from being accessed or reviewed. The alleged victim is either assumed to be lying, or (more likely in this case) assumed to be telling the truth, but not valued, because the man is valued more highly. That exemplifies rape culture. The message is that boys and men can do what they want to women and girls, take what they want, with impunity.

  9. Your transparent understanding and appreciation of rape culture, the container we operate in, is good. Thank you for putting yourself out there in this way. Your actions here fit with understanding that sexual violence is largely a men’s issue, though it’s been framed as a women’s issue. While men exercise political and social power over women’s bodies I don’t expect this to change. I am heartened, though, by men who speak up as such. I trust that you are a therapist who will not frame the experience and the impacts of being a victim of sexual violence as a personal issue occurring in a vacuum, whether the victim is female or male. This, alone, offers space and potential for repair, in my experience.

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