I have almost nothing to add to this spectacular piece at the Curvature titled, “On Birth Rape, Definitions, and Language Policing,” so I won’t try. Here’s a snippet.
But even questions of technical definitions and what exactly it is that we wish to eradicate in fighting this thing called “rape” aside, I do know one thing for sure. When women come forward and start saying “I was raped,” when they find the power to use that word to describe their own experiences and open up to share their trauma with the world, responding with “no you weren’t” — with whole blog posts about the subject, in fact — is about the worst possible way that a person can do feminism.
And doing feminism this way has consequences, just like using feminism oppressively always has. As far as consequences go, I don’t care whether or not it “turns people away” from the “movement,” frankly — after all, if this is what they hope to encounter upon sticking around, I think that they deserve fair warning, and I can’t exactly blame them for wanting no part. What I care about is the pain and the harm that it causes. What I care about is the fact that if, after years of struggling to finally claim the word “rape” for my own experiences, someone had immediately responded to me in this way with something about how calling myself a rape survivor was insulting to real survivors or harming their activism, I just might have died. Literally.
Now go read the whole thing.