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One of these things is not like the other. TW: Rape

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I’m not going to make this long, and I’m not going to call out anybody or name names or anything. I just feel like this needs to be said, and I don’t want to add fuel to the fire that resulted in me needing to make this post, and I want it to come across as sensitively as it possibly can. I keep feeling like it reads like a scolding, and it’s not meant to be one. It’s just bursting to get out.

In 2001, I went on a date with someone. Somebody I thought I could trust, because he was friends with someone I trusted. He was really nice and sweet and we’d talked on the phone a couple of times, and we decided to meet for drinks. We hit it off, and at some point, I got up to go to the bathroom and I left my drink on the table.

I probably don’t need to go into anything further than that. You get it. And it wasn’t even the first time a guy did this to me. Almost every woman I know has had this happen to her. If this has happened to you, I don’t care if you’re my worst fucking enemy in the world, I don’t care if you hit my dog with your car, if you lived through this, I’m so sorry that it happened to you. But I read something in which someone described a situation they were currently in, an intensely emotional and fraught situation, as feeling similar to when they were raped. And while I don’t want to police the feelings of other people on the subject of their own experiences, it struck me as an inappropriate comparison. But it happens all the time. I know I’ve done it in the past, before I realized that it’s impossible to separate what happened to me from what’s happened to lots of other people. Before I realized that survivors can victimize each other, no matter their intentions.

This is one of those rare occasions where I debated whether or not to post, because I’m so afraid of what will be said to/about me about something this personal. But no one seems to be talking about this. Even people I admire, whom I know must have noticed. And I know for a fact that there are other people who were similarly triggered by this comparison. So I had to get it off my chest.

There’s a potential for emotional injury here, so that’s why the comments are closed. This isn’t for gossip, it isn’t for discussion. It’s just something I had to say. No matter who you are, no matter what your experience was, no matter what you’re feeling, or how similar it feels to your experience, remember that you’re not the only person who has had that thing happen to them. When you compare something to rape, you’re comparing it to someone else’s rape, too, minimizing and trivializing their trauma. And if you accidentally compare someone to your rapist, you might be comparing them to their rapist. The psychological harm that causes a person… I can’t even imagine how I would feel if someone did that to me.

So, that’s it. Just please don’t compare stuff that isn’t rape to rape. And I’m sorry that it happened to you, too.

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