Advice because life is short:
Of all life’s big questions, a question you probably need not spend too much of your valuable time trying to figure out is this – which rapes have a “minor impact” on victims. The answer is probably none, and if you think otherwise you need to drop your drawers and volunteer to submit to a full smorgasbord of de-humanising possibilities to prove your point, an experience that will be enhanced by others telling you how inconsequential you must be finding it all. Even then your understanding will be incomplete; rape is non-voluntary for its victims.
Why do I bring this advice to you? Because Queensland Attorney-General Kerry Shine (you might remember the Attorney-General from his state prosecutor’s conduct in the infamous Aurukun child rape case) is certain that “some circumstances can be of minor, some can be of major damage to a victim”. What is he on about?
“They do vary in intensity from time to time.
“For example, a digital rape is a technical rape, but that is far less serious than an aggravated form of rape.”
Reassuring from the highest law officer in that state, no? Outrageous moments of sexism in the public sphere always come in twos. First there is the ‘gaffe’ itself and then there are the readers’ comments in mainstream newspapers.
Advice to readers of mainstream newspapers:
While there is no “minor impact”, there may indeed be varying degrees of “major impact” on victims of rape but imagining you can quantify it all from your computer chair is not the best use of your empathy (limited as it may be) for rape victims. Really. You all need not preoccupy yourselves further with envisioning various rape scenarios (ie. drunk or sober, virgin or sexually active, boyfriend or stranger, penis or finger) and matching them for best fit against your feeble list of adjectives. Spare us your judgemental little views on what a rape survivor might feel. Your ignorance is vast and there are so many other things of which you know equally little available for your trivialisation.
However, if one was to dedicate time to considering which rapes might have a “minor impact” on victims, where would one expect to find so many men with so much expertise on the impacts of rape on victims? A support group for male survivors of sexual abuse? Male employees of a specialised sexual assault response team? Or.. The Courier Mail comments page? …I hope you trusted in the good men of Queensland and their comments in the state’s broadsheet. (NB: the comments have subsequently improved in balance). (As opinionated as the male readers were I must give special mention to Julia’s comment, which I enjoyed for its optimistic reference to “the feminist industry”. You may wonder where we go for our commercial production and sale of feminism. Julia’s hint: expect to find a conspiracy of political correctness somewhere packaging up the belief that “all rapes are horrific”. Sounds a tad benign to me for an entire industry of feminism, but then Julia finds it quite the radical notion when she is arguing that some rapes are all beer and skittles. In fact, beer, or any alcoholic beverage, is a big part of Julia’s theory on the fun side to rape).
Advice to Attorneys-General everywhere:
Invariably after the public ‘gaffe’ and the moronic chatter comes the final insult. Apologies I detest and which only make it worse? The “I’m sorry if this has offended you” apology. Used consistently in public statements and most readily by politicians, this is not an apology. A-G Shine gives us “If any offence has been taken then I unreservedly apologise”. Try this on for size instead, Shine-y one. “I was trying to explain something but in doing so said something very wrong and it offended people and because what I said was wrong, hurtful and deeply offensive I am unreservedly apologising”.