Have I ever mentioned that blogs make a crappy way to perform therapy?

Because they do.

Feministing (and i believe some other blogs as well) posted a story on another female blogger’s experience of what we shall refer to for the moment as unwanted sex.

Moe from Jezebel had posted about the Cosmo “grey rape” story, and recounts her own experience.

Ann from Feministing leads the charge for calling it rape, and explains her rationale why.

Both have clear stakes here…Moe states that for her to process the event as ultimately non-harmful to her, she can’t view it within her idea of what rape is.

Ann details why in order to maintain the category of rape in a meaningful sense, it must encompass such events fully and not as an afterthought.

Guess what?

You’re doing it wrong.

Specifically counter-claiming another person’s history is a shitty way of doing re-definitional work. If moe says it wasn’t rape, then i don’t know many people better suited to make that call. If one were to believe as ann does (and i agree) that this event ought to morally and legally fall into the category of rape, then one ought to gently leave this particular narrative off to the side for the moment.

It is far, far more productive to find people who previously dismissed their experiences of so called grey rape and have now come to see them as sexual assaults. After that individual has lost their investment in minimizing their experience, and processed the resulting backlog of trauma….

Or find an individual who finds power in labeling their experience rape even if they did not find it overwhelmingly traumatic, and who can talk to the ways in which the total victimhood complex is a harmful fiction, and that one need not be devastated to label unwanted sex as morally and legally wrong.

Those are stories that can powerfully illustrate the need to take date and acquaintance rape seriously as both and individual crime and as sexualized terrorism.

Those are moral actors who can explain in their own words why the “grey” doesn’t cut it.

It is possible to make a claim on the public language of sex and sexual violence without descending into playing “nuh-uh” with other bloggers about if they were raped or not.

It looks silly, but the awkwardness conceals a underlying lack of ethical concern. A blog is not a device for therapy. Someone else’s story is not your lever for moving the world.

Politely say you disagree. Cite another story in response. Move the conversation on to ground that isn’t so shaky, alright? This investment in “But you WERE!” is unsettling at best…