Things that aren’t okay: rape metaphors

You know what wasn’t raped? Land that has coal mines on it. Or a tree that has had its limbs trimmed. Or a novel whose new translation you don’t like. Rape metaphors are questionable generally, but right now I am on a rant about the “I care so much about the quality of this object or entity that I think the desecration of it should be likened to rape.” I think this has been bothering me lately because I am home and my dad (who knows I was raped) makes this kind of metaphor often. Also, I have even heard people who consider themselves aware of issues related to rape and sexual assault do this and it pisses me off majorly.

A few things wrong with using rape as a metaphor this way:

1. It is triggering to survivors (and you never know 100% if there is a survivor in your vicinity).
2. It is an incredibly insulting metaphor to survivors. So you mean to tell me that a person after they have been raped has lost some of their value, aesthetic or otherwise (like the land, the tree, the novel, etc.)? Excuse me, but I am still just as attractive and just as valuable as I was before I was raped. Yes, it wounded me (which I assume is why anyone thinks the metaphor is appropriate), but my wounds are not something that should make me any less valued by another person. If you value you me less (like you would value land less after it has coal mines put on it) then you are an asshole.
3. It is trivializing. Yes, it is terrible when people mine on a beautiful landscape or give a novel a bad translation. It is not nearly as terrible as when one person rapes another. It just isn’t.

I really wish I could work up the courage to say this to my dad and other relatives and adults in my life who use this kind of metaphor all the time. I wish I could tell them what I tell friends who are being careless and use a rape metaphor this way, “You mean to tell me that the land is a human with a bodily opening that was nonconsensually penetrated with an object or body part by another human being and that that has something to do with coal mines? Explain, please.”


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