[T]he auditing and ranking of survivors of sexual violence and/or the auditing and ranking of various acts of sexual violence itself IS RAPE APOLOGIA. The intent of the person engaging in it is irrelevant: Auditing and ranking survivors and acts of sexual violence functions to suggest that some acts of sexual violence are tolerable, and, further, that if a survivor of the “not as bad” sort of sexual violence has lasting psychic injury from that trauma, they are “overreacting.” Accusing survivors of abuse of being attention-seeking, melodramatic, lying is a centerpiece of silencing victims.


For many survivors of sexual abuse, lasting trauma is defined not by the actual acts, not by their quality or quantity, but by the support they receive following the abuse. Dawkins notes that, as soon as he got away from his abuser, “I ran to tell my friends, many of whom had had the same experience with him.” He may not recognize that as a crucial point in his not suffering lasting harm, but the fact that he immediately found support among peers who validated his experience, who neither shamed him nor called him a liar, and the fact that, years later, they would still speak to one another about the abuse after the abuser died, is an invaluable resource to a survivor, which many of us do not have.

To the contrary, many survivors of sexual abuse are silenced and neglected and shamed by the very people who are meant to support and protect us.

The profound feelings of unsafety engendered by being failed in this way after surviving sexual violence is, for a number of survivors, equally or even more traumatic than the abuse itself.


Sexual violence does not exist as a series of unrelated abuses that act in competition with one another for attention and concern, but as a spectrum of abuse on which exists both women being creeped on in elevators by strangers and rapes so brutal their victims do not survive.

The implication that there are survivors of sexual violence who have no reason or right to “complain” as long as there are survivors who have experienced something “worse” somewhere in the world not only elides that post-abuse support profoundly affects trauma prognoses, but also creates a justification for ignoring all but only the “worst” manifestations of sexual violence, which necessarily means neglecting survivors in a way that makes them vulnerable to further trauma.

"Rape ranking" is not a neutral position: It is active rape apologia that harms survivors and abets predators.


— Melissa McEwan, “Dawkins Defends Himself with More Rape Apologia

The whole piece is worth a read, but excerpted here to highlight that:

1. The kind of support people receive (or fail to receive) after a sexual assault has a huge impact on the degree to which they retain lingering trauma from their experience with sexual violence.

2. Boiling the experience of sexual violence down to the assault itself and ranking the “seriousness” of peoples’ trauma (including our own) based on assumptions about the nature of that assault supports rape culture.

Both are things that, as a survivor, I could probably use to remind myself every day. Delegitimizing my own experience is supportive of rape culture. My still-painful memories of my experiences would be completely different if the people I tried to talk to about them had responded differently. It’s not just about what “happened.” It’s about what happened next.

Thanks for reblogging my last post.
It didn’t really tell my story, so I thought I’d tell you it.
I was twelve and going to see Max Payne at a mateneè movie which was my first date with a 15 year old boy. He kissed me on the cheek and held my hand for the beginning of the movie after insisting we sit in the back, you know, where the floor is before the next row of chairs. No one else was in the movie theater except us. He told me to get on the floor and so I did. We had started making out (badly I might add), he told me to take my pants off and I told him I didn’t want to. He forced them off me and molested me. I started screaming and he shoved his tongue down my throat. I cried. He threw me against a chair and broke 2 of my right ribs and raped me four times with each of the four condoms he had flaunted to me from his wallet. I don’t remember how long I sat on that floor crying. I don’t remember how long I stood outside waiting for my friend to come get me. I do remember writing about the incident in my journal later that night and my mom reading it the next day and grounding me for it. It took me two years of a relationship to even think about letting someone touch me again. I’m still with the guy of two years. It will be three years in May. I started boxing after I was raped, so I became stronger from it, but nothing has stopped the nightmares. I woke up bleeding on my arm once from squeezing it so tight. But time will prevail and I will grow wiser from it.
Thanks for letting me share my story!(:


Sexual Violence Prevention Advocates, We Need Your Help

We are just days away from launching the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook, a powerful tool that helps survivors of sexual violence connect with other survivors and share information about their experience with friends. 

We want to get this tool into the hands of people who need it ASAP. 

We need your help to connect. We are currently coordinating an outreach effort to contact abuse counseling services, rape crisis centers, and other similar organizations. More information about how you can help is here:


Please reblog. Thanks!