In case you didn’t know, OITNB stands for “Orange Is The New Black.”
To be perfectly honest, I don’t even watch this show. Many of the people I am connected with online watch it. Everyone says I’ll love it and that I should invest my time in watching it as well, yet I don’t feel compelled in the slightest to invest my time. I guess it’s that “mom” part of me that wants to share T.V. with my kid. That being said, I did still click on the article – as I generally do when OITNB makes headlines in any way – and I was moved to speak on the matter. I just couldn’t not say something after reading it.
Now, as an American I guess I feel entitled to have an opinion on someone else’s opinion. I hear a good many people say that it’s a disease we have from the liberties we are so given by residing here. (That’s not true, there’s an imbalance of power and privilege that exists, but that’s a different opinion blurb for another day). As I said previously, I generally click on articles pertaining to OITNB simply because so many people I know watch it. This helps me listen with some basis of understanding when they’re gushing about their favorite parts.
The title of the article is what truly grabbed my attention: “Pennsatucky’s Sympathy For Her Rapist in ‘Orange is the New Black’ Was an Uncomfortable Reminder of my own Rape.’ The thing is – I think all women are sexually assaulted and/or raped in their lives. The sad truth is that many women don’t realize it. For me personally, I was sexually assaulted in one way or another starting at seven years old until I was twenty-one years old by friends, boyfriends, and strangers. As so many young ladies do not see “boys being boys” (an excuse created by misogynists that should promptly be removed from our culture entirely) as the assault it truly was unto them. I never realized what was happening to me qualified as rape. Until a few years ago the idea that “the absence of ‘no’ is still rape” was a foreign concept. I was never taught that and consequently never categorized the unwanted interactions as assault or rape.
Even though there has been question lately about whether or not is legitimately racially conscious comes into question – but it appears to me the show is doing brilliantly to show that rape isn’t what you see in the movies all the time. It can be subtle, and they can trick you into thinking it’s not rape. They may not even actively be trying, but it is rape. Believe it or not, the crime may come as shock to both you and your assailant.
And there is sympathy to be felt as a victim – strange as it may sound. People you love and trust can do these things to you. It is natural that you want to love them, forgive them, and move on. Spouses raped by spouses don’t want to end a marriage over what they truly believe is a confusion of consent. Advances are made daily in science but so much more slowly in social awareness. Archaic beliefs that marriages must have sex almost daily to successfully prevail are still very much alive. In addition to those unacceptable expectations, sex-drive media exposure makes us too often forget that we owe our bodies to no one.
Feelings aside, sexual assault and rape are crimes. I don’t want anyone growing up feeling as though they are less because of what has happened to them the way that I always felt less for not being able to prevent what happened to me. There are no tiers defining the levels sexual assault and rape. It is all bad and your status as victim is not a badge to be worn with ranks of severity. Psychological trauma shapes you and will continue to define you are for the rest of your life. Please always seek assistance when you’ve been sexually assaulted or raped.