Brock Turner’s victim hit on an exceptionally descriptive term to explain how rape made her feel. Even though she was unconscious during the entire episode, she expressed, in her stirring statement, that she felt “contaminated.”
To get an idea why rape is not solely the result of being violently overwhelmed, please listen to her heart breaking comments.
Victims don’t have to be overwhelmed by violence to feel that sense of “contamination.” Whether they are totally out cold like Turner’s victim, drugged or defrauded, they will feel contaminated and defiled when they learn that someone exploited their genitals without their “consent.”
Consent is not simply agreement. Even when the victim says “yes,” if the offender deliberately tricked them into saying yes, or created a circumstance in which they did so under duress, they will feel exploited, contaminated and defiled.
The sense of feeling contaminated cannot simply be washed away.
Contamination has a hauntingly diminishing quality that affects the core of a person’s psyche. In sexual assault by fraud, when the offender has defiled the victim in several instances over time, which was the case as long as their hoax persisted, the victim’s ultimate recognition is experienced as layer after layer of contamination. And it is that perpetual humiliation that victims must learn to overcome in order to regain their dignity, their power and their self respect.
Society has grasped the horror of contamination that affects victims when they have been violently raped, but they don’t comprehend that the same sense of contamination affects all rape victims no matter what tool undermined their consent.
Violence is a heinously cruel form of AGGRAVATED rape. But the same sense of contamination affects victims in all forms of sexual assault.