On Being Raped
Raymond M. Douglas
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A personal and moral inquiry into the crime we do our best to ignore: the rape of adult men
When Raymond M. Douglas was an eighteen-year-old living in Europe, he was brutally raped by a Catholic priest. He eventually moved to the United States and became a highly regarded historian, writing with great care about the violent expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe after the Second World War, and parsing the complicated moral questions of these actions. But until now, Douglas has been silent about his own experience of trauma.
In On Being Raped, Douglas recounts this painful event and his later attempts to seek help to lay bare the physical and psychological trauma of a crime we still don’t openly discuss: the rape of adult men by men. With eloquence and passion, he examines the requirements society implicitly places upon men who are victims of rape, examines the reasons for our resounding silence around this issue, and reveals how alarmingly prevalent this kind of sexual violence truly is.
An insightful and sensitive analysis of a type of bodily violation that we either joke about or ignore, On Being Raped promises to open an important dialogue about male rape and what needs to be done to provide adequate services and support for victims. “But before that can happen,” writes Douglas, “men who have been raped will have to come out of the shadows...A start has to be made somewhere. This is my attempt at one.”
himself. The evening light fell on my face; I could not see his. It occurred to me that thus far he had not missed a single trick. The monsignor had a slim manila file in front of him, with my name on the cover. Evidently somebody had been making inquiries. He began by asking me to pray with him. I did. Then followed a series of questions on my religious practices and observances; views on certain theological and doctrinal controversies of the day; attitudes toward the Church. It seemed that the
disinclination to address any element of what had occurred to me that wasn’t clamoring for my immediate attention. It ought to go without saying, but clearly doesn’t, that responding physically to a sexual assault, whether through erection, lubrication, or orgasm, indicates precisely nothing about one’s sexual identity or degree of consent. For men and women alike, such reactions may not be characteristic, but neither are they at all uncommon. Their only significance ought to be that attempts by
rapist decided that we should transfer the scene of operations back to the living room. He wanted a drink. Dragging me with him, he thrust me into a fireside chair and helped himself to a bottle and a glass. His fury was unabated and he stood over me, red-faced, continuing from a range of a very few inches to favor me with his astonishingly comprehensive views on my flaws of character, my arrogance, my holier-than-thou attitude, above all my betrayal of the affection and concern he had showered
Father. Can I go into the kitchen and make you something, Father? Anything to keep him talking. I didn’t seriously imagine that he would completely forget the clock and continue like this until daybreak. But there was no harm in trying, even if it was certain to fail. All I truly hoped would come of stalling was to give him less time to dispose of my body, so that somebody, at least, would know what had become of me. Keeping him engaged, trying to distract his attention from the passage of time,
night, out of all of them, be relegated to the place it belongs—an unpleasant experience from my past, but one that was survived and surmounted? The answer, I think, is that rape—my rape, anyway; probably most other people’s also—doesn’t allow for that kind of separation between the event and the self. Rape is knowledge, but not the sort that does you, or anybody else, any good. When I was raped, I learned things about myself and the world I live in that it would have been far better never to