There Is Life After Sexual Assault

After the Steubenville rape case, there have been numerous blog posts (including mine) dissecting aspects of rape culture. Writer Elizabeth Bear makes an excellent point in her blog: when people say that the survivor had her whole life ahead of her, they fail to see that she still does.

Bear writes: “Surviving sexual assault is not the end of a life. Rape culture includes this pervasive idea that the person who is raped is ruined forever, that ‘she’ll never be the same,’ that she’s soiled and broken. Guess what? Hundreds and hundreds of rape survivors go on to lead productive, fulfilling lives! Yes, it’s an act of violence. Yes, it’s a trauma, and it should never happen to anyone, and surviving violence–sexual or otherwise–is not easy or clean.”

The discourse on sexual assault needs to stop using the language of purity and wholeness because it reinforces cultural stereotypes. Individual survivors are, of course, free to use whatever language they wish to process their experiences, but general discussions should avoid loaded terms.

About Jeana

Jeana

Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • Anonymoose

    This is going to sound odd but …

    When I see an obese woman (which there are so many these days) I often wonder if the chance is quite high that she is obese because she was sexually assaulted or harassed and now is 1) completely uninterested in doing the things required to maintain a healthy weight because of depression and anger 2) purposely trying to be as unattractive as possible to anyone who might want her so that it might greatly lessen her chance of sexual assault in the future. Maybe the same is true for guys. We don’t know how many men are sexually assaulted but maybe that number is quite high and obesity is one of the results.

    If this is true, then it may be somewhat an end of a woman’s life. At least, an end of a healthty life.

  • http://twitter.com/foxyfolklorist Jeana Jorgensen

    That’s an interesting thought… but I doubt it’s true, any more than the stereotype that “all people who are into kink/BDSM have been abused” is true (for the record, despite 50 Shades of Grey popularizing the idea, it is SO not true).

    Plus, people react differently to mental health issues such as depression. Some overeat, others under-eat. So I’d really hate to generalize.

    That being said, I’ve talked to a handful of individuals who said something along the lines of your second point, not wanting to be attractive so that it wouldn’t happen again. So maybe that sort of thought process happens for some people… but again, I would be wary of generalizing it to everyone.

  • http://twitter.com/foxyfolklorist Jeana Jorgensen

    That’s an interesting thought… but I doubt it’s true, any more than the stereotype that “all people who are into kink/BDSM have been abused” is true (for the record, despite 50 Shades of Grey popularizing the idea, it is SO not true).

    Plus, people react differently to mental health issues such as depression. Some overeat, others under-eat. So I’d really hate to generalize.

    That being said, I’ve talked to a handful of individuals who said something along the lines of your second point, not wanting to be attractive so that it wouldn’t happen again. So maybe that sort of thought process happens for some people… but again, I would be wary of generalizing it to everyone.

  • http://twitter.com/foxyfolklorist Jeana Jorgensen

    That’s an interesting thought… but I doubt it’s true, any more than the stereotype that “all people who are into kink/BDSM have been abused” is true (for the record, despite 50 Shades of Grey popularizing the idea, it is SO not true).

    Plus, people react differently to mental health issues such as depression. Some overeat, others under-eat. So I’d really hate to generalize.

    That being said, I’ve talked to a handful of individuals who said something along the lines of your second point, not wanting to be attractive so that it wouldn’t happen again. So maybe that sort of thought process happens for some people… but again, I would be wary of generalizing it to everyone.

  • http://twitter.com/foxyfolklorist Jeana Jorgensen

    That’s an interesting thought… but I doubt it’s true, any more than the stereotype that “all people who are into kink/BDSM have been abused” is true (for the record, despite 50 Shades of Grey popularizing the idea, it is SO not true).

    Plus, people react differently to mental health issues such as depression. Some overeat, others under-eat. So I’d really hate to generalize.

    That being said, I’ve talked to a handful of individuals who said something along the lines of your second point, not wanting to be attractive so that it wouldn’t happen again. So maybe that sort of thought process happens for some people… but again, I would be wary of generalizing it to everyone.

  • http://twitter.com/foxyfolklorist Jeana Jorgensen

    That’s an interesting thought… but I doubt it’s true, any more than the stereotype that “all people who are into kink/BDSM have been abused” is true (for the record, despite 50 Shades of Grey popularizing the idea, it is SO not true).

    Plus, people react differently to mental health issues such as depression. Some overeat, others under-eat. So I’d really hate to generalize.

    That being said, I’ve talked to a handful of individuals who said something along the lines of your second point, not wanting to be attractive so that it wouldn’t happen again. So maybe that sort of thought process happens for some people… but again, I would be wary of generalizing it to everyone.

  • http://twitter.com/foxyfolklorist Jeana Jorgensen

    That’s an interesting thought… but I doubt it’s true, any more than the stereotype that “all people who are into kink/BDSM have been abused” is true (for the record, despite 50 Shades of Grey popularizing the idea, it is SO not true).

    Plus, people react differently to mental health issues such as depression. Some overeat, others under-eat. So I’d really hate to generalize.

    That being said, I’ve talked to a handful of individuals who said something along the lines of your second point, not wanting to be attractive so that it wouldn’t happen again. So maybe that sort of thought process happens for some people… but again, I would be wary of generalizing it to everyone.