On Being Raped by Raymond M. Douglas
Rape is a serious subject, and it’s being discussed much more openly and frequently these days. It’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s good that we’re slowly dismantling misperceptions and letting survivors tell their stories, and it’s bad that rape culture is still a thing and people are still being stubborn assholes about shaming the victims and not actually bringing rapists to responsibility. I won’t get on my soapbox, but I am trying to read enlightening and educational material to help guide conversations with others as they arise. The Chancellor heard an interview with Raymond M. Douglas on NPR and recommended his book to me.
On Being Raped deals with Douglas’s experience of being raped by a Catholic priest when he was eighteen years old. The decades-long aftermath followed him throughout his successful career, marriage, and family life. His book chronicles the act, the aftermath, his mental processes, and the trauma he endured as a result. He also provides a unique perspective as a straight man who endured rape, as popular culture often shoehorns rape victims into women or gay men. His experience is not prescriptive but rather provides a highly personal account of what rape and society’s response has done to him.
Douglas is a precise academic writer, and his book is both well-written and gut-wrenching. It delves into an individual’s state-of-mind after being raped, and it explains the long-reaching consequences of this act and the state’s failure to act after a rape. Douglas’s rapist, like so many before and after him, went unconvicted, even though Douglas himself went to the police. It’s a sad situation, one we cannot diminish or take for granted. Douglas speaks up in the hope that his story will educate others and help us prevent the same from happening to someone else. It’s not a pleasurable read, but oh my word, it is so very important. Read at your own discretion, though. I have never been molested or sexually assaulted, so I do not carry the same baggage of someone who has. It might be too heavy if you are a survivor, so again, I add my word of caution. [Also, hugs and love to you, survivor. I see you. I hear you. I fight for you]