There is a view that some rape is worse than other rape. This is a viewpoint that I can understand. But the trouble with saying that some rape is worse than others implies that some rape is better.
About 25 years ago I was raped by an ex-boyfriend, primarily as punishment for ending our relationship. The experience was so upsetting that I blocked it from my consciousness. I can now remember telling myself that the experience was not going to affect me and my life. But of course it did. About 10 years later something triggered the memory and I then suffered four years of depression, at times suicidal. As I am typing now my hands are trembling and tears are pricking my eyes. I will never be fully over the rape or the destruction that this act caused me and my children. They “lost” their mother for four years when they were just babies, a fact that haunts me constantly.
But, I knew the aggressor, he wasn’t a stranger. It happened on a bed, not on the ground down a filthy, dark alley. He was alone, there wasn’t a queue of aggressors. And I didn’t at any point think that he would kill me, there was no knife to my throat or threats hissed at me. It could have been worse – much worse.
Rape is an act of violent aggression against another person. It leaves the victim feeling overwhelmed, dirty, shameful, angry, confused, fearful, helpless and depressed. It rips you apart mentally. It demeans. It destroys your sense of self. It destroys trust. It destroys.
For the victim, rape is the worst – knowing that another person has been victim to an even more horrifying event is of no comfort. You are alone in your own, heartbreaking space.
So no, not all rape is the same – it is uniquely appalling for each victim. And sometimes it is even worse than that.