Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Americans [seem to] like to honor defining moments. We have holidays, half-days, ceremonies, and rights-of-passage. We have first-time-days and never-again-just-this-once-so special days. We have preparation-days like baby and bridal showers. We have rehearsal-dinners and after-brunches. We even honor the dead. We have funerals, mourning parlors, and marches of remembrance. New shoes, back-packs and pencils-perfectly-sharpened carry the smell of school-starts, while salt, bread and something-useful-adorned-with-ribbon honor new homes. Most organized religions require a rite-of-passage for maturity and even a jail-sentence is noted by a cloak-figured-Judge’s pounding gravel. In the US, each of these defining moments has an associated industry and currency.  Celebratory events generally require consumables. We eat them, wear them, throw them, give and receive them, talk about them, and, as is the case with consumption, we use them up. Capitalism thrives on our longings for inclusion and participation.

The United States originated as a mixing pot. Most of us are descendants of the original expatriates:  refugees, wealthy-people-craving-something-new, slaves and indentured servants. This cultural conglomeration, super-imposed on the already thriving cultures that inhabited what we now call ‘our Country’ may have some obscure something to do with our tenacious cling to tradition and celebratory events. Whatever the origin, we surely act out of the belief that defining moments matter.

How is it then that a defining moment for one out of three (!) females and one tenth of this number (!) males, is not only deep-sixed in the demarcation department, but deliberately and systemically omitted?  This is an enormous number.  Consider for a moment the size and population of our world. In the United States alone, just the Wedding Industry generates over 60 billion dollars a year. This figure excludes honeymoons, which add an estimated 4 to 8 billion. And since Gay Marriage is only so recently legalized, and still in only some places, I have to assume this additional, potential revenue is also not included.

Imagine how much money could be made if for every incident when a person chooses to rape (99% of these perpetrators are male) and for every person who survives, the loved ones of both orchestrated an event.

Please note that this article does not intend to dishonor the victims who do not [physically] survive rape. It’s simply that revenue for the death-industry is already counted within our current system of checks and balances. We even sell land-shares - funeral plots - in preparation. As far as I know, time-sharing in the funereal industry is illegal, unless Native Americans are valued enough to be compensated as previous inhabitants, so revenue for dead rapists and dead rape victims falls within existing Industry profit margins.

But for the people who survive.  Think what a business this could be.  We could honor the event by creating a surrounding milieu that:

A.            Offers validation rather than denial.
B.            Offers telling rather than silence.
C.            Offers compassion rather than blame and shame.
D.            Offers movement rather than inhibition.
E.            Offers treatment rather than a reduction in human services.

Given that rape happens with ferocious regularity, and given that the word 'rape' - never mind the subject - is taboo, and given that we know that recovery requires a reciprocal loop that includes talking, listening and mutual validation, I could go on and on about the potential benefits to be had by adding rape to our cultural list of visible, enfranchised, defining moments. Rape could sit next to the other occasions of loss that we gather to share and grieve about. But perhaps the simple possibility of increasing revenue to wealthy Americans will be enough to turn the tide.

Unfortunately though, given our Global Rape Culture, rape is a four-letter word. (At least in English.) But even this doesn’t rationalize our omission. Dead, shot, kill, scar, fuck, cunt, dick, dark, duel, and fail all have four letters, and these words are enfranchised.

Oh well, maybe the utter abhorrence of the topic and the utter denial of the experience and the people who have lived through it, as well as their loved ones and extended communities, is simply a financial issue. I’m frankly surprised that some of our more adept economic analysts haven’t thought of this. Just think. What if talking about rape and its’ aftermath could save the world from monetary disaster?

OMIT: (verb)
1.     to negate to do or include
2.     to fail (to do something)


  1. absolutely brilliant. biting, thorough, satirical, & relentless. also publishable. wonderful work.

  2. You inspire me so much, Andrea. I watch ur videos and say to myself, "I'm going to be okay." This is why I'm linking to you on - was just adding it now so thought I'd let you know in case you don't get ping-backs. :)


  3. Thank you Molly. For reading, and for your kind words.
    Best to you.