But it still hurts terribly when someone with far more influence than us brings out a bulldozer to make the job ever so much more difficult. Which is exactly what actress Helen Mirren did in an interview with GQ Magazine when she gave rape apologists ammunition that they will be using for generations.
As reported by the Boston Herald:
Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren might wanna stick to acting. The British leading lady declared, in the October issue of GQ magazine that not all date rape is a crime.The first response to Mirren's comments must be this: "Date" rape is rape. There is no gray area. Rape is an act of violence. No means no, whenever it is said and the rapist should be brought to court. And Mike Tyson is a rapist.
The actress explained that if, for instance, a woman is engaged in voluntary sexual activity with a man but says 'no' at the very last minute, she'll have a hard time bringing the perpetrator to court, BBC News reported.
"I don't think she can have that man into court under those circumstances," she told the magazine.
A victim of date rape herself, Mirren admitted to being raped "a couple of times" but it was not brutal. "Not with excessive violence, or being hit, but rather being locked in a room and made to have sex against my will," the actress recounted. Mirren never reported the incidents to the police. "You couldn’t do that in those days," she said.
The 63-year-old "The Queen" star admits that date rape falls into a gray area. "It’s such a tricky area, isn’t it? Especially if there is no violence. I mean, look at Mike Tyson. I don’t think he was a rapist," said the actress.
"I guess it is one of the many subtle parts of the men/women relationship that has to be negotiated and worked out between them," she said.
Rape is not a subtle part of a "men/woman relationship." Rape is an act by a rapist against a rape victim.
Basically, an important woman from a nation that has a terrifyingly low rape conviction rate has turned herself into the spokeswoman for rape apologists.
I agree with Julie Bindel at the Guardian UK's Comment is Free when she writes:
How awful for her, not just being raped, but not allowing herself to believe that it was "real rape", presumably simply because she was not left bleeding and injured. I sympathise with her, as I would any woman who endured such horrendous acts of sexual violence.So to - as Melissa once described - the spectacularly talented, fiercely cool, and undeniably stunning Helen Mirren, let me say that your admission that you were raped was a brave one. But that doesn't change the fact that during that admission you did more damage than you can ever imagine.
But I also feel very, very angry with Mirren. How dare she impose her twisted logic upon other women who have endured similar, and want the right to demand justice as a rape victim or survivor? What gives her the right to proclaim that Mike Tyson, who served six years in prison for raping a woman in 1992, is not a rapist, as she said in the interview? How would his victim feel if she read her words? That brave woman who reported the attack to the police and endured a court case to ensure he paid for his crime?
But we will continue with our teaspoons, and hope one day you will join us and help us slowly remove water from this sea that you've helped refill.