This is a response to the letter printed by Jessica Kaufman (Friday, Sept 29).
I am a rape victim and at the time and many years after I felt that I would have rather been dead than have gone through that horrible experience. I am an educated woman, I knew all the myths on rape, and I came to realize most of them are true. It is obvious to me that neither you nor anyone you have cared for has been put through this situation. And if so, I congratulate you on having a better grasp on coping than I, and many others I know.
You are also wrong to think rape victims are not also the victims of violent crimes. By definition rape is sexual intercourse without consent and chiefly by force. The act itself, even if no other physical harm is done, is extremely violent. And unlike those being murdered, who are less fortunate, as you seem to think, rape victims and those close to them live with their trauma for the rest of their lives.
True, there are crimes worse than rape. But imagine being 13 and having all choice taken away from you. The consequences of what my offender did to me will be with me for the rest of my life, something I cannot say for him.
The myth you talked about is true. I became a less valuable person to others around me and myself. Yes, families who must suffer after losing a loved one to a murder are horribly wronged, but so are those of rape victims. The men in my family never looked at me the same, even seven years later. The women still have pity for me and wonder how I might ever carry on a normal relationship.
I am proud to say that I have lived through this experience and someday I might be able to help women who have gone through the same. But I feel it is people and opinions like yours that you so grossly felt the need to make public that affect views on rape and how to deal with it more than any myth. It should not be about which crime is worse, or who should feel more traumatized. Instead it should be about every victimized person being allowed to react and recover in their own time, not what you delegate necessary.