Feeling, Relating, Existing

On emotion and the human dimension

Trivializing the Trauma of Rape

Being raped is a trauma that shatters its victim’s emotional world

As someone who has devoted more than two decades to the understanding and therapeutic approach to emotional trauma (routledge.com), I was absolutely appalled by Todd Akin’s ludicrous remarks about rape. To even speak of “legitimate rape,” a glaring oxymoron, trivializes the terrible trauma of being raped. The experience of being raped is a trauma that shatters its victim’s emotional world, destroying any sense of personal inviolability and safety that he or she may have had. A victim of rape is changed forever—he or she will never experience himself or herself, or the world, in the same way again.

Thoughtless remarks like Akin’s exacerbate the horrible shame that victims of rape often already feel. Shame on you, Mr. Akin!

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Copyright Robert Stolorow

Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D. is one of the original members of the International Council for Psychoanalytic Self Psychology, which stems from the work of Heinz Kohut.


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