Disclaimer: Before I begin, I just want to stress that I am NOT downplaying the seriousness of rape, nor am I invalidating the experiences of people who have been raped or sexually assaulted in the past. I have relatives who have been raped, so I fully recognise that it is a horrible crime, and under no circumstances is it okay to force one's will upon anyone in this way.
I have decided to go anonymous for this myTake, as I foresee it to bring to light an extremely controversial and sensitive topic that many people will not agree with.
To start with, I have noticed a trend of certain people arguing that they would rather die than be raped, or that rape is worse than murder or physical assault. I once even came across a poll where the majority of voters (especially female) perceived rape as worse than castration. These views all point towards a general trend that sees rape as being uniquely damaging. I can understand and empathise with this view, as there are indeed clear psychological, and sometimes physical, repercussions of rape. Victims can develop PTSD, anxiety, depression and eating disorders as a result of their experience. It can make them feel as if the life has been completely sucked out of them, they cannot live anymore due to the pain that being raped has introduced into their lives.
On the other hand, I have an issue with this, as it makes the automatic assumption that someone's fate is better off with them being DEAD, as in a complete end to their existence, instead of living past the incident. This, and the additional idea that castration, the permanent removal of the genitals - compromising the victim's ability to experience sexual pleasure for the rest of their life, is not as bad as non-consensual sex.
Mentalities such as this make the deterministic assumption that rape is an intrinsically traumatic and bleak experience for every single victim who goes through it, where they're 'better off dead' or will cope better if they had their genitals mutilated instead. When in fact, people's experiences with rape and the aftermath are vastly different. For some, it could drive them to suicide, but for others it could have very little effect if at all, with them leading a perfectly normal life after being raped. At times, some people don't even realise that what they've experienced was actually rape by it's true definition (in which there are a lot of grey areas), so therefore may not be as affected as those who consciously knew they were being raped.
My mother is a prime example of this, she was raped multiple times when she was a teenager by her stepfather, however she has told me that it made her a stronger person, and she didn't allow what was done to her make her weak and powerless - she felt that letting it consume her would mean her rapist would have won, holding a firm grasp on her ability to live her life normally. Hence it somewhat bothers me on a personal level, the idea that some people suggest that my mother should die, rather than living the successful life that she does now despite the fact she was raped multiple times.
I also believe that the reason so many people see rape as so severe is because it is a act of violation and control combined with sex, something which is still considered rather taboo in our society. This means that the idea of someone taking something so intimate and forbidden away from someone is perceived as utterly unfathomable. Sex is something that should be given, not taken. This could possibly feed into the psychological trauma that the rape victim feels.
To sum up, I just want you to reflect.
If someone broke into your house right now, armed with a chainsaw, gave you an ultimatum between being hacked to death or to have sex with him, which would you realistically choose? I know this seems morbid and twisted, but just think. How is it possible to say something that you've never experienced before is worse than death?
Once you end a life it's over. No chance to heal or continue to live their lives. As bad as rape is, there's still a chance for recovery and moving on from the trauma. I understand that for many rape victims the reality of their predicament leaves them feeling like they'd rather die. I fully sympathise with this. However, this is not always how it is, many others remark being grateful for the fact they had been given a chance to live on afterwards.
At the end of the day, every individual has different coping mechanisms, therefore meaning that rape is not worse than death in every single case.