George Roger statue providence

Mind Rape

Roger Williams (founder of Providence Rhode Island) first got me into the notion of the ‘rape of the soul’. Interestingly enough, Roger Williams came nearly 100 years BEFORE Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson’s “We the People” notion was inspired by Roger Williams). But anyways this got me thinking:

We talk about physical (sexual rape) much, but how come we never talk bout mental or spiritual or soul-rape?

Rape of the Sabine Women

The Intervention of the Sabine Women (1799).
The Intervention of the Sabine Women (1799) — Jacques-Louis David

There is much literature and artwork on the Rape of the Sabine Women. But what is interesting … the ‘rape’ mentioned here isn’t just sexual (as we know in modern times). Better to think of rape as more of forceful seizure — the classical Latin sense. What Wiktionary says:

Rape: to seize by force.

An interesting quote from 1978 from Gore Vidal:

Dr Ashok’s eyes had a tendency to pop whenever he wanted to rape your attention.

Back to Roger Williams

Roger Williams on Liberty of Conscience:

Roger Williams says it is a ‘spiritual rape [to] force the consciences of all to one worship’. He says such “…soul or spiritual rape” is worse than “to force and ravish the bodies of all the women in the world”.

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