It has taken me a long time to write this. It is one of the matters in life that I care most about, but speak least about (at least, when writing). But that’s because I can hardly ever pin down the words that could really convey the amount of concern, disgust and outrage that I have concerning this topic.
Rape is simultaneously one of the most heinous crimes, and the crime that is most incompetently handled.
Rape isn’t just a crime. It’s a psychological tragedy in a person’s life that no amount of legal action, news coverage or therapy can ever rectify. And we have created a culture that sympathizes with the rapist and doubts, criticizes and demeans the victim.
It’s because of this culture that rapists aren’t convicted, that victims refuse to speak, that rape continues to happen. We are enabling this ideology. We are revising it every day to continue to alienate those who need their community more than ever.
The Stubbenville case has received a lot of well-deserved and fought for coverage (but here is some you may have missed. But what’s most alarming about it is how the aftermath of such a terrible crime has been handled. It is to the point where major news networks are sympathizing with the convicted rapists. Let me get this straight. You’re saying even after a court of law has said these men are guilty, you’re making more noise for their loss than the victim’s? What kind of people are we if we bemoan a “promising” high school football player’s future when he raped someone? That negates any promise he had. That we don’t think that does, as a culture, is a big part of the problem.
So, what the hell can we do?
Re-educate. Incorporate character education and development in our curriculum and our society and our homes. It’s all of our jobs to make it stop.
Educate who? Everyone, but specifically men. Yes, men.
Women have been “educated” to death about the perils of rape and the resulting culture that perpetuates their victim status , their subordination. It’s logical to be aware of your surroundings, to be able to defend and protect yourself.
It’s not logical to think the next step in prevention is going to a shooting range or taking a knife fighting class. The next step is not recommending women be armed, as men just have no self control and we can’t do anything about it.
That’s bullshit. And we have to stop teaching each other that. Because it isn’t just men who have those ideas. Women have to believe them, too, for it to work.
What we need to do is change minds, perceptions and the way we think. It’s not OK to have sex with a drunk person, as if they can’t drive, complete a coherent sentence or make simple decisions, they can’t decide to have sex with anyone. No one owes you anything for dinner and a few drinks. Just because you’re really “passionate” doesn’t mean you deserve sex.
But that’s what we’re taught.
There is a constant stream of the damage that this thinking creates. And what happens when someone suggests reeducation? That sort of thinking is met with death threats and threats of rape, if you’re familiar with Zerlina Maxwell.
We also have to understand that this is not an American problem. It’s a human problem. We are fighting this war that has been hushed for far too long on all fronts. In Egypt, women are having to arm themselves just to protest, as there are mass sexual assaults.
This war is not just blood in the streets, however. It starts and is aided by things as “harmless” as this strange promotional events that use women’s bodies as advertisements and commodities.
We have to be aware of how far-reaching this is to understand the scope and how to fight against it. We have to do more than just lend our minds. We need to say something. Do something.
And we have to start today.
- One Billion Rising: dancing to create visibility about the violence against women
- 16 for 16: a yearly blogging program to raise awareness featuring a lot of ways to contribute, and also notes 16 celebrities who stand with this specific cause
- The Shortest PSA On How To Handle Drunk Girls Passed Out On Your Couch — EVER