Monday, April 9, 2012

Time to stop our culture of rape

It's past time, really, isn't it? We've developed a culture in which we stigmatize rape victims, joke about rape, accept as inevitable that men will touch women in inappropriate ways--you know the litany.

We have to stop it. We all have to help. Men have to behave better in so many ways, from listening to and accepting victims to, of course, simply stopping our gender's poor behavior.

If you think this problem has nothing to do with you, think again.

Read my daughter's blog entry here.

Read her entry on Duke's Develle Dish blog. Nothing in it is news to me, but simply reading it makes me tremble with rage.

Go see Develle Dish's stunningly powerful photo essay here. I know at least one person in this group.

Then realize that this is one small sample from one small university. Examples are everywhere.

Don't believe me?

Look around. Listen to the women you know.

My daughter was groped on that bus in Italy.

My mother was sexually assaulted--by her own mother.

A young man I know was raped.

A woman I know was repeatedly raped and physically assaulted--by her father. To this day, no one will listen to her, and she is afraid to tell her story.

Not a single victim is responsible for what happened to her (or him). Not one.

As a child, I was abused, beaten, over and over, almost daily for four years. I was fortunate enough never to suffer sexual abuse. Women we all know were not so fortunate.

Thanks to the advantage of male privilege, like most men I don't have to make plans to avoid rape and sexual assault. I don't have to worry about being inappropriately touched. I don't have to wonder as I'm walking to my car if tonight is the night something bad happens.

Neither should any woman. Not your friends, your colleagues, your spouses, your daughters, your mothers--none of them.

As with child abuse, we must never consider rape acceptable. Never. We must never blame the victims.

We must stop our culture of rape.


Brian D said...

A friend of mine posted a similar article that I really liked. I read it to my wife and she was ho-hum until she came to this part and it blew her mind, when she realized the rape culture we live in:

Rape culture is 1 in 6 women being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is not even talking about the reality that many women are sexually assaulted multiple times in their lives. Rape culture is the way in which the constant threat of sexual assault affects women’s daily movements. Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.
--Melissa McEwan from Shakesville, on FAQ: Rape Culture 101

My friends entire blog post is here:

Mark said...

Good post, Brian. Thanks.


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