TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains some graphic sexual content
Three very different women in two very different countries: one, a 23 year old physiotherapist, taking the bus home with a friend after a movie and a night out. The other two are children (13 and 14 years old), sneaking out to spend time with high school jocks and have a bit of fun.
One very similar outcome.
Yes, I am talking about rape. But in particular, what kind of society do we live in that allows this sort of thing to happen. I am using the collective “we”. YOU are included in this, no matter what country you live in, rural, urban, anywhere. When the Delhi gang rape case came to light, most of the world were (understandably) shocked and angry. In fact, across India and across the world, people took to the streets in protest, calling for legal reforms. Legal reforms won’t help. It certainly didn’t help for the children mentioned above. In Maryville, USA, it is certainly illegal to rape someone. Especially when the someone involved is a mere 14 years old. Yet Daisy Coleman’s rapist walks free today, and in fact is doing quite well at University.
I’m not saying that I can solve this issue in one blog post, but what I am saying is that the solution is very simple. We cannot teach “rape prevention” classes, we should not be teaching the girls and women of the world (and indeed some men as well) how to “avoid” rape. We should be getting the message loud and clear to possible rapists, simply Do Not Rape.
In both the cases mentioned above, no matter the legal outcome, the popular media and society has condemned the victims in some way, shape or form.
In the Delhi case, a case where someone catching the bus home was attacked by six men, a so-called spiritual guru Asaram Bapu suggests that had the victim merely fallen to her knees and called the rapists her “brother”, they would’ve stopped. Firstly, this is victim blaming to the highest degree… obviously she didn’t do enough to prevent SIX MEN from attacking her and ultimately causing her death. (yes I’m saying this in a very sarcastic tone) and secondly, I’m not sure how spiritual this guy is, a little while after all this, both him and his son have been arrested on rape charges. And finally, if we’re gonna be fighting the ridiculous with statistics (cos you know, why not) even here in NZ, the majority of rapes and sexual assaults is by someone you know, possibly even your actual brother or father…. but definitely partners…
In the Maryville case, of course the 14 year old child was to blame. She snuck out and got drunk, I mean, she was practically asking for it. (yes, for the love of all that is noodly, I am being sarcastic)
So why does this happen? Why is someone not safe from being sexually violated no matter what country they live in? Perhaps because society allows articles like the one posted on CampusBasement.com (see link to Gender Focus below) an article which is a list of 10 things you can do to fool a sorority girl into bed. Or perhaps because of a study which shows that the language used by men’s magazines are pretty much what rapists say in prison. And don’t even get me started on Blurred Lines!
I think, though, the issue lies deeper than that. Bad taste magazines and pop songs aside, it starts much much earlier. What causes a Robin Thicke to grow up and think that it is ok to write a song called Blurred Lines? I think it starts in the Pumpkin Patches and the Osh Kosh B’Goshes of this world. We live in an incredibly sexist world, and from the moment we are born, it is hammered into us that we are different and that men/boys are strong, able to do anything, take charge kind of creatures. Whereas women are pretty princesses who prefer to wear pretty dresses and just sit around and do makeup. (yes, again, slight exaggeration) In fact, whenever I talk about sexism or sexist language, I get that look. The look that says “oh crap, it’s that crazy feminist again”. When I try to educate my sons in gender diversity, I get accused of “trying to make them gay” (don’t even go there, that is definitely a post for another day) The blogs I read, the forums I belong to that calls people and organisations out on sexism are labelled by others as “crazy feminist crap”.
Well, I don’t care. I will be a crazy feminist, if that is what it takes. If it means that my grand daughters can go jogging through the neighbourhood at night, or that she can go out drinking without being slut shamed, then bring it on!
PS: If you think that “tougher laws” will fix this, read the link below by Amnesty International. WE need to stop crime, not lives. (Yes this is aimed directly at India, but again, it applies world wide, the death penalty is the the answer… )
- Nightmare in Maryville: Teens’ sexual encounter ignites firestorm against family
- Delhi gang-rape victim equally responsible, suggests Asaram Bapu
- Asaram Bapu scandal: Controversial Spiritual Guru, Son charged in 2 rape cases
- Domestic violence statistics from Women’s Refuge NZ
- Gender Focus – I’m sick of being sick of rape culture
- Can you tell the difference between a men’s magazine and a rapist?
- Tell India to stop crime and not lives – the Death Penalty is not the answer