Since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I kicked it off with some upsettling infographics and facts and I'm ending it with a post on rape culture. I'd rather talk about something else too, believe me, because I am sick to fucking death of banging this drum, but I will keep going until the rape culture is smashed. We've got to stop this shit and unfortunately it will take every single one of us to do it.
To start, we can stop acting like rape culture is a popular new buzz phrase bitchy feminists have come up with in the past few years because they have no sense of humor.
It's when sexual assault, rape, and general violence are ignored, trivialized, normalized, or made into jokes. If you think those things are a rarity or anything outrageous you hear about (Brock Turner) is a one-off or isolated situation, you're mistaken. And also fully immersed in rape culture. Because this shit happens every day and it has forever. Rape culture exists because we don't believe it does.
And it's a very hard cycle to break from, even for women and feminists. We were raised in this culture. We've heard victim blaming on the news, read it in the papers and online. It's been around us since the beginning of time. We've said the things you should never say as an automatic reply to stories we hear. It's ingrained in us to not make a big deal out of things, to let it go, to look over our shoulders, to shrink in situations where we might be vulnerable, to think well why was she walking alone?
On a very, very basic level:
What can you personally do to end rape culture?
-Stop blaming the victim. It doesn't matter what she wore or how much she had to drink or where she chose to walk alone. She wasn't asking for it and she didn't deserve it. If the thought comes to mind, eradicate it.
-Never, ever say well it wouldn't have happened if...
-Do not insult this issue with but what about women who cry rape. Seriously. Don't. For no other crime do we attempt to give the accused the benefit of the doubt. Imagine hearing well there are those kids who just say they were molested ...or I'm sure they didn't mean to break into your car, it was just a misunderstanding. Etc.
-Cast off outdated ideas about sexuality. She wasn't asking for it because she's a person who's had sex. Stop calling women who have sex sluts and whores because they do it and like it when it's consensual.
-Know women are full human beings with the right to bodily autonomy.
-Recognize that most rape talk centers around female victims but that there are male and LGBTQIA victims as well and that if women are afraid to step forward as victims, those groups are even more so.
-Don't laugh at rape jokes.
-Teach your daughter to take up more room, not less, and that if anything ever happens she should come to you because you will believe her and fight for her. Find a self defense class but at the same time try not to be so heavy on the protect yourself message even though that goes against everything we as women know. It is every individual's job to protect themselves but girls should not have to be MORE careful than boys.
-Teach your sons not to rape. Boys will be boys does not apply here.
-Teach all kids about enthusiastic consent - it's not just about a no. It's about a conscious, enthusiastic yes. Flirting is not consent.
-Speak up. Rape culture grows in silence. I've been on the end of you're too sensitive/it's a fucking joke when I've spoken up about rape jokes and that feeling sucks, for sure. But not saying anything and giving something pervasive, damaging, and ugly room to grow feels even worse.
Reductress viciously satirizing rape culture to show how fucking insane it is:
Which is what we all need to do: turn rape culture on its head and kick it in the ass on its way out the door. It's way past time.