This week’s post comes a little early because I want to focus and vent on this week’s news.
As a victim and survivor of sexual assault myself, this 6 month jail sentence for the Stanford Rapist, Brock Turner, has me perturbed and full of emotions. Emotions of anger towards the Judge and rapist, and emotions of sadness and heartbreak for the victim. (Havent heard? See Brock Turner, the Rapist)
Turner’s 6 month sentencing time is nothing compared to the pain and torment that this victim will suffer for years to come. With good behavior, Turners time served could be lowered to 3 months. For Rape. It’s sickening.
This case, and many like it, show us that rape culture continues to be an epidemic and it continues to be a problem. We need to stop making excuses and start helping the victims.
Rape culture shows us that a mixture of ‘privilege’ allows, and often encourages, sexual assault towards men and women alike. This privilege, whether it be from social status or financial status, with an ‘excuse’ for affluenza or alcohol abuse, this privilege shows us that sexual assaults, much like the victims, are not taken seriously.
Rape culture allows excuses to be made in benefit of the rapist, like he’s an actor or he’s an athlete, and then the legal case becomes a circus, this case point proven. Rape culture forces the survivor to be victimized again and again through disbelief, ‘slut shaming’ and smear campaigns, forcing the victim to self-blame or not come forward in many cases. Rape culture finds excuses for the rapist, and dragging the situation along, for weeks, months, years, without conviction, causing further pain for the victim.
This ‘privilege’ suggests, that with enough money or fame, our bodies become public property. This ‘privileged’ suggests that our bodies become the consolation prize, to be used and discarded at will, because that’s the norm, and who is going to believe your side anyway? The He said/She said, the slut-shaming, and the victim blaming, it prevents the majority of assaults from even being reported to authorities.
Rape often leads to severe depression and suicidal thoughts for the victim, when all the victim wanted was help, but instead they get interrogated themselves. Instead of focusing on the assault and rape itself, often audiences like doctors and police focus on the victims appearance, creating excuses with the victims attire and the victims sexual history, as if that matters or explains anything. Rapists rape, there is no other explanation. Not one.
Rape culture suggests that sexual assault is normal for entertainment, and in that, rape is caused by the victim’s own personal choices; don’t wear a miniskirt in the summer, your clothing may be suggesting that you’re asking for it, or she’s a diva with an opinion, we’ll break her. Too many movies depict sexual assaults on women. Too many stories are based on a traumatic event, such as rape. Rape does not build character.
Rape culture suggests by not saying no, or not being ABLE to say no, that our silence means yes, we consent, we want it, we are asking for it, even in our unconscious state of mind. Because, who wouldn’t want to be fingered and left naked behind a dumpster, ladies? But, we must be asking for it, because it happens, right? No.
Rape is never the victim’s fault. Period. It doesn’t matter the alcohol intake, or what she was wearing, this doesn’t mean they can touch you inappropriately. If you’re being too open about yourself or flirtatious, this doesn’t mean anyone can touch you inappropriately. If I’m wearing short dresses or heels too high, this doesn’t mean touch me inappropriately. Any form of penetration to my unconscious body is considered an assault. You don’t touch other people, we’ve been taught this our entire lives. Unless voicing a vocal Yes, take their silence as a No.
People suggest you can’t be raped by a boyfriend/girlfriend, but explain that to the survivors who fought their known assailants. People think, oh hey, he’s cute, he’s trustworthy, because there is no ‘face’ to rape. The majority of assaults come from an acquaintance or close friend. Think about that. It could happen to you, your family members, your neighbors or coworkers.
The majority of assault comes from someone you already know, someone you’re friendly with, someone you trust. I know this to be true, because it happened to me this way, and I still have issues when sharing my story. I lied about my assault for a long time, claiming it never happened, and I still have issues talking about it, almost 10 years later.
It doesn’t matter if the person has said Yes a million times before. One Yes does not guarantee another ticket on the ride. It doesn’t matter if you are already naked and ‘involved’. One No means No, and if she can’t say No, then Don’t. It’s that simple.
Rape, even if you have never experienced it, you have witnessed it through some form of a victim situation, and you have not been bothered by it. You don’t get flustered, with your heart racing or tears streaming down your face, because it’s not ‘real’, and its ‘just a show’ to you. But rape is a reality for some, a form of unwanted entrance and terrorism on your body. And yet, we all know what is right and wrong, so why embellish or glamorize it? Why highlight it?
Rape is in our schools, homes, churches, music and television shows. Audiences watch in excitement, while the survivors die inside watching, hiding their pain and reliving old memories. Media tells us that women who are considered promiscuous, or wear provocative clothing, warrant sexual assault. Media offers rape via character backgrounds, to ‘explain’ their personalities and character flaws. But rape is not character building or an added element of surprise to liven things up.
Rape is not for entertainment, and entertainment cannot be blamed for rapists.
Rape stays with you, still causing the same uneasy feelings months, years, and decades later, with flashbacks, PTSD, and constant reminders in media.
Rape wakes you up at night, reminding you of your fear and helplessness, and it torments your thoughts.
Rape is stealing someone’s innocence and putting a shadow of gloom on their life forever.
Rape is adding a voice in your head, that constant voice of concern, too scared to trust another person, worried for another incident.
Rape is forever watching your back and forever remembering the face of your assailant.
Rape changes every relationship you ever had, or will have in the future. You carry it around with you, and when you share the intimate details of your life with that special someone, the title Victim follows you. Name. Birthday. Family. Rape Victim and Survivor. Favorite Foods. Etc. Rape becomes a part of your story. It may take you months or years to discuss it, but it lingers in the back of your mind, a secret you keep secret until you feel comfortable sharing.
Rape scares you for your future, and for the future of your children. Rape takes your kindness and replaces it with resentment and self-blame. Rape changes your personality, your outlook of self-worth, and your ability to trust another person. Rape turns your confidence into uneasiness, never allowing yourself to forget, never allowing yourself to be vulnerable or nieve.
Rapists being given 6 month sentencing to make amends for the victims life that is forever altered? Rapists being given 6 month sentencing for entering another person’s body, taking whatever they had to give, and leaving them helpless on the ground? Rapist’s being given 6 month sentencing and he never once acknowledged his crime, or apologized to his victim? People online blaming the victim, and bashing the victims choices?
This is what we have to teach our youth: Don’t teach ‘Don’t Get Raped’, instead teach ‘Don’t Rape’, is that so crazy? Is that so difficult? Parents shouldn’t have to teach their daughters about pepper spray and self-defense, and women shouldn’t have to worry about their attire or friendliness in public. Instead, teach that rape is not okay in movies or television, and that rape is a serious crime, not to be excused from any circumstances.
What a joke of our society.
What a joke of our media and entertainment industry.
What a joke of the judicial system.
Rape is not accidental.
Rape is not a misunderstanding.
Rape is never the answer.
Here is a link to the letter written by the victim herself. I would suggest reading her story, no matter who you are:
To Sign the Petition in support of the survivor in this case:
Also found on Huffington Post.