Trigger Warning: Rape/Sexual Assault
It’s not an opinion, not this time.
If you think that rape is the fault of anything or anyone but the rapist themselves then please, please take a look at yourself.
Or the way you were raised. Or the way you (and countless others) were influenced by the society the world has given us to grow up in. And if you can’t take some time to examine that extremely disturbing mindset then please, please keep your distance.
I simply cannot interact with people who truly believe that and still feel safe as a young woman. I have no problem keeping the channel of communication open, but I have no desire to physically be anywhere near you.
I’ve had lots of thoughts about sexual assault and rape that I’ve wanted to voice, but never felt comfortable approaching the topic. It’s a sensitive one for so many people and there’s so much encompassed within it and so much that surrounds it.
But I just saw this on my Tumblr feed:
After seeing these comments my mind was racing. Where do I even begin?
The sexism? The slut-shaming? The clear sense of sexual entitlement? The typos? (I mean, “weman”, really?)
Even now, rereading them makes me want to pull my hair out. So, I’m just going to put this out there from the start… rape is defined as:
“any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person”
“an act of forced sexual intercourse as a result of a female’s clothing choices”
“an act of forced sexual intercourse resulting from a woman drinking too much”
Any woman should be allowed to wear what they want, when they want. Drink what they want and however much they want. Flirt with who they want and say “no” when they want.
Sure, there will be more scantily clad outfits on some nights. There will also be nights where they’ve had one drink too many. It happens to everyone.
But that is their choice and they should be able to make the choices they want to without worrying that it will make them more vulnerable to sexual assault.
Because sexual assault doesn’t just happen to “skanky” college girls who go out partying on Friday nights. It happens to children and young girls and older women. When they’re fully dressed and fully sober. With a family friend or relative or other trusted peer.
And it happens to men.
According to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, or RAINN, 1 in 33 American men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
For American women, the statistic is 1 in 6.
To top that off,
This. Is. Not. Okay.
I am fuming as I write this. It’s not okay! And I usually make a point not to use exclamation points in my writing (my professors discourage it), but I don’t think a simple period suffices. Not in this case.
Those numbers are real.
Rape is real.
But I strongly believe that the more that we simply discuss the facts, tell the stories, and accept the reality that rape exists… the more change we can make.
It won’t be Rape-Proof Underwear that stops rape. It will be victims and non-victims (like myself) and other activists, both men and women, teens and adults SPEAKING OUT.
Whether it be speeches, Facebook statuses, legislation, tweets, news articles, classroom curriculum, or eye-catching messages, kind of like this UCSD Confession from last month:
Communication makes a difference. And we would be silly not to utilize social media in spreading awareness.
So, here I am. Trying to do just that. My blog is a platform for my thoughts, ideas, opinions, wishes, criticisms, creative writing, and all sorts of other things.
I have a general idea of how many people Carbonation currently reaches and that’s more than good enough for me.
Ideas spread when they’re worth spreading. And those comments that I read set me off to the point where I couldn’t wait to voice my feelings on the subject any longer. This is the first time I’ve written about sexual assault and rape, but I doubt it will be the last.
Before I publish this post and force myself to study for my finals, I just need to say a few last things.
To all victims, it is NOT your fault. You did nothing wrong. You are not at all to blame. You were taken advantage of and that is not okay. Seek whatever you need to seek to be at peace. Whether it be your rapist’s court-assigned punishment or a restraining order or speaking out about your experience. Seek peace.
You do not deserve what happened to you.
You cannot change what happened, and I am so, so sorry about that, but there are things you can do.
You can persevere and make a better future for yourself and for others. And you can join other victims and activists. You can change the statistics.
You have not had your power taken from you.
And you never will.