Because seriously? We have to talk about rape some more? I’m not sure why this is such a difficult topic for people to grasp. I mean – kill someone? It’s pretty much accepted that you are an asshole. Hurt a child? Ditto. But rape? Let’s not jump to conclusions! That seems to be the prevailing attitude regarding rape these days. Somehow a rapist seems to bring out the sympathy in people. And that sympathy interferes with justice, and more importantly, with the effect that lack of justice is apparently having on our society.
Dear America: YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!
It amazes me how much time we spend talking about the victims of rape: whether they were drunk, what they were wearing, how they were acting, etc. Then we tell girls, “Don’t do this, Don’t do that, Don’t put yourself in that situation.” Sure – that’s good advice, but it seems to me that we should be spending more time talking about the perpetrators of rape. About how they didn’t do it because of the girl’s clothing, or her level of intoxication. They did it because they are broken. We need to start talking to the boys as much as (or more than) the girls, or society will continue to be broken.
We all see news from around the world and exclaim disgust at the stories out of other countries – stories about honor killings, about fathers, killing their daughters, husbands killing their wives, because they were raped. It’s easy to be disgusted by it, sure. But what we don’t realize is that THIS country isn’t all that far off. No – rape victims are killed, generally, but they are mocked. They are blamed. They are torn down day after day after day. They receive death threats. DEATH THREATS, simply because they had the nerve to be the victim of a crime and want justice. Their lives are ruined – as if being raped wasn’t enough trauma to deal with, these women – these girls – these CHILDREN – are told it was their fault. They are the ones put on trial. And then they are the ones forced into hiding.
They fear for their lives – they can’t leave their homes. All the while, the community at large – and even worse, the media – express sympathy for the rapists. Their lost opportunities, their lives wasted. The whole thing is presented as “tragic events,” as if it were something that just happened, rather than what it really is: A violent, brutal, heartless CRIME.
As long as we allow this behavior on the part of the rapists, the relatives, the friends, the fans, the media, the goddamned politicians – nothing will change. As long as we have grown men – men (and sadly, women) responsible for running this country talking about how rape pregnancies are a gift from god, or saying that women have magical, rape fighting vaginas, or claiming that abortions cause cancer, as long as we have lawmakers voting against laws that attempt to protect women from violence, only because they offer equal protection to those who are not white, those who are not heterosexual – nothing will change.
As long as this rape culture continues, we, as a society, are telling potential rapists that it is not their fault. That makes it our fault, too.