I graduated with a History major. A lot of people think that my degree is useless in the “real world,” but they are wrong. They are wrong because I am able to know the context of our world problems today, and that, my friends, can get frustrating. I frequently get into heated debates with friends about social justice problems. Whether it be racism, sexism, feminism, socio-economic inequality or whatever, people tend to get annoyed with me because I will begin my arguments with information from the ancient or more modern past. I do this because the issues that we face today haven’t come from just anywhere. They have reasons. And today, right now, I want to focus on Rape Culture.
Oh, man. I went there. Rape Culture. Why am I capitalizing it? Because it is important and I was taught to capitalize things that are important. Rape Culture isn’t this fake “nazi-feminist” constructed thing, it is reality, and when we treat Rape Culture as a reality then it can change. But for those of you that sit there and still believe that Rape Culture isn’t valid, let me tell you… you are the ones allowing it to continue.
In the past two weeks alone, I have found out that two of my very dear female friends have been hurt by the male gender. Remember that this only accounts for my personal experience. Let’s not forget about the Colorado student who won’t be charged, as well as the many other women who have been sexually assaulted or raped and haven’t shared this information with others. These women have been forced to do things that they did not want to do. Why? Because throughout history men–for reasons that are not accidental–have been put on top of the social hierarchy and it is a bunch of fucking bullshit, let me tell you.
And many times, in conversations that I have with friends–men and women alike–the question is always, “Why does this keep happening?” Because history, friends. Men have been idolized as being the ultimate achievement, as if being born with a penis is enough to win a gold medal. Women have been seen as the inferior sex, which is silly, in my opinion, because women are the bomb diggity. And we aren’t to be respected because, “If it weren’t for women, men wouldn’t be here,” and we aren’t to be respected because, “Women are the reason that civilization keeps going, and we aren’t to be respected because, “Without women, men would be so lost.” No. We are to be respected because we are people. We are not objects. We aren’t walking vaginas with the sole reason of pleasing a man. We are people, and we deserve to be treated as such.
Now, some of my friends are going to read this and think about how I’m a crazy feminist. Fine. Whatever. They are going to say, “This is why feminists are crazy. They just want to blame the men for all their problems. Men get raped too, y’know. It’s not only about the females. Feminists are so one sided. Cayla, how can you be pro-feminists and want equality of the genders, if you are just going to bash men into dirt?” To which I respond, I understand that not all men are bad. I understand that some men do get raped or sexually assaulted. I understand that there are problems on both sides. But I also understand that women get sexually assaulted so often it is normalized. If you ask any of your female friends they either have been personally sexually assaulted or they know someone that has. And that isn’t cool. Men that don’t sexually assault women are cool. It is those that do that give the entire gender of “male” a bad name. So if you are a guy reading this, just tell your other dude friends, “Hey, guy. She said no. Cut it out.” Say it in man-code if you have to. I don’t care. But, as a female, I’m asking you to help. You can help by not making sexist jokes against women, call your friends out on their nonsense, helping a woman that seems scared or uneasy because of a guy. Pretend to be her brother, boyfriend, dad–whatever the situation calls for–to help diffuse a (probably) dangerous situation, because men respect other men more than they respect women (yes, I understand, not all men, save your breath.)
I am frustrated because throughout history, women have been sexualized and deemed inferior just because men were entitled. It is time for that to change. No one is entitled to my body but me. I am the only one. My friends’ bodies that have been glanced at inappropriately, or have had unwelcomed advances, or–even worse–haven’t been listened to when they have screamed, cried or pleaded, “No, stop,” haven’t been respected. That hurts my heart. That makes me frustrated. I look forward to the day when people don’t have to ask, “Why does this keep happening?” I look forward to the day when we can put a rapist in jail for due justice. I look forward to the day when people stop being so self-entitled and see their peers as equals and not as property. I look forward to the day when my girlfriends are not in constant fear of walking home alone, heading to their car or going to use the restroom. I am aware that danger will always, always be present… but it doesn’t have to be to this extent. People, all I am asking for… is decency. Just be a decent human being. That’s all.