A Call to End Slut Shaming and Rape Culture

A Call to End Slut Shaming and Rape Culture

It's a societal issue, not a feminist issue.
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With rape culture and the double standard about sex becoming more prevalent, students at the College of Charleston decided to protest. The Post and Courier explains "The march is a protest against sexual assault and the double standard that extols promiscuous men for their conquests and shames women for theirs.” On November 30th students walked on campus wearing “provocative” clothing to raise awareness of rape culture and the double standard. The students were escorted by campus security to make sure they were safe and then after, they met in the Cistern Yard to read poetry. "Slut Walks" originated in Toronto about five years ago and have created a trend where women mobilize and attempt to end rape culture and the double standard.

Slut shaming is defined as judging a woman based on her past or current sexual relations or promiscuous-ness. It is seen in high schools, colleges and even at work places. The part that is not seen or talked about is the emotional and mental torment these women feel. Slut shaming directly correlates with the double standard. A man has more freedom to act sexually than a woman. A man can sleep with someone and get high-fived while a girl can be ridiculed and labeled a “slut”. This also correlates with rape culture and the fear that women feel about coming forward and reporting sexual assault. When reporting sexual assault, women are often asked if they were drinking and if they were wearing skimpy clothing. This unfair judgement has become a part of society and we all need to come together and be the ones to change it.

Thought Catalog asked women about some of their experiences with slut shaming and the results were eye opening. Tessa, who is two years old, explains “One of my best friends called me a slut when I told her about my first one-night stand”. Nicole, who is twenty four years old, explains her own experience, stating “Once I was walking home by myself after a late shift. These drunk guys sitting across from my apartment were screaming obscenities at me as I fumbled trying to unlock my front door; calling me a slut and a whore, asking where I was coming from so late at night. I ended up crying in the shower over it.” She ended up crying because society thinks that just because a girl walks home late it constitutes that she was acting promiscuous. In college girls experience this daily. Caroline, who is 19 years old, explains she was “Literally was just leaning against a wall at a frat, waiting for my friend to come out of the bathroom. Some random guy walked by me and coughed ‘slut.’ Have never been back.” She was out with her friends and was simply leaning against a wall minding her business, yet she was still subjected to slut shaming.

Even asking for a girl the number of men she's slept with can be considered crossing the line. Hannah, who is 22 years old, explains, “I’ve experienced this a couple of times now—where a guy will ask me what ‘my number’ is, I’ll tell him, it ends up being higher than his, and so he tosses me aside as a slut because he’s insecure. Now if anyone asks me, I just lie.” Typically, men are not judged for having a high number of former partners, but women are. Women have to protect their image.

Two cases were seen in two separate high schools where girls who were harassed and called sluts ended up committing suicide because of the harassment and abuse they received. Prince, a 15-year-old girl, just started at a new school and was harassed after a few short relationships with two boys, one of which was a popular football player. The current girlfriends of these boys started a campaign aimed to slut shame Prince; she was harassed in the halls and at lunch. She could not escape and the bullying spread to her home. She was sent messages over social media calling her “slut” and “whore”. They went as far as saying she should die. She was ostracized and harassed everywhere and with no escape she committed suicide.

Another girl named Hope committed suicide at age 13 because she was being called a slut and whore in middle school. Slut shaming starts young and with no one stopping it, kids think it is okay to continue. They grow up thinking that it is okay to shame a girl unless told otherwise.

Slut shaming, a common action, appears regardless of age and causes consequences that no one sees. Suicide is becoming a more common consequence of slut shaming along with loneliness, depression and isolation. This is not a feminist fight; it is a societal fight. Times have changed and so should opinions on women and promiscuity.

Cover Image Credit: myticketsnyc.com

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Internet outraged at Delhi Aunty for Sl*t Shaming

Public outrage - justified or an overreaction?

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When the topic of sexual violence against women arises, women are often held responsible - because of how they dress, or how they behave, or even if they have a voice. A recent incident in Delhi showed that the mindset of people has not changed. In a video posted by Shivani Gupta, a middle-aged woman is seen defending her claim, "Women wearing short dresses deserve to be raped."

This backward mentality surrounding rape and rape culture is horrifying to see. The middle-aged woman first shamed them for wearing short clothes and when she was confronted, she told them "they deserved to get raped." She made things worse when she told other men in the restaurant to rape such women who wear short clothes.

Shivani and her friends later confronted this woman while taking the video. They wanted a public apology for her statement and followed her around. The older woman stood by her statement. Fair enough. They felt threatened by her statements and wanted an apology for her actions. The older lady, however, was brazen about her ideologies and refused to apologize. In fact, she threatened to call the cops for harassment.

The woman who made the regressive statements. Shivani Gupta

While the anger and outrage by the women who uploaded this video are justified, several questions are being raised on whether the older woman was later harassed for her statements. Public shaming is not the way to solve this issue.

"We cannot dismantle a culture of shaming by participating in it." - Rega Jha.

Now, I believe that nobody must engage in victim shaming. Nobody has the right to police the outfit one wishes to wear. It is astonishing to believe that even in the 21st century, people still believe that an outfit determines the morality and character of a person. That older woman was wrong to sl*t-shame the girls for wearing what they want. That being said, even though what that woman did was horrible, public shaming will not work. It will not change the mindset behind these ideologies. What that older woman did was akin to bullying. Publicly shaming her, stalking her facebook account or posting comments or by coercing her, you are also behaving in the same manner of bullying.

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