Women should not be told not to get raped. Men should be taught not to rape.
Rape Culture-defined: a concept where rape is normalized in the eyes of society because of culture's attitudes towards gender and sexuality.
Bill Cosby has been getting a great deal of publicity this week, but not in the way anyone would want. Accusations of the comedian raping actress Barbara Bowman were resurfaced last week due to comedian Hannibal Buress going off about Cosby's alleged crime. Though these reports seem new to some, it turns out Cosby has been brushing off the topic of these allegations for decades.
Bowman, the accuser, went to The Daily Mailto share her story 30 years after the fact. As stated in an article on Complex Magazine's website, Bowman is happy that Cosby's crimes are finally getting media attention, but to her dismay, why wasn't her story believed sooner? Bowman is one of many women who have been victims of Cosby and this topic has been talked about for so long. So, why now?
“He is a monster. He came at me like a monster," Bowman said. "My hope is that others who have experienced sexual abuse will not be intimidated into silence by the famous, rich and powerful. If I can help one victim, then I've done my job.”
It's difficult to believe that a person like Cosby, a comedian we all know and love, would succumb to such despicable behavior. Cosby was scheduled to appear on "The Late Show with David Letterman" Nov. 19 but then canceled, adding to the public's suspicions.
To make matters worse, Cosby and his wife, Camille, sat down with Weekend Edition on NPR to discuss their extensive collection of African art. Interviewer Scott Simon went forward with questioning Cosby on his rape accusations. Simon asked the comedian to address the news, and Cosby was dead silent. Could his silence be the instruction of a lawyer? Or simply guilt and shame?
Rape in the media in nothing new. Rape in general is nothing new. Though it is a massive problem within our society, our biggest problem is the approach that men and woman take with such a subject. A woman is coming forward and exposing details of a horrific and evil thing she experienced, and we as a population doubt her. We need more evidence, more sources, more proof. Why can't a woman's word be enough?
Rape is a victimizing crime, yet we tell anyone who could be a potential victim "not to get raped." Women are told not to dress scantly, walk by themselves at night, defend themselves on the street, and keep their sobriety in check. Why in the world is RAPE, an emotionally and physically violent act, treated so dismissively? Why is this something every woman has to worry about when we leave the house? Women should not be told "not to get raped." Men should be taught not to rape.
The most unsettling thing about the entire subject is that we expect such a thing to come from a man hiding in a bush or waiting for us on the side of a building at 3:00 a.m. Rape isn't random the majority of the time, it comes from men the women know. It's from those regular guys with friends and families, the ones you have invited to your home during a small gathering, that male friend you have that cannot be seen as anything more than a friend. Rape is not a random act, it's a calculated one. Bill Cosby made Barbara Bowman believe he was her father figure. Now, look at what she is sharing all this time later.
Let's discuss the magazine of the week: Kim Kardashian on the cover of PAPER. She has a massive pack of over 21 million Instagram followers and her net worth is valued at $65 million. She is a big freakin' deal. Whether we want to admit it or not, this glorified sex symbol is a role model to many. Yet, she does a huge disservice to the millions of people who constitute her fan base by objectifying her body and posing nude.
Women work hard to dispel preconceived notions and limiting perceptions of female self worth. Then we have the most famous woman of the moment using her body as prop in a magazine spread. Kim has put her body on full display numerous times and her fame increases with each endeavor. What exactly is that saying? That your worth goes up with every suggestive act?
A woman's sexuality is a beautiful thing and something that should be embraced. But the way Mrs. West used her body for the PAPER shoot was out of line and completely inappropriate. Kim, you're a mother. We get enraged at men treating women's bodies like objects, yet female celebrities such as Kim willingly objectify themselves just to make a couple headlines.
As women, we fight for our right to be seen as equal to men. Therefore, we should not promote our anatomy in such a dehumanizing way. Men should not view women as a toy that they can play with on their own whim; it's something that should be taught at a young age and reminded the rest of their lives. The issue of Rape Culture will not be solved until both genders see it for what it is: a lack of understanding, respect and awareness for what the value of individuals in this society has become.