There is a new hashtag out right now that I think can be something amazing. #NotOkay started because, in a quote from a website about this hashtag, "violence against women is everywhere" and "accepting violence as a natural part of society is not okay."
Sadly, nothing Trump says or does shocks me anymore. He has always been disrespectful, crude, racist, and misogynistic. However, his latest scandal, a video of him talking to Billy Bush in 2005, which I'm sure most people have heard referred to as "locker room banter," has really pushed me over the edge. I'm not just irritated and grossed out anymore, I'm angry. So angry. And honestly, I'm scared. If you're a republican, that's fine, I respect your political views. But if you support or condone Trump's behavior, that is not okay anymore.
Let's not talk about Trump though. We've all heard about it too much and the conversation has become oversaturated. What we need to start talking about is how to end rape culture in general. How to stop, not just Trump, but anyone from saying things like "grab her by the pussy, you can do anything."
I've grown up in a society where I've always felt lesser than men. I am a feminist. I believe men and women should be equal. I believe in female empowerment and the fact that our voices should be heard, but I have never felt like I deserve to be heard. I always feel small compared to men. Subconsciously, I still do certain things that are, I guess, "not feminist." If I want to do something at the same time a man does, I'll let him go first. If a man makes a point that I disagree with, I won't fight back. If a man tries to touch me even though I don't want it, I freeze up and somehow feel like it's my fault. The idea of male privilege has been so deeply ingrained in my mind, and the minds of people everywhere, that it's extremely hard to shake.
Men scare me, and that gives them power.
So how do we stop this? How do we take back the power?
Well, first, we need to stop allowing comments that contribute to rape culture to be said. When someone makes a joke or a comment about women or rape, and nothing is done to stop it, it's creating an environment where violence can happen, and that is not okay. The mere fact that people push these horrific comments to the side and say "boys will be boys" is not okay. Calling a man's thought process about these comments just normal "locker room mentality," is not okay. Bragging about sexual assault should not be what guys talk about in the locker room. Men should not be treating women as sexual objects. All of this is not okay.
I should not feel like I am any less important, intelligent, or worthy than a man. I should not be scared to walk alone. I should not have to be soft or quiet. I should not have to feel like being beautiful is my best asset, or that it is even necessary at all. I should not feel like less of a person because I am a woman. Nor should any woman have to feel any of these things. It is not okay.
There are so many things that are not okay in the world right now and the only way for that to change is to let it be known.
Speak up. Act out. Vote.
We can end rape culture.
We can change the world.
Your voice matters, and so does mine.