27 Times Rape Victims Got Taken Advantage Of, And Not Just By Their Rapist

27 Times Rape Victims Got Taken Advantage Of, And Not Just By Their Rapist

Every minute 24 people experience violence from their intimate partners in the U.S.
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I've been hearing about wrong-doers getting away with their criminal actions since before I knew O.J. stood for Orenthal James.

From the wrongly accused getting put away to letting the unlawful walk, the U.S. court system keeps letting us down. Victims of rape, domestic violence and sexual abuse resonate with this struggle too often. Unfortunately, it's not just the court system that keeps failing rape victims, it's all of us.

The term "rape culture" has been introduced and shared throughout feminist circles to describe a poor social conditioning that is experienced culturally. It refers to a set of actions that affect every woman. Don't get me wrong, rape culture also includes trans and gender non-conforming people (and cis men), at disturbingly high rates.

I understand it's a people's issue — gender aside. However, it's not a secret that rape culture affects women on a much broader scale.

The simple fact that most women limit their behaviors because of the existence and possibilities of rape, says more than I ever could. Compared to men, more females live in fear of rape. Women think twice about the short skirt they wear, while men have no issue streaking in public.

Rape culture showcases rape as prevalent and sexual violence against women as normal or excused in the media and popular culture. It's about a ridiculous amount of cultural practices that we, unfortunately, all take part in as a society. Rape culture refers to situations in which sexual assault and rape are normalized.

Rape victims get taken advantage of every day, and not just by their perpetrators. If we can't understand how our society normalizes rape, sexual assault, or domestic violence, how can we expect positive change? Skewed interpretations of what rape culture means make it easier to deny it's happening and harder to prevent it. The examples below are more than just anecdotal or isolated incidents, rather they are small parts of a large societal trend.

Rape culture is…

1. Adding pressure to victims to speak up about their rape because their rape kit has an expiration date.

2. A pop song telling young girls “blurred lines" (consent) means everyone “you know you want it.

3. A judge sentencing a 50-year-old man to just 30 days in jail because the 14-year-old girl he raped was “older than her chronological age."

4. Offering support to athletes who are charged with rape, because their victims basically ruined their careers.

5. Companies creating decals of women bound and tied to bring in new clientele and “promote their business."

6. The justice system that fails to hold rapists accountable for their actions.

7. People who blame survivors instead of the perpetrators.

8. Sayings like “boys will be boys."

9. Sayings like “if he ignores you or is mean to you it means he likes you."

10. Simply assuming sexual assault cases are usually false, when in fact only 2-8 % are.

11. Journalists who think it's okay to use the words “sex" and “rape" interchangeably. They are NOT the same.

12. Politicians who say rape is “something that God intended to happen" or that rape is sometimes considered “legitimate rape.

13. Calling students or ANYONE a liar for having the courage to report their rapists.

14. Telling victims they are overreacting if they happen to call someone out for catcalling them.

15. Rape jokes.

16. Sexual assault jokes.

17. People who tell women they need to take certain precautions to prevent rape, instead of telling men to NOT rape.

18. Reddit threads like “You just have to make sure she's dead" and then linking it to the story of a 13-year-old girl who got raped and buried alive in Pakistan.

19. Reddit threads who support men causing pain to women during sex.

20. Hashtags that support accused rapists.

21. Defending celebrities who are accused of rape simply because of their social status, without listening to the victim's story.

22. When more women feel scared to walk outside at night than men.

23. When most men have never checked their back seat to make sure no one was there.

24. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 women reports experiencing rape versus 1 in 71 men.

25. Prestigious universities covering up campus rapes to maintain a positive reputation.

26. Phrases like “suck my dick" or “fuck you."

27. Using the word rape as a substitute for winning: “I just raped that game!" Or using it in the opposite context: “That game raped me!"

I could easily keep going, and by now I'm sure you've caught on to what rape culture really signifies. Examples are everywhere and they permeate our society on all levels. Why is this even important or significant? Because together we can make a difference. The more people that become aware and get on board, the less rape will become normalized.

Society, as a whole, needs to understand that rape is NOT okay, and it NEVER will be.

Cover Image Credit: The CW

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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Confirming Kavanaugh Encourages Silence In Sexual Assault Victims

Ignorance is NOT bliss.

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After the moving testimonies from the victims of Kavanaugh, the most notable being from Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh was still confirmed into the highest and most honorable position of the United States judicial system. With his confirmation comes a wave of uproar and energy from those opposed to him. His confirmation means something to people.

What this does is silence victims. It silences them everywhere.

It shows women that no one will believe them and that the man will always win.

It shows women that their struggles aren't valid.

It shows women that the courage they fight for in order to speak up will go unnoticed.

It shows women that their tragic stories will never be enough.

Celebrities like Lady Gaga have spoken out prior to Kavanaugh's confirmation about the controversial events surrounding it in support of Blasey Ford. Lady Gaga, an assault survivor herself, has shouted over any sympathies toward Kavanaugh by preaching that the stories of all victims are worthy of being heard and being brought to justice. The "'Til It Happens to You" singer encourages everyone to "believe women."

However, her important message couldn't outshine the shrieks of Kavanaugh supporters, who were apparently speaking at a higher pitch to the Senate.

What this does is silence victims. It silences them everywhere.

It shows women that he will always be stronger.

It shows women that their biggest trauma is not enough for justice.

It shows women that he will always be louder.

It shows women that they cannot stop their aggressor from achieving success.

Moving forward, I am hopeful that people, including myself, will continue the fight against silencing sexual assault victims. I hope to see people combat this low point to further progress instead of allowing it to silence them. I hope to see people recognize the eternal wrongdoing in Kavanaugh's confirmation.

We're all in this together, #MeToo.

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