In today’s society, victimization of sexual assault and rape has been brought to attention not just on news outlets, but social media and college campuses around the nation. Outsiders assume that the victim is at fault because of their ‘supposed’ actions and looks. What individuals do not consider, is the “behind the scenes” of what is actively going on that victims’ stress and struggle to speak about. Sexual assault is not just occurring in everyday life to females, but to a small percentage of males. Finding help, talking to victims, and being proactive as a bystander can protect and fight against sexual assault and rape.
Individuals assume that the majority of rape cases are because of the way girls act and dress when going out to a party or living their everyday life. Our world today has become so prone to blaming the girls for what happens to them. She was raped because she wore a short skirt, a crop top, tight clothes, or a low cut shirt. Women should be able to walk around in public wearing whatever they please. If men can, why can’t women? Why is it that even to this day women are treated differently?
Men do not understand that women these days are afraid to walk the streets by themselves because if they come across a group of guys, they know they will get stared at and whistled at. Guys think girls love that, but in reality, it creeps them out and makes girls sick to their stomach not knowing what could happen next if they say something rude in return to what was said to them, or make a gesture to one of the guys. “It has been estimated that approximately 20% of all women will be raped at some point through their life course” (Tark and Kleck).
Most college kids nowadays love going to parties and having fun with friends. The problem with parties is much underage drinking occurs, and a lot of illegal substances are abused. As per the NIAAA, individuals that have consumed alcohol can have the following symptoms: “difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, and impaired memory” (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). Due to these symptoms, it makes it a lot easier for someone to convince another individual to do something that he or she would never do, while completely sober. After drinking a glass or two, one can lose partial control of the body and actions.
Many women do not come forth about being raped because if they were under the influence, they could be afraid that they will get in trouble for drinking underage or that nobody believes them because he or she were drunk, so the night is a little blurred and maybe could have dreamed of this happened. Many times a perp will act as though they are upset and depressed to get the victim to do as they want. They begin to tell the victim all about their problems, so the victim will feel bad for them and just wants them to be happy.
Sometimes the reason the victim remains silent about being raped is that the perpetrator threatened them or bribed them not to say anything. Although if the victim goes to the police about it, the police will always say we will keep you safe, it is not always that easy. So, to the victim, it is just better to keep it to themselves to keep them, their friends, and family from getting hurt.
Another major fear is that even if they come forth about being raped, and the perpetrator goes to jail there is a chance of the perpetrator leaving on bail and the victim has that fear of being threatened or victimized again. Most of the time what happens when a victim comes forth to an organization about being raped is that they become the next campaign, and most victims do not want that, so they stay quiet and keep what happened to themselves. Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused.
“When women go public with their stories of rape, they place a great deal of trust on our social systems as they risk disbelief, scorn, shame, and refusals of help.” (Campbell, Wasco and Ahrens). Those are a few of the reasons why most women are afraid to come forth about being raped. We need to start putting more marketing campaigns out there, to make guys realize that what they are doing to these women is wrong. “Don't Be That Guy - a behavioral marketing campaign sends the message that sex without consent is sexual assault. We are sending a visual message to men between the ages of 18 and 25, graphically demonstrating their role in ending alcohol facilitated sexual assaults.” (The Violence Stops Here). An important thing at colleges that all professors and coaches must follow is Title IX. Title IX protects all students from any sexual discrimination and sexual misconduct.
“Title IX covers all forms of sexual discrimination and sexual misconduct, including but not limited to sexual harassment, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, dating violence and domestic violence. Mansfield University is committed to ensuring that all reports of sexual discrimination and misconduct reported by an individual are promptly addressed to determine what occurred, take interim steps to protect the individual if necessary, provide a timely response to end any violence, prevent its recurrence and eliminate the effects of any discrimination.” (Mansfield University).
Just because she did not say no, does not mean she is saying yes. When women are under the influence or scared in can be hard for them to say no and yell for help. They are afraid that if they struggle to get the perp off them, then they will only get hurt more. So, they lay there lifeless with fear and tears in their eyes and allow the perpetrator to do as they wish to their body. One may not see any physical harm to their body, but what that does to their mind will affect their everyday life from that day on.
Victims of rape will be emotionally scarred for life. Every time they close their eyes they will see the perpetrators face, they will feel the perpetrator on top of them, and they will feel the pain the perpetrator caused them. People always seem to ask the victim “why didn’t you just say no?” but as I said it is not that easy, and people do not understand that, and that is when the victim gets blamed. Because of this issue, many women stay quiet about being raped and allow their rapist to continue to roam the streets and abuse more women. However, that is not right, and we should not be blaming the victim for something they had no control over and then defending the rapist for destroying the victims’ life.
Victims need to realize that what happened to them is not fair and they need to speak up about it because help is out there, and if that one person talks about what happened to them, they could save so many lives and put that rapist behind bars where they belong. “Out of every 1,000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free.” (RAINN) 994 is a huge number of perpetrators that are walking free to this day when they should be behind bars for life.
Throughout this essay, I may have portrayed women as though they are always the victim, and men are always the perpetrators, but this is not the case. As I continued to do more research and read more articles, I have come to realize that rape with men being the victim is almost as common as women being the victim, but is not taken as seriously. “We might assume, that if a man has an erection, he must want sex.
However, imagine if the same were said about women” (Rosin). While being raped many men feel used, worthless, and weak. After the rape occurs, most men do not come forth about it because they know that nobody will believe them. They will get made fun of and will lose their man box, so they stay quiet and act as though nothing ever happened because if it gets out and the perp finds out that he is going around blaming her, she will immediately say he raped her. More people will believe her story over his sadly.
People will tend to say that if a male is raped that a “real man” would have been able to protect himself, and wouldn’t have allowed a woman to take advantage of him. Due to that statement, you will not hear many stories about men being a victim of rape. “As of 1998, 2.78 million men in the U.S. had been victims of attempted or completed rape.” (RAINN) I want to go back to where I said that men would lose their man box, and explain the man box a little to anyone who does not know what it is or what it means.
A man box is a guideline that men are supposed to follow in life such as do not cry or express emotions, do not show weakness or fear, demonstrate power and control especially over women, protector, do not be like a woman, heterosexual, and a few other “rules” that they must follow. Guys are taught about this man box at a very young age and continue to follow it because they have that fear that if they get out of the man box, then they will not be respected as a man. Tony Porter is an author, educator, and activist working to fix social justice issues. He is trying to prevent violence against women while promoting a healthy, and respectful manhood. He wrote this book called “Breaking Out of the "Man Box": The Next Generation of Manhood.”
“The man box teaches boys to have less value in the experience of girls. The man box teaches that men are strong and women are weak. It teaches that women are too emotional. The man box teaches that men are in charge and control. It teaches boys to have no fear to not acknowledge pain, particularly emotional pain. It teaches that men are the protectors and that they rarely ask for help. Asking for help is viewed as a sign of weakness.” (T. Porter)
In everyday life, finding the right help for victims and being proactive in society about sexual assault and rape is difficult. For victims to express their emotion and stories about their past is not just terrifying to them, but also stressful and can cause distress that they once had. As Tony Porter said in a TED Talk, “There is a minority of men who perpetuate a tremendous amount of violence against women. These men are counting on good men to stay true to the rules – the rules that allow them to be who they are in the presence of good men.” (A. Porter) As a whole, coming together to raise awareness by going out on the streets at the break of dawn, creating social media campaigns, and talking to victims, we not only can learn a lot about sexual assault and rape but fight against the cruelty and the perpetrators.
Campbell, Rebecaa, et al. "Preventing the "Second Rape"." Interpersonal Violence (2001): 1239-1259. Document.
Hockett, Jericho M, Donald A Saucier and Caitlyn Badke. "Rape Myths, Rape Scripts, and Common Rape Experiences of College Women: Differences in Perceptions of Women Who Have Been Raped." Violence Against Women (2016): 307-323. Document.
Mansfield University. Title IX Information. 1972. Document. 6 May 2017.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alchololism. Alcohol Alert. 1 October 2004. Document. 4 May 2017.
Porter, Anthony. Why men act out against women. 26 December 2010. Article. 9 May 2017.
Porter, Tony. Breaking Out of the "Man Box": The Next Generation of Manhood. 26 1 2016. Book. 9 5 2017.
RAINN. The Criminal Justice Systems: Statistics. n.d. Document. 6 May 2017.
Rosin, Hanna. When Men Are Raped. 29 April 2014. Document. 6 May 2017.
Tark, Jongyeon and Gary Kleck. "Resisting Rape: The Effects of Victim SelfProtection on Rape Completion and Injury." Violence Against Women (2014): 270-292. Document.
The Violence Stops Here. Don't Be That Guy. 2010. Document. 4 May 2017.