To The Men Who Think Rape Culture Doesn’t Exist, This Is For You.

To the men who think rape culture doesn't exist,

I am first going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you might just be a little confused. Here is the lowdown: rape culture is not a trend. Rape culture isn't new. It does not just affect women, it affects men, it affects you. You still say rape culture is not real? Well, this is what I have to say to you:

Rape culture is real when a girl says she was raped and your first question was, “What was she wearing?” Rape culture is real when you justify treating a girl with disrespect simply because she “gives it up so easily.” Rape culture is real when you tell your daughters, sisters, or girlfriends not to wear short shorts or makeup because they are “asking for attention.”

Rape culture is real when girls report being catcalled and harassed, and you tell them to walk in the “buddy system.” Rape culture is real when you enforce stricter dress codes for 5-year-old girls than you do boys. Rape culture is real if it pisses you off when she doesn’t smile and say “thank you” when you tell her how nice her ass is, or if it pisses you off when she turns down any advances you make.

Rape culture is real when you assume that her saying “yes” to one sex act or engaging in any sex act ever, means that she is willing to do so again. Rape culture is real when you call her a “slut” or a “whore” for engaging in casual sex with you. Rape culture is real when you feel you are entitled to sex with your significant other, or anyone, ever.

Rape culture is real when we teach women that their virginity is precious, their bodies are a temple and should be conserved modestly, but teach boys that sex is an entitlement and women’s bodies are something to pursue.

Rape culture is real when you ignore the possibility of any sexual assault or harassment against boys- and say well, they just "got lucky." Newsflash: Sexual harassment and sexual assault do not discriminate: female to male rape happens, male to male rape happens, female to female rape happens.

To the men that think rape culture does not affect them: let me give you a scenario. Imagine that you are unconscious and a woman or man that you are not attracted to you has sex with you without your consent, or, even better- a woman or man you are not attracted to holds you down and has sex with you as you are conscious. Imagine a woman or man you are not attracted to grabs your butt as you walk by at a party, catcalls you and stares at your groin as you are walking to class. Do you like the idea of that? No? Well, that is exactly what sexual assault and sexual harassment is: unwanted. Uncomfortable. Invasive. Violent. Don't let pornography, society, your peers fool you into thinking that this can't happen to you as a male. You do not have to be sexually aggressive. You do not have to want every sexual advance that comes to you.

Is it real yet?

Rape culture is real when you are only upset by the idea of any of these things happening to your own mother, sister, girlfriend, wife- but it doesn't phase you if it involves a woman unrelated to you. If it takes you imagining every female is one of your own to stop your behavior, stop your assumptions, stop your harassment, to stop being a bystander- then fine, please do it. Whatever it takes to end this plague. We just want it to end.

How about now?

We are sick of being pushed to behave sexually and dress a certain way, but shamed when we do. We are sick of looking over our shoulder, carrying our car key in between our fingers when we walk alone, walking in the buddy system. We are sick of being called bitches, sluts, whores, or crazy feminists when we yell and scream about rape culture, about being disrespected, about not being heard.

Well, I am going to yell and scream and bitch and moan for the rest of my damn life until you hear me. Until you stop averting your eyes when I talk about my sexual assault until you stop asking "what were you wearing?" and instead ask "how can I help?" I won't stop, no, until then. Maybe then, it will affect you enough to finally acknowledge that rape culture is real.

We will not be silenced.

Every sexual assault survivor, ever.

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