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

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

It's your problem, too.
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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.

Sincerely,
Every sexual assault survivor, ever.

Cover Image Credit: Alexandra Collier

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.

rahma
rahma
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These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.

rahma
rahma

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