Yes, It Isn't Just Trump That Perpetuates Rape Culture
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Yes, It Isn't Just Trump That Perpetuates Rape Culture

Without changing the way society views sexual assault, the out-pour of recent allegations is meaningless.

Yes, It Isn't Just Trump That Perpetuates Rape Culture
Joe Raedle

As a woman growing up in the era of Trump, I am scared.

Every day, sexual assault allegations disfigure my news feed; another day, another headliner, another woman who has come forward, another name to add to the lists of offenders and victims. It’s become numbing to read. After a while, the implications of these experiences blur together, the women and their abusers are lumped into two separate sums, their stories run together like wet ink on a page...until it’s hard to determine which story lined up with which woman. Was she the one in from of whom he masturbated? Or was she the one that was offered an interview in exchange for sexual favors? Did he grope this woman or that one on live television?

Sexual assault allegations should mortify you. The branded social media hashtag, #MeToo should crush you. In school, we’re thrown numbers as if they’re knives--statistics about the fraction of women who are assaulted on college campuses (23.1% of undergrads), women who are sexually harassed in the workplace (33% aged 18-34), women who experience sexual violence other than rape throughout their lifetime (50%). It’s scary because these things aren't taught to us as data sets that we can manipulate, they're taught to us as facts.

In my seventh-grade wellness class, I learned that one in four college women will survive rape. One in four. The problem is that, when we hear this statistic, the worry is immediately projected onto ourselves. I have a one in four chance of surviving a rape. There's not so much of a focus on those three other women. We should instead recognize I have a one in four chance of surviving a rape and so does she and so does she and so does she. We are taught to swallow our words, protect ourselves and take initiative as women to not put ourselves in situations where we could get hurt. So we aren't the girls who "get" sexually assaulted. As if it's that simple. As if it's a choice one can make. And that is so backwards. We are taught to look after only ourselves, and not other girls who are just as much a part of that statistic as we are. Victim blaming continues to be perpetuated, and will continue to cycle if something is not done. Which is so troubling that our President of the United States actively encourages victim blaming, perpetuating rape culture instead of working to correct it.

Donald Trump faces accusations from 16 different women for sexual assault. And despite the utmost bravery of each woman to come forward and relive her experience under a national spotlight, this did not derail his campaign. He won. He won after mocking the women and their accusations, belittling them and stepping on them as if they were not worth his time. What does this say to young women when a man who is supposed to reflect the values of the United States acts in this way? What does it say about our country? We have chosen this man to lead us. And he has not.

The powerful are dangerous, especially when they are ignorant and unwilling to initiate societal change. It is wrong that sexual assault happens so often. It is wrong to blame the victim for what someone else has done to their body. It is wrong to internalize and normalize. It is wrong to stay ignorant and passive. This is not about politics. This is about justice. This is about safety. This is about the human right to be in control of your own body. No matter what. No matter how many drinks you’ve had. No matter what the context. Consent is a right. This is not debatable or political. These are the facts we should be teaching in schools.

We are now entering a significant turning point in the way our society views sexual assault. Public outrage to recent sexual allegations gives me hope. The unveiling of such trauma is a difficult, emotional process to watch and to experience. But we cannot stagnate. We cannot become accustomed to this. We cannot let the accused retreat and be forgotten time and time again. Because countless victims have suffered to get this far and so many have yet to challenge those who have wronged them.

As a young woman growing up in the era of Trump, I am scared.

But I am also resilient.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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