Women CAN Be Sexual Predators... But Do People Actually Believe That?

Women CAN Be Sexual Predators... But Do People Actually Believe That?

People acknowledge that women are capable of rape and sexual assault; but the difference in how woman sexual predators are treated by the media and society suggests otherwise.
554
views

You know that statistic you learn in Health class about how one in four women will be sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime?

Thanks to recent events, we can see the validity of that statistic with our own eyes.

Dozens of women are now coming out to share their stories and experiences of sexual assault; but what makes the stories of these women more polarizing is that their assaulters were all men that are either very popular or in high-ranking positions: Harvey Weinstein, Russell Simmons, Ed Westwick, Donald Trump, and the list continues...

Reading their stories and hearing them speak out against the culture of victimization and sexual coercion that is highly prevalent in Hollywood was refreshing and empowering -- the gross and immoral instance of elitists using their power and wealth to abuse others should be exposed -- and I am only disappointed that it took so long to do so.

The stories of these women were more controversial, but they've been heard and told many times before: a woman is taken advantage of by a more powerful man — either physically or socially.

The tale is as old as time, leaving many of us frustrated, saddened, and — terribly — desensitized to the whole issue. We expect women to be raped or assaulted and we teach our girls to be aware of the possibility from a young age.

But let's take a look at the other perspective, the one where the woman is the disgusting and more powerful being. It's hard to take a look through this lens because it's almost non-existent — and it is not because women like that do not exist.

This lack of acknowledgment of female predators persists because oftentimes, people are unable to see men as vulnerable, even as young children or teenagers. Take the case of Mary Kay Letourneau, a teacher who raped her 6th-grade student and later became impregnated by him (twice).

She received jail time (only seven years, which is pretty skimpy for the severity of the crime; and that was not the length of her original sentence, which was only six months at first). She took a plea deal (that she later violated), which allowed her to forgo registering as a sex offender, as long as she promised not to contact the victim ever again. The boy later appealed to the court (when he was 18) to repeal the no-contact order — and the court allowed it.

They allowed a victim of sexual assault, sexual grooming, and emotional manipulation to have contact with his abuser, who took advantage of him while he was young and vulnerable — and who, to this day, continues to excise her control and influence over him.

Why does the media treat this family dynamic like it is normal?

"What if they're genuinely in love?" People say, but to that, I reply "hell no!" What 6th grader is 1. capable of engaging in sexual and romantic intimacy (in an emotionally healthy way) and 2. develops a (deep) attraction to a 34-year-old?!

I find it hard to believe that people would be singing the same tune if the roles were reversed and a 12-year-old girl was being raped by a 34-year-old man. Not only would they be disgusted, but they would treat the situation as it should be treated: as an instance of a perverse, manipulative adult exploiting and grooming a child in order to gain sexual gratification. The fact that the court did not originally force Letourneau to register as a sex offender shows that they believe that what she did was not assault at all. Anyone that is attracted to an adolescent has a problem and no empathy should've been offered to Ms. Letourneau.

The problem of people perceiving men as emotionally and physically indomitable does not only occur in instances where women are involved.

Terry Crews, a well-known actor, bravely shared his experience of sexual assault at the hands of another man. Terry Crews, being a large and muscular man, was scoffed at and made to feel inadequate because critics believed he should've 'defended' himself and that he behaved like a 'wuss' for allowing himself to be taken advantage of.

Women are shamed for being too vulnerable, while men are shamed for being vulnerable at all.

And it is from this biased view of women being weak and sensitive, that when they are exposed as sexual predators, their actions are (slightly, but obviously) justified — while some even outright deny their wrongdoings, unable to see them as capable of deviating from their standard position of the soft, gentle, nurturing creature that does not hunt, but is hunted.

In a way, it's offensive. The role of 'sexual predator' is yet another role only reserved for men. Of course, I have no desire at all to be a sexual predator; but hell, if I believe in gender equality, then I want women to be able to acquire any title that a man can, even those which are shameful.

The most recent person accused of sexual assault was a woman; a woman I have considered myself a fan of for many years: Melanie Martinez.

When news broke of her being an alleged rapist, I was shook. She always seemed so sweet, delicate, and fragile — how could she rape someone? Then I remembered that I didn't know her personally and I owe it to the victim to support them at this time (until any evidence suggested otherwise).

Some people didn't take that approach, however. Some fans burned her merchandise and promised never to support her again, but just as many began to make excuses for her, urging others to not 'jump to conclusions.'

I agree that that is a logical course of action to take, but I couldn't help feeling as though if Melanie Martinez was "Marcus" Martinez, those same fans wouldn't be so quick to think rationally. When the news of Ed Westwick allegedly raping someone hit the media, I wanted to cry. The charming, hunky British guy I have had a crush on since I was twelve was now a rapist. Not many defended him, rather they made remarks like "I can believe it, his character on Gossip Girl was creepy."

I get why when men are accused of rape, many people take it as truth — these events occur often and we have made the mistake in the past of not believing these allegations, which has damaged the lives of and psyche of many women. And many men do get free passes for their abuse, either because they are well liked or their victims are unknown and deemed insignificant. I am not blaming us for our biases, which have formed over time due to trends and what we've observed; but I am blaming the sexist culture we live in.

Men, deemed threatening, strong, and violent, are able to fit into the mold of what a sexual predator is, while women, deemed weak, non-threatening, and submissive, do not fit the archetype of a sexual predator. Once again, our gender-based biases and skewed perceptions cause us to make assumptions about the opposite sex; except in this instance, sexism allows women to benefit from these ignorant views.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

Popular Right Now

If God Didn’t Intend For Women To Be Equals, Why Did She Make Us So Incredible?

Yeah, I said She.

3261
views

An article that absolutely infuriates me has gone viral. As a feminist, as a writer, and simply as a woman, it drives me up a wall to see another woman proclaiming that God's plan for women was to "submit to their husbands."

I don't know where to start with all the issues I found in reading the piece, so I'll start with what a feminist is. It's a subjective term and its connotation varies from person to person.

But to me, feminism is being empowered and expressive individuals with open minds and open hearts. They are activists for change and equality. They have concerns about the environment and global warming. They acknowledge issues within sexism and racism and then try to figure out how to solve them. They see that the world isn't perfect.

Feminists are the reason we can vote. They're the reason birth control is an option for us. They're why we're allowed to wear pants. They're why we have careers. The female pioneers paved the way for anything we're allowed to do, and they are why we celebrate the power of women every March.

But instead, the woman who wrote "I'm A Christian And I'm Not A Feminist, Because God Did Not Intend For Women To Be Equals," used our month of pride for clout. And took justification from The Bible to do it.

The Bible is not an instruction manual. It was written over many, many years by hordes of sexist men whose existence we have minimal proof of. And over the last thousand years, it's been translated and reinterpreted more times than anyone could ever keep track of. That's not to say it doesn't have some good lessons, but lessons are all they are.

Thinking your worth and capabilities were planned for you thousands of years in advance is ignorant. Religion and The Bible and God are as subjective as feminism. Everything is open-ended. One person's view of who or what God is not going to be the same as the last.

Commonly, God is seen as a man at the center of the universe who holds all existence in his hands. He is the reason why anyone does anything. He is the rule maker. And He is judging us and waiting for our every mistake.

But as a proud feminist, I've chosen to have my own idea of this holy being. I wasn't brought up in church, but I decided to believe in something much greater than myself or anything I've ever seen just because I wanted to. I want to believe that faith has to come from somewhere, and I didn't want a book making the rules for me.

Just by watching life move through time, I happen to believe God is the good in all of us. Not one being, but he beginning and the end of everything. The push and the pull. The conscious and subconscious. And considering that God is the creator, I've concluded God must be a woman because women are the creators.

And in my experience, women have proved themselves to be much stronger and more capable than any man.

As for what She creates, I think She makes no mistakes. I think She tests our patience and beliefs by giving us what we don't expect. There's intent and love in everything She gives us. I think every woman was made to be relentless, imperfect, fearless, and even a little rebellious.

And if we're saying Adam and Eve were the start of it all, then God proved that right off the bat. God saved the best for last, and then made her a badass. Yes, the first woman came into this world as a rule breaker. She questioned authority. And since the beginning of time, authority has been a snake. The world is our forbidden fruit to bite.

The sole purpose of a woman isn't to submit to anyone. A woman can do whatever she damn well pleases, just as any man. A woman's worth isn't tied to what kind of wife or mother she is and how closely she follows the rules. I was raised by the most incredible mom and wife. She did happen to stay at home with me and be the traditional woman. But while she was home, she taught me how great it is to be a woman. She made sure I knew I could be whoever I wanted and would pay no consequences for that.

My parents didn't raise me in a church. And I never saw that as a flaw or lack of judgment. My southern home was like a church; full of faith and love. But on Sundays, we would sleep in and have a big breakfast at noon because we had too much fun staying up late Saturday night dancing around our living room to music. Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, and Madonna led the choir — singing about independence and the power of being empowered as women.

As a feminist, I will not judge those who haven't accepted all the honors of being female. I can just tell everyone how wonderful it is to stand for something. I can set an example so that more women will go forward.

And despite what anyone thinks of feminism, there's nothing exclusive about it. Feminists don't think they're any better than men, they just want the chance to prove their capabilities. It's so much bigger than thinking men suck. The truth is, we should have men at our side, not in front of or behind us. And not for romantic partnerships, but as allies. The best men are feminists too. We can make this walk alone, but there's power in numbers and in diversity.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

402
views

Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

Related Content

Facebook Comments