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.
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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

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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I Am Pro-Life, And I Am Tired Of Being Attacked For My Opinion

I am pro-life from a secular and logical standpoint.

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We live in a country based on free speech, so why are pro-lifers verbally and physically attacked for merely their stance on a controversial topic? Why is Instagram censoring pro-life voices? Social media users should be given both sides of the argument, then allowed to make an informed decision, but by showing them only pro-choice content, their opinion will be biased.

Harmless pro-life posts are being shadow-banned from popular hashtags, lowering reach and engagement. There is a problem when non-violent, non-hateful posts showcasing people holding up signs that say, "Voices for the Voiceless", are censored.

Why are pro-choicers allowed to share their opinions on social media and be praised, while pro-lifers lose followers for sharing a pro-life post? It is vital that people have different opinions, and shunning pro-lifers encourages homogeneity of political opinions. Pro-lifers should not lose friends. Pro-lifers should not be attacked. Pro-lifers should not be scared of speaking up for what they believe is right.

I am pro-life, but I respect everyone's opinion. Instead of shunning the opposite side, I try to hear them out and understand where they are coming from.

Instead of dismissing pro-lifers as being old white men trying to control women's bodies, why not hear them out and try to understand the reasoning behind their opinions?

I used to be neutral on the topic of abortion, until a month ago, when I saw something that completely changed my perspective. It was around the time Governor Kemp signed the fetal heartbeat bill in Georgia, and it was a hot topic, so I decided to do some research. I came across a sight called "Priests For Life". "Oh great", I thought, "This site is going to impose its Christian views of abortion on everyone." Once on the site, I clicked on a tab titled, "America Will Not Reject Abortion Until America Sees Abortion."

I clicked on the gallery, and was confronted with the cold hard truth. View the gallery with extreme caution, because the images/videos are VERY graphic.

From this site, I also discovered that planned parenthood harvests and sells the body parts of aborted babies. Keep in mind, Planned Parenthood, providing 1/3 of abortions in America, receives $500 million dollars yearly from taxpayers. Having taxpayers' money going toward reforming foster care would be a better idea in my opinion.

The Declaration of Independence states, "Endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". The difference in opinion on whether the law should protect unborn children is a major factor that divides the pro-life and pro-choice movements.

In my humble opinion, I believe an unborn child should be protected by the law once a heartbeat is detected. We cannot dehumanize unborn children with euphemisms such as "clump of cells" or "potential life". We were all once "a clump of cells", and we still are. Can you name one non-living thing with a heartbeat? There is none.

The level of development of a human does not detract from his/her rights. All lives matter!

The most common pro-choice argument is "My body my choice." Yes, your body your choice, but when it's not your body, it's not your choice. The baby has its own unique set of DNA, its own organs, its own limbs, brain activity and a heartbeat. Just because a woman carries a baby does not give her a right to end his/her life.

Some may say the fetus cannot survive on its own, but a 1 month infant cannot either. A one month old infant depends on the care of a mother or guardian, and if it were to be left without food or water, it would not be able to fend for itself. Someone on life support cannot survive without the incubator. Elderly people with dementia depend on the care of staff in senior centers for survival.

The parasite argument is also a common one. Basic biology can refute this one. An unborn child in the womb is not a parasite, because for it to be a parasite it would have to be a different species than the mother, which would cause an adverse immune response.

"Everyone has the right to choose," is found on almost every pro-choice protest sign, and yes I agree. You have the right to choose to do whatever you want, but the second your actions harm another human's rights, a line must be drawn.

A women's right to choose ends when her baby's right to life begins.

Another common argument that is condescending towards pro-lifers is that they are pro-birth but not pro-life. Tell that to the thousands of pro-lifers adopting multiple children, giving them the best possible life. Tell that to the people outside of planned parenthood with signs that say "I will take your baby." Tell that to the numerous churches helping pregnant women. Tell that to the government who is giving single mothers tax breaks, food stamps and countless other resources.

The foster system may be flawed, but that is not justify ending the life of a child. More than 18,000 American families successfully adopt newborn babies in the United States every year.

Regardless, suffering is inevitable; you cannot end a child's life because he/she will live a difficult life. Instead, legislation should be passed to improve the foster care system and the adoption process. When a child is not aborted there is always hope, a chance, a possibility.

Some "pro-lifers" say, "I am pro-life for my body, but pro-choice for everyone else". This reasoning fails in many ways. You never hear anyone say, "I would never abuse my child, but I would never take away a parent's choice of if they want to abuse their child or not". Being pro-life means advocating for the defenseless, which means every single child, not just your own.

Women can do whatever they want with their lives, as long as their actions do not end the heartbeat of another human being.

All over social media, you see people sharing posts that say the women will be sentenced to 99 years of jail for having an abortion and 30 years for a miscarriage, but this is false. Often celebrities are the ones using their platforms to share these false statements. People should also fact-check the things they see on Instagram before believing them.

One line all pro-choicers say is "No uterus, no opinion". Let's not forget the people who made abortion legal were old, white men. This line is hypocrisy at its finest. If the line was "No prostate, no opinion", World War III would break out.

Most people are outraged by the fact that majority of the politicians who signed the heartbeat bill in Georgia were men, but let us not forget that Georgia residents vote for these representatives knowing the policies they advocate for. Around 40% of Americans are pro-life, and around 40% of women are pro-life, but these percentages are significantly greater in Conservative states, which explains the election of conservative representatives in Georgia and Alabama.

Pro-choicers often paint an image of pro-lifers as men who want to control the bodies of women, but that could not be any further from the truth. Abortion allows men to use women and not be held responsible for the consequences. Banning abortion teaches men responsibility and loyalty.

The purpose of the pro-life movement is not to control a woman's body but rather grant an innocent, unborn child the fundamental right to life.

Regardless of my pro-life stance, I do believe abortion should be allowed in RARE cases; for example, when the mother's health is in danger.

I agree these anti-abortion bills put a lot of stress on the mother, so I am all for increasing the involvement of the father. Whether it be increasing the amount and frequency of child support payments or making the father co-parent, it takes two to create a child, so the father should pull his weight.

Dr. Martin Luther King Sr. once said, "Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate."

This article is not meant to shun anyone who has had an abortion or is pro-choice. I respect your stance 100 percent. The purpose of this article is to address the social media bias towards liberal views of abortion and the stigma of leaning toward the right on abortion. There is no one right answer to this debate. It is not always black and white; that is why the abortion debate has been going on for decades.

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