Trigger Warning (TW): Rape, sexual assault, domestic violence. (TW is a term warning the reader of the following content, as it might cause mental distress due to its content. Just like a TVPG label on a show or an MPAA rating.)
Being a woman can be like living in a war zone. So many of us suffer from PTSD due to multiple sexual assaults, domestic violence, rape and the constant threat of those things happening if we aren’t “careful”. Even if being “careful” means your chances of being assaulted don’t decrease. This idea of women “protecting” themselves is a complete load of bullshit. Rape and sexual assault is not dictated by what you wear, because most assaults are committed by people the victim knows. And it is not “deserved” or “asked for” because a woman chose to enjoy life by drinking with her friends, having a sexual encounter that she wants to stop (too many men won’t listen to “no” while in the middle of a sexual encounter), or just existing as a female human. (In that instance, I was speaking from a cisgender point of view. I do not mean to exclude any trans women or anyone gender nonconforming, I just wanted to speak from my own experiences.)
What helps persist these feelings of anger toward women, or the need to take power over women is mostly a result of Rape Culture.
A list of examples of rape culture by Everyday Feminism outlines the seriousness of how ingrained rape culture is in our everyday lives.
Rape Culture Is…
1. A university in Canada that allows the following student orientation chant: “Y is for your sister. O is for oh-so-tight. U is for underage. N is for no consent. G is for grab that ass.”
2. Pop music that tells women “you know you want it” because of these “blurred lines” (of consent).
3. A judge who sentenced only 30 days in jail to a 50-year-old man who raped a 14-year-old girl (who later committed suicide), and defended that the girl was “older than her chronological age.”
4. Mothers who blame girls for posting sexy selfies and leading their sons into sin, instead of talking with their sons about their responsibility for their own sexual expression.
5. Photo memes like this:
6. Supporting athletes who are charged with rape and calling their victims career-destroyers.
7. Companies that create decals of a woman bound and gagged in order to “promote their business.”
8. People who believe that girls “allow themselves to be raped.”
9. Journalists who substitute the word “sex” for “rape” – as if they’re the same thing.
11. Calling college students who have the courage to report their rapes liars.
12. The ubiquity of street harassment – and how victims are told that they’re “overreacting” when they call it out.
13. Victims not being taken seriously when they report rapes to their university campuses.
15. Sexual assault prevention education programs that focus on women being told to take measures to prevent rape instead of men being told not to rape.
16. The victimization of hospital patients, especially people with mental health issues and the elderly, by the very people who are there to protect them.
17. Reddit threads with titles like “You just have to make sure she’s dead” when linking to the story of a 13-year-old girl in Pakistan being raped and buried alive.
18. Reddit threads dedicated to men causing women pain during sex (I’m not going to give the thread credence by linking to it).
19. Twitter hashtags that support accused rapists and blame victims.
20. Publicly defending celebrities accused of rape just because they’re celebrities and ignoring or denouncing what the victim has to say.
21. Assuming that false reporting for sexual assault cases are the norm, when in reality, they’re only 2-8%, which is on par with grand theft auto.
22. Only 3% of rapists ever serve a day in jail.
23. Women feeling less safe walking the streets at night than men do.
24. 1-in-5 women and 1-in-71 men having reported experiencing rape.
25. The fact that we have to condition ourselves not to use violent language in our everyday conversations.
And the list could go on.
According to the University of California, Santa Barbara, the reasons for rape are really not about sex:
“The first [reason] is power. Power rape is motivated by the desire to control and dominate the survivor. Most often the intent in these kind of rapes are not to injure the survivor, but more to gain control by using just enough force to get the survivor to comply with the rapist’s wishes. The perpetrator usually does not use enough force to actually hurt a survivor more than the pain of being raped. What we mean to say is they do not also “beat up” the survivors on top of raping them.”
This is followed by anger and sadistic rapes:
“Sexual gratification is typically never sought by the rapist; instead the rapists are consumed by a resentment towards others, usually women, that makes them feel as though something should be done to punish them and achieve some type of revenge. Anger rape is more violent than power rape, and more often than not, it occurs between two total strangers.”
“Sadistic rapes are usually preplanned and have a history of being the most brutal rapes that use tactics such as torture, bondage, and sexual abuse involved. This is the least common type of rape, which is fortunate because it is the most gruesome, with the rapist getting pleasure from hurting and degrading the survivor.”
And THAT is one of the thousands of reasons why you need feminism. Male, female, cis, trans or gender nonconforming, you need it.
Part 3 of this 3 part series on feminism and why you need it will conclude with some miscellaneous facts about female politicians, police brutality, abortion legislation, and more.