“She was dressed like a slut.”
“She asked for it.”
“She was all over him.”
We live in a culture that uses these excuses for why a woman is allowed to be raped. Somehow, we live in a culture that teaches young girls that they will probably be the target of some sort of sexual assault, whether physical, emotional, or verbal. And hey, this is okay, because this is what happens, right?
Wrong. I am so disgusted with society and the way that we approach the subject of rape, specifically the way that we approach rape when it comes to high profileÂ men and women. I am disgusted and Iâ€™ve truly had enough.
If youâ€™re unsure what Iâ€™m talking about, why donâ€™t you go ahead and google “professional athletes rape” and see what comes up. ThisÂ will come up, actually: A list of 9 professional athletes who have been charged and convicted of criminal sexual misconduct. But hey, let’s not sound so fancy. The first one, Darren Sharp, was convicted of drugging several women over the years, many of the women waking up to find themselves being assaulted. It’s heinous, and if nothing else, makes these men look pathetic.
But does it? We live in a culture where rough sex and sexual humiliation is glamorized in movies, porn, video games and comic books.Â One can google “sexist gifts” and be taken to Zazzle, a site that sells phone cases that your kids are asking for, and purchase a postcard that says, “I’m not a gynecologist, but I can take a look.” Why is this funny? Because we have made it funny.
I will never forget when Bill Cosby was accused of rape by the first woman. Bill Cosby, the household name, the coolest dad ever, the one that I had grown up watching and loving, could NOT POSSIBLY be a rapist. I have met the kind of men who take advantage of women. Heck, I have dated a few of them. Bill Cosby wasn’t the type…I just knew it. Â This was obviously a money hungry, 15-seconds-of-fame woman who wants a payout and her moment on US Weekly. Well, I think we all know that I was way off. Why do we assume innocence for everyone except the woman? Is it possible that some of these guys that we worship are maybe, possibly, actually HUGE douchebags?
Even more recent in the news is the case of Patrick Kane, hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks. While the case was dropped (which does not immediately mean innocence), while the investigation was ongoing, Kane was greeted at team camp with cheers and attaboy’s by Hawks fans. There was no low profile. There was no damage control done by the Chicago Blackhawks OR the NHL as a gesture to say, “We’re taking this seriously.” Instead, he was treated like a superstar and she was treated like a skank. Do I know that he did it? Nope. Do I think he did it? I’m not sure. But do I know that he didn’t? No, I don’t.
Hereâ€™s the bottom lineâ€¦guilty or innocent, if Kane were a normal guy at a normal job, heâ€™d be put on probation of some sort at MINIMUM. If he was found guilty, heâ€™d lose his job and be in jail. If I were the victim of an alleged sexual assault by a normal guy, people wouldnâ€™t be harassing me. They would be rallying behind me, supporting me, and encouraging me to do the right thing. It would be on the news as a heinous act. We would be disgusted. But Patrick Kane wears a jersey for a championship winning organization, and suddenly as a country, we lose compassion. We lose sympathy. We lose the ability to relate. Because sheâ€™s probably a skank, and she probably wants money, and he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And you know whatâ€¦maybe all of that is true. But does that make our thinking justified? Does that make okay us brushing this off as another money hungry slut? Ask yourselves these questions. They need to be asked. They need to be answered.
This is a cultural problem. The idea that people “ask” to be abused is beyond repulsive.
As a country, we teach girls how to not be raped, but we donâ€™t teach boys how to not rape girls. In college, freshmen girls are given rape whistles, are coached on rape prevention, and are told to stay in groups late at night. They are instructed to not leave drinks unattended, and especially to not take drinks from strangers. But in my hearts of hearts, in the area that houses my deep, deep revolt for injustice and inequality, I have to wonder why we donâ€™t offer freshman boys those same courses. Why are we not teaching the young men of America the difference between a girl who can make a decision and a girl who canâ€™t. Why arenâ€™t we teaching men that a woman has value, no matter how sheâ€™s dressed, and that no woman â€œdeservesâ€ it. WHAT IS WRONG WITH US that we are teaching prevention in fear and not prevention in proactivity. What is wrong with us that a woman should be in fear of going over a guyâ€™s house to watch a movie, lest he think that we want to have sex. Why is there so much shame in being a victim? Why is there so much fear in telling the truth?
Our hearts and mind have become corrupt in the way that we think and process. We are defending men and woman that we know nothing about because we see them on the TV, love their show, or own their jersey. We throw victims to the wayside when it doesnâ€™t compute in our brains. We donâ€™t want to lose our fantasy team, or our star player, or the championship, so we decide that thereâ€™s no absolute way that they would do that.
This isnâ€™t about Patrick Kane or Bill Cosby or Darren Sharper or the hundreds of other scandals and accusations that surround professional athletes and celebrities alike. This about the thousands of men and women who have been victims and have been made to feel like they have no voice. I donâ€™t know when our culture will change, but I do know that I will no longer sit by and be a part of it.
If you are a victim of rape or abuse in any sense of the word, be brave and take your life back. I will help you.
â€œThe only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.â€