The blame game

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All stats come from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)

Society often tends to batter those who need our support most. We are starved of mercy. The plight of the sexually abused-stalking, harassment, assault, rape, etc- is an all too real example of this. The epidemic of sexual violence is one of the most repulsive realities of current society. One out of every six women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape; every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. 94% of raped women go on to develop PTSD during the two weeks following their attack. 33% of these women become suicidal. Along with the detrimental personal emotional effects, many rape victims go on to develop drug addictions, relationships issues, and are at the risk of pregnancy or STIs.

This country boasts of its freedom, but being told how much to drink and what to wear is not freedom.”

So the trend of turning our eyes and plugging our ears to the sound of victims crying out for help needs to end. More pressing than that, the disgusting tendency to disregard, doubt, and derail victims when they muster up the courage to tell their story is a norm that needs to meet its demise.

Why must society greet bravery with a slew of accusatory questions? “Were you drunk?” “What were you wearing?” “Why were you there?” “Why didn’t you protect yourself?” These pointed questions take the responsibility away from the true perpetrators. Why play the blame game when there should be no debate over the winner? How is it fair to tell girls what they should’ve done, should’ve worn, and should’ve gone?  Where is the justice in that?

In the case of intoxication, if someone is so drunk that they are incoherent, unable to communicate, or unaware of what is going on, they most likely are unable to consent. If simple speaking is difficult to manage, how can someone consent to sex? Moreover, if someone is passed out, they aren’t conscious. They cannot physically speak. They are incapacitated. In no way is that an invitation for violation of the most severe degree. In all cases of invasion, a victim’s sobriety should not be a variable in seeking justice. The interrogation is meant for the attacker(s)– the sole person(s) at fault.

A survivor’s clothing at the time of an attack should never be at question either. No one is asking for it. Stop putting forth that agenda. It doesn’t matter how little or how much skin one is showing. Preserving the idea that a girl, or boy’s, clothing is in any way a reflection of what they want to have done to them is a precarious path to continue on. We are supposed to have rights. We should be able to dress as we please. This country boasts of its freedom, but being told how much to drink and what to wear is not freedom. Living in fear is not freedom. This idea that we should teach kids “not to get raped” is the very reason why rape culture persists. Don’t give justification to the animals of society. That is not the solution. We need to teach our children from the beginning that it is essential to respect one another; that the bodies of others are theirs and not merely there for one’s own pleasure; and that consent is the most important part of sex. No, this is not to say all boys are rapists– that is far from the truth. No, this would not be the extinction of all rapists. Yes, there are those who are born rapists or sadists, and no teaching will ever change that. But we can start making a move to a kinder, more respectful society.

It seems to be so difficult to stand by victims. People are so frightened by the oh-so-horrid “feminist” label. And though I will proudly call myself a feminist and champion of women’s rights, this is more than just a women’s issue. Because men are 10% of rape victims. Because men are fathers, sons, and brothers. And because we are all humans.

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