Of you want to know why I keep pounding away on this topic, Think Progress offers just a few sample statistics to explain why this is such a problem. And the message needs to be heard by MEN, because the vast majority of rapists are men. It goes well beyond the actual act. It is about respecting women as people as much as you respect other men. Too many of us don’t do that, even if they don’t go so far as sexual assault.
My thanks to a new follower of this blog for posting this cartoon on her own blog I do think it is important for young men and boys to stop destroying their own lives and futures by sexual assaulting another. But ultimately, they are making that choice, the victim is not, so it is not about their lives it’s about the lives they have damaged or even destroyed with their vicious act. I’ll add again, that is so whether it is a man or a woman, whether s/he is a sex worker, a gender bender, a “slut,” or any other person whom someone might think “deserves it.” This is is an inviolable right, and no one loses it for any reason. Is it really rocket science to understand that NO means NO?!
And hey, media folks! I’m a journalist too. Can any of you explain to me what possessed you to report on a horrifying act of rape through the lens of sympathizing with the rapists rather than the victim?
It is absolutely shocking to me that the girl who was raped in Steubenville, Ohio is now being subjected to threats and harassment for coming forward, as is the blogger who helped shine a national spotlight on this appalling case. It is a sad comment on how far we still have to go regarding the treatment of women in our culture. It is also a sad comment on how freely rape permeates so much of the society around us.
Photo by Toban B., Published under a Creative Commons license.
Some are blaming team sports, media, religion, or whatever they see as the root cause of rape. Yet in fact, rape is pervasive. It happens in every community. It happens to men as well as women. It is mostly perpetrated by men, but women too sometimes engage in rape. It happens among secular people as well as religious. It happens in egalitarian groups. It happens in sex-positive environments as well as sexually suppressed ones. No matter where you turn, rape happens.
Rape is often, but not always, perpetrated for the feeling of power over another. But sometimes rape happens due to a sense of entitlement, and it can even happen as an act of sex—an overly desperate person sees an opportunity with someone in a compromised position, drunk or unconscious, and takes advantage. Rape has many forms, sometimes including only verbal coercion, sometimes merely taking advantage of a person whose wits are not about them, sometimes using massive physical force. It is not as one dimensional as some would have it be, and that just makes the problem more vexing. Continue reading