Saturday, 4 June 2016

Read the Powerful Letter the Stanford Victim Read Aloud to Her Attacker

It might seem strange to link to a post about rape in this blog titled "Innovations to Change the World...". But the state of rape culture means that it is an innovation to propose that when it comes to committing sexual assault, a person should have to take responsibility for their actions.

What is it about rape culture, and overall male culture, that seems to create men who are completely unable to admit wrongdoing? A genuine human being recognizes when they have done wrong, admits to it, and then changes their behaviour.

As a past victim of rape myself, what is far more frightening than the thought of being raped again (and let me be honest, that thought is terrifying), is the realization of non-culpability that is rampant in a culture where people, especially men, cannot seem to grasp the concept of consent.

So much effort is put into blurring the very very straightforward reality that "ANYTHING OTHER THAN YES IS NO". Anything! There is no excuse, ever. Yet in courts of law, we see a million excuses being used, and hear a lot of talk about how it's all such a grey area, and consent is impossible to prove. But in this case, and in many others, the lack of consent was BLATANT. That should be all that is needed. Not a process of revictimization, and a victim on trial... just an acknowledgement that consent was not present, and a sentence for the guilty party.

Men have tried to make me feel guilty, to feel sorry for them, because it is so hard to be man. Men are in shark-infested waters because they never know when a woman might turn on them, and accuse them of rape. Yes. Let's just all join the pity party for men accused of rape or sexual assault.

Maybe men are finally feeling some of the chronic fear that women learn to cope with everyday. The difference is, men's fear is about a loss of reputation if they are accused. Women fear being physically violated and possibly killed, and for there to be no justice if and when this happens because "maybe she wanted it".

Women are told to do things if they are afraid of being attacked: don't wear this, don't go here, don't act this way, don't drink that, etc. So, men, what are the things you could be doing to avoid the rampant danger of being accused of sexual assault or rape? Simple. Ensure consent. Over and over again. And stop when you are asked to stop. Stop if there is not explicit consent. Don't touch. Keep your hands and penis to yourself. Not quite as onerous as not being able to go out at night if you want to, not being able to go out alone, or wear the clothes you want to wear, or enjoy parties because of constant fear of being drugged... is it?

Sorry men, but I don't feel sorry for you anymore. And you should leave your own pity party and get a life. One in which you respect yourself and others, and take responsibility for your actions and behaviours.

Please read the statement from this victim of assault. You might be surprised at how reasonable and fair-minded she is. Especially if you have been at all influenced by rape culture and misogyny.