So, if you’re an internet hound such as I am, you might have read about the recent story of a 13 year old girl and her friend who were allegedly raped by 17 year old high school football player and his buddy (this mirrors the Steubenville rape case so much, it’s alarming) in a town called Maryville in Missouri. From what I understand, the girls were at a party (gasp), drank too much (shocking) and were raped. Video was taken of the assault, and afterwards, she was taken to her house and left on the porch during the (very cold) night.
Well. Charges were dropped after a time, due to all sorts of “reasons”, even though he confessed. You can (and should) google all the articles you want to read about it. It’s sickening. It’s horrible. It’s alarming because even now in 2013, with our knowledge of rape and sexual assault, even now with our feministic ways fighting for this ever-elusive equality, we still have this thing called Rape Culture: where the girl is still to blame for enticing a man into some sort of uncontrollable sexual frenzy. The girl and her family were continually harassed via various social networking sites to the point that they had to move. Some of the reasoning behind this was that the “poor young man” almost had his glamorous football career ruined because of some stupid slut who was drunk at a party. Since then she has reportedly tried to kill herself twice.
I don’t know. See, the thing that we all have to wrap our head around is that NO MATTER WHAT, no girl asks/deserves/needs to be raped. Whether she is drunk, half dressed, dancing like a stripper, walking down the street, flirting with a guy… NO MATTER WHAT. No person has any right to that body unless it is clearly consensual. And yet, sadly, still, there are people who slut-shame girls for how they dress and what they drink…. “She was asking for it.” “What a skank.” “She wanted it.” “Stupid slut deserves everything she got.” No. NO NO NO. Just NO!!!!
We shouldn’t have to teach our girls to learn how to be safe at college or high school parties because these rapists should … wait for it… NOT RAPE. They shouldn’t have to be spoken to about behaviour and leading the boys on. They shouldn’t ever have to fear leaving a bus depot or train station by themselves at 2 in the morning… Those courses at college called “How not to get raped” should actually be for men, and the class should be called “Don’t rape”. Here’s an analogy I read once that sums it up: If your neighbour is grilling up the best smelling steak EVER, even if you are really hungry and want to eat that steak, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO EAT IT.
I talk to my son about rape. I am very clear and open with him. He may squirm and blush, but OH NO, he needs to hear it. I say things like “Even if you’re hot and heavy with a girl and she says NO, you have to stop.” Or “If you’re at a party and you see something happening that looks like assault, step in and stop it, even it if it’s your friend and it means you get punched in the face.” I say “It is never ever okay to force a girl.” I tell him all about the facts about rape. About how dangerous it still is to be a girl these days. I also tell him that a girl has every right to explore her own sexuality without being labelled a slut. I tell him how misogynistic and full of double standards that archaic belief is.
I tell my daughter all this too.
I repeat it over and over. And over.
I think they hear me.
Please have a conversation with your kids, your sons and your daughters. Be honest. Be truthful. Let’s be the ones that end Rape Culture.
It’s been removed, but shortly before this blew up on the internet the accused man had a twitter account and one of his tweets was “If her name starts with abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz, she wants the D.” His mother must be so proud.
Here’s a link to get you started: