This week I received many more comments on the website and facebook page. While that’s great, a lot of them were negative criticisms of the work I’m doing, questioning the relevance or existence of rape culture, and generally assuming I hate men and think all of them are rapists.
Reading those comments was harder than expected. I knew I’d get criticisms and anti-feminist responses, but they sure did upset me. Interacting with people who think this way about rape culture and feminism is scary. I’m trying to do all this work against our culture’s view of rape and rape survivors, in addition to the work that actually involves crisis work with survivors, and these people go out of their way to try and tell me it doesn’t exist and there’s no point.
I’d like to get something clear about rape culture. It’s not a feminist propaganda term, it’s a real culture that we all live in. Women’s/feminist movements may have coined the term, but that doesn’t mean it’s against men or made up in any way. A huge reason why rape happens is because of where our society stands in terms of gender roles. This isn’t to say that women don’t rape or that men aren’t survivors…they definitely are, but rape is a crime of power and control. And according to our traditional gender roles, men have more power and control than women. Since this doesn’t exclude sex, objectification of women and the fact that many men are encouraged to treat women this way in order to ‘make them a man’ play a large role in why rape is prevalent.
People are encouraged to treat others this way, this behavior is accepted, and most people stand by and let it happen. Hence the rape culture definition of encouraging, perpetuating, and tolerating sexual violence that’s at the top of this website.
So after being a little discouraged yesterday, I woke up today ready to fight. I WILL NOT stop educating, fighting and advocating against such a violent act that affects so many people’s lives, including mine.
As a survivor, I have experienced first hand victim blaming, denial, protection of the rapist, misunderstanding on why it took me “so long to get over it”, shunning from a community of people, and so much more.
This crime is real and still way too common. There has been so much work done by amazing men and women against sexual violence, but it still exists. And as long as rape exists, I will fight my ass off to try and eliminate it.
I read something amazing today that I’d like to share with you all. It’s from the training manual of ICASA (Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault):
“Because of our record of success, the anti-rape movement has also attracted more than its share of critics who view our rape prevalence numbers as inflated or hype, our services as already more extensive than the real magnitude of rape requires, and our agenda as driven by the objective to change the basic power relationship of men and women. Critics of our movement have no real constituency group. They write for their personal gain – to get on talk shows, to sell books, to have their fifteen seconds of infamy. They sense a controversy that they can foment, even if doing so requires distorting the facts. They know that controversy sells – especially if it is women fighting women! But ultimately they will move on to some other topic because they have no real commitment to the issue of rape and they have no group whose needs impel their efforts. The anti-rape movement derives its strength and persistence from the multitude of survivors, identified and hidden, who know the trauma of rape from their personal experiences and are willing to commit resources of time and money to sustain our efforts. Until rape is eradicated, our movement will continue.“
This says it all. I just happened to read this today and it’s exactly what I needed.