First off, sorry for being absent the last few days. I went to Georgia for an early Thanksgiving with family, and should have known that visiting family also brings an unproductive schedule. It was a great visit though, with amazing food!
I came across an article last week about a survivor who tells her story in detail, and walks the reader through almost every stage of the assault. It is a very long article, but had some really amazing points of the victim blaming she received, and also how much rape culture permeated herself, the rapist and the event: before, during and after.
“Women’s boundaries are constantly being broken by men and we are told all the time, that if we make a fuss about it, we are unreasonable, unfriendly, rude, hysterical, difficult, confrontational – all negatives, all things we should strive not to be.”
She was at a college party when a peer came up and aggressively kissed her and walked away.
“So when a man did that to me at a party, I didn’t think it was a sexual assault, I just thought it was some unattractive chancer who was behaving normally. The whole of my culture and upbringing, told me that.”
When he noticed her leaving with friends, he managed to get her alone from the rest of her group to talk to her, even though she was, in no way interested.
“Women are socialised to be polite, to respond to men’s conversational overtures, even where earlier on they may have over-stepped a mark, we’re supposed to put it behind us and move on and not think anything of it. So that’s what I did. I conformed to normal behaviour and talked normally to him.”
But he raped her anyway…she was uncertain she was raped, but very certain that no one would ever believe her.
“Rapists have managed to get society to believe, that what I did, was consent. Because I didn’t resist in the way rapists – and society – say that women should resist, they define our non-participation as consent.”
There are lots of really powerful details I’m leaving out (so I highly encourage you to take the time to read it), but this woman tells a story where she and the rapist react in a way that society would consider to be total opposite reactions from the expected.
“And the fact that neither of us behaved the way society says rapists and rape victims behave, doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape.
It just means that society has got to stop misinforming the public, about what rape is. Society keeps selling us the version of rape that rapists have invented: the one which enables them to carry on raping women and know that they will get away with it.
We keep on making excuses for rapists, convincing their victims that they have no right to call it what it is.”
Rape Culture is prevalent and no one can convince me otherwise. This woman’s story proves that as a society, we are programmed to believe that victims must have asked for it in some way, to believe we owe sex to another, and that unless we fight and yell ‘no’ it’s not rape.
Rape Culture is more than encouraging sexuality, then blaming a victim of ‘being slutty so they had it coming’. It’s also the subtle messages we’re given as men AND women on how to interact with the opposite sex, and how to react as a survivor.