The Word Rape

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The word rape is hard to say. It feels harsh and stings when it comes out. But that does not mean it should not be talked about.

 

In the United States, every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted.

 

Someone was just sexually assaulted.

 

It’s a problem that needs to be addressed, but where does this problem start?

 

It’s starts innocently in our schools.

 

When I was in sixth grade we were told this:

 

“Now girls, here at this school we have some rules:

-No shorts shorter than the bottom of your fingertips while your hands are at your side.

-Straps of shirts must be thicker than the width of your index finger.

-Bra straps are not allowed to be showing in any circumstance.

Now boys, here at this school we have some rules:

-No profanity on clothing, please.

Anyone disobeying these rules will be sent to the office to change”

 

First we have to ask: Why do we have these rules?

 

If you ask any principal or teacher they will say the same thing: “It’s inappropriate for girls to be dressing that way so young.”

 

Yes, of course it is! However it is also unfair that the only rule boys must follow has nothing to do with how much skin is showing. We force our girls to cover up and be uncomfortable with their own bodies when they are breaking the rules, but why? Are we afraid that middle school boys will have sexual thoughts because a girls shorts were “shorter than her fingertips while her hands were at her side”? These rules make boys think that when a girl is breaking them, she wants their attention.

 

It starts with this. Then as the boys grow up, they learn to think that the clothing a girl is wearing means she is “asking for it”. As they start drinking, if a girl is drunk, her lack of sobriety is taken advantage of. From here they start changing the way they perceive the word no. Consent mean anything in the range of no to yes. Then as they start dating they think they don’t have to ask, because the answer will always be yes. This continues on through marriage until they have kids and they teach their daughter to carry pepper spray and cover up when she is walking home at night and teach their sons that “boys will be boys” and the cycle continues and society forgets.

 

Let’s look at what our victim is wearing.

 

If she is dressed modestly, the rapist is guilty. If she is dressed more provocatively, we ask what she said to his request? Yes? No? Maybe? But she was tempting him!

 

The clothes a woman is wearing when she was raped is controversial. Does the fact that she is dressed indecently mean that when she tells him no it means yes?

 

Absolutely not. But when I walk through the hallways at school I hear boys jokingly pointing out a girls clothes, saying she is “a slut” and “asking for it”. Why does what clothing she chooses to wear or not wear define her sexuality?

 

Someone was just sexually assaulted.

 

Let’s look at the sobriety of our victim:

 

When did drug or alcohol use change the meaning of no? If she is under the influence of anything, her lack of teetotalism should not be taken advantage of.

 

Now let’s take a look at consent and what it means.

The denotation of the word is to permit, approve, or agree.

What this means in context is asking for permission before engaging in romantic or sexual acts.

In order for consent to be given, a question must be asked and the answer must be yes.

If she says no, it does not mean yes.

If she says maybe, it does not mean yes.

If she says yes, then changes her answer to no before the act, it does not mean yes.

 

Now, at this point you might be wondering, why is male to female rape the only kind she is talking about, women can rape men, women can rape women and men can rape men too.

 

Yes, I am aware that those types of rape do occur and they are a huge issue in our society. However this isn’t just about rape, it’s about rape culture, sexism and the statistics behind it.

 

9 out of 10 rape victims are women. And even more alarmingly, 1 in 6 women have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.

 

I’ll give you a few seconds to think about that. How many women in your life are important to you? Can you count 6? What about 12? These are not just the large, media covered stories that I’m talking about. These are the rapes that occur right here in our own home town. These are the people that we care about. They are our moms and daughters, they are our sisters, girlfriends, wives and friends.

 

Someone was just sexually assaulted.

 

Rape is not just in college when the drunk girl at the party unknowingly consents, it’s not just date rape, it is happening to young girls around the world by family and friends. Yet, nobody seems to ask what the young girl was wearing or if she was drinking, because it is horrifying to us and it is rape. When a woman accuses someone with previous criminal charges, nobody asks what she was wearing or if she was drinking because it is horrifying to us and it is rape. And the culture behind this all is not even just about rape.

 

It’s the concept of denial. On May 23 of this year, Elliot Rodgers killed 6 people in California, 3 of whom were women, may they rest in peace. In his last manifesto, Elliot Rodgers says that all of his “suffering on this world has been at the hands of humanity, particularly women.” because they “were incapable of seeing the value” in him. He shot and killed 6 innocent people because he had a hatred for women because they would not date him. It’s the idea of “friend-zoning” and “nice guys always finish last” that causes this mindset.

 

If she says no, she’s arrogant, conceited and egotistic.

If she says yes, she’s a slut, a whore and easy.

 

So women can’t say no without being criticized and even killed. As Elliot Rodgers said “It was women’s fault for refusing to have sex.”

 

There are so many problems with rape culture and so little solutions. Changing the court system, is not enough to stop it. Making laws is too simple a solution, considering most male political figures hesitate to say the word ‘vagina’ when talking about women’s reproductive rights. It is the sentiment that is taught and learned sublimely. We need to teach our boys the meaning of consent and the insignificance of what she was wearing, if she was drinking or if shes in a relationship with him. We need to take away the value of the excuse “boys will be boys”. And encourage our girls to feel comfortable saying no and meaning it.

 

I have a dream that one day, women will be able to walk down the street, wearing what they choose, without a weapon and without fear.

 

I have a dream that one day women will feel comfortable speaking out when they are raped.


I have a dream that one day every two minutes, everyone will be safe, because someone was just sexually assaulted.

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