Living In Rape Culture

To anyone who may be sensitive to anything dealing with sexual assault, you may not want to read this post due to triggers.

After the guilty verdict came down on the Steubenville rapists a lot has been said about the dangers of social media, ruining of lives, justice, girls partying and bad parenting.  But what good does this do any of us? This isn’t about the dangers of social media, if people didn’t intentionally hurt others there wouldn’t be a danger of social media conversation taking place.  Those rapists’ lives weren’t ruined because of a verdict, their lives hit a temporary roadblock because they made the choice to rape someone and traumatize her. Their actions were deliberate, they knew exactly what they were doing; athleticism doesn’t absolve them of that and the fact that anyone would sympathize with these young men sickens me.

Just because this rape happened at a party doesn’t change the fact that most rapes occur inside the victim’s home.  I don’t want to hear about why didn’t Jane Doe’s parents protect their daughter, I want to hear about the parents of the rapists and why didn’t they teach their sons that rape was wrong.

Saying that we want these young men to suffer and be raped in jail only contributes to rape culture, though I understand where that anger and sense of revenge comes from. However justice won’t be done until these young men are reformed and become symbols that can be used to combat rape culture.  Justice won’t be done until all survivors like Jane Doe have the full support of our society and don’t need to fear for their lives just because they get drunk; it won’t be done until she’s able to look at the world without seeing a threat around every corner.

So once you’re done reading I ask you for just a few things, reader:

1. Do not wish these young men any harm, hope for their reformation and work to promote a better tomorrow. Don’t teach the young women in your life to not be raped, teach the young men in your life to not rape.

2. Just because you don’t wish these young men any harm, do not sympathize with them. They only cried and begged for mercy after the verdict came down, that counts for nothing.  They knew what they were doing and continued with their actions, just because they’re good at sports doesn’t mean they didn’t commit a crime. Sign this petition and share it, show the world that there is no sympathy for rapists.

3. Work on redefining masculinity.  There is nothing wrong with it when it doesn’t hurt anyone but hegemonic masculinity hurts everyone.  It encourages violence and abusive control of women, it forces men to fit into a gender norm that molds young males into abusive, controlling, entitled, unfeeling predators. This calls for change.

Often we ask ourselves, when is enough going to be enough. We can’t ignore the answer that stares us in the face, enough is enough when we say it is.



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5 responses to “Living In Rape Culture

  1. I very much agree. Rape is glamorized in TV. The news media kept talking about these men future and promise. Fox News gave away the victims name.

    My son just turned 9. He is an affectionate kid. I am always telling him how we don’t touch people without permission. He will say “But I love my sister and I just want to kiss her.” I tell him that makes me happy but if she says not it means no. It is her body and her right. The conversations start there. It is my job to teach both my kids what is right and wrong.

  2. Avie

    Similarly, unanimously declaring the event to have “traumatised” the victim does nothing but make victims that’d otherwise be able to move past it, feel as though they’ve been truly defiled. Especially when they CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER the event that “shamed” them. How is that “justice”?

    Similarly, the teenagers that did it shouldn’t be put in jail. That sentence was nothing but symbolic — not only will their experience do nothing to sour the idea of the act for them, but their experience behind bars will likely make them respect life EVEN LESS and make them more likely to rape again. They should be kept in a psychiatric hospital, until they’re treated sufficiently that they no longer behave without self-control.

    • I’ve never heard of the concept of putting rapists into psychiatric care before; that’s an interesting concept that upon first thought makes me think that it’d be better for reforming people than prison.

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