Rape Culture & Violence against women

Love comes naturally. Hatred is learned.

Sexual harassment has been experienced by a majority of women and it’s unacceptable.  It’s time for that to end! Let’s teach girls that they are not weak and boys that rape is not an option.

Let’s keep having these conversations so people start paying attention!!!

fear-1131143_1280Every day the news is filled with stories of rape, violence and murder of women. Sexual abuse is never okay.

In 2016 we finally saw talk about investigating the missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. Still, too many people don’t seem to really care or believe.

Rape culture describes a normalisation of rape and sexual assault so great that too often victims are blamed, either implicitly or explicitly, when these crimes are committed against them.

Anytime someone first gut reaction is to question what a victim could have done differently to prevent a crime, he or she is participating in the culture of victim-blaming. Hindsight is always 20/20. It’s easy to fall back on what ifs, but they don’t change the fact that a crime was committed and should be punished.

Sexual assault is a violent act that cuts people to the core. Rape isn’t about sex, it’s about power. It strips away a person’s sense of dignity, autonomy, and control. It is violence against a person’s most inner and personal self. It is devastating, in every possible way. It happens to men too, proving the fact that rape is about power and it’s never what you’re wearing.

“I think the most important thing to understand is what it’s not. It’s not sexual, it is a violent, brutal terrorising weapon.” – Angelina Joli Pitt

Too many still blame the victim instead of the rapist. “She should not have been by herself drunk like that. Too easy to be subdued.” “She made bad choices that resulted in her death. Nothing screams out an easy target like a woman stumbling drunk alone at night.” “It’s her own fault. A weak fragile woman is always in danger when they’re on their own.”

It literally shocks me that there are so many ignorant people out there. Do they actually believe the crap they say?

Everyone knows a woman who’s faced harassment, rape or violence for no other reason that they were born female. If you do not, do me a favour and asked the women in your life. You may just not be aware.

Faced this epidemic, I just want to hang my head from sorrow for the state of humanity. Sometimes the challenges ahead of us seem too numerous and too great.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is my story.

lockers-94959_1920In high school was attacked on the school bus by a group of boys intent on rape. I was largely outnumbered. The bus driver didn’t even stop the bus so I could get out. He didn’t say anything, just kept driving. Most parents believe their children are safe on school buses, but there is absolutely no one responsible for safety aboard them.

Knowing there was no hope of getting out in one piece and that my life was pretty much finished, I picked out the group leader and went on the offensive. I caught them by surprise when blood splattered from a broken nose (not mine) and they backed away for an instant.They weren’t expecting me to fight back or not expecting that I could hurt them. The bus had just stopped at a regular bus stop and I ran out. I made it out in one piece, but it wasn’t the end of the story.

Threats began promises of rape, violence, reprisal. They promised that there would be the next time and it would be so much worst for me.

I didn’t take the bus again, even if the school was in another city. I walked, careful to take a new path every time so that they couldn’t plan an ambush, and I skipped school a lot because it was safer to hide. I started wearing oversized clothing to hide my body and gaining weight to become less attractive. It is extremely easy to become a shell of yourself under those circumstances.

window-1768850_1920After a while, when it was clear that they wouldn’t let me alone, I asked for help. I went to an adult, a teacher and told him everything. I was at the end of my rope. I didn’t see any way out. I needed help. I couldn’t go on like this. He told me: “If you don’t learn to deal with your problems yourself, you never will.”

I felt hopeless and angry and just so fucking full of rage. Nothing will protect us except for ourselves. I was in shop class at the time and two of the attackers was in the same class. I picked up a hammer and threw it near the leader’s head missing on purpose, I was just sending a message to back off. The teacher jumped and told the boys that he was sure they were just kidding around like boys do, but I was clearly not one of those girls to tease around with.

Attempted rape isn’t “boys will be boys” and me defending myself isn’t “another girl with no sense of humour.”

I never reported the incident or the abuse that followed. It took everything I had to seek help with an adult and I was turned down. What’s the point of coming forward? It’s my name that would have been dragged into the mud.

lonely-1466900_1920Women don’t report rape for many reasons. Every time we see a news report of a woman who spoke up, we hear the same response every time.

“What was she doing walking alone at night in that part of town, for heaven’s sake?” people wonder. She is told she should have been more careful. In other words, it was her fault, not the attacker(s).

“She’s just looking for attention.”

“Why are you doing this, he’s got him all life in front of him?”

“You were drinking, what did you expect?”

It’s sad that we live in a world where women always seemed to get blamed for whatever form of abuse men seem to inflict upon them. This needs to change.

The rapist is innocent until proven guilty as the law as designed it to be, but the rape victim, on the other hand, is considered by social norms as guilty until proven innocent. This doesn’t bode well for true justice to occur.

“It doesn’t matter if the victim was drinking, out at night alone, sexually exploited, on a date with the perpetrator, or how the victim was dressed. No one asks to be raped.” – Ontario Court Justice Marvin Zuker

courtroom-898931_1280Whether someone decided to report their rape/assault, and whether or not any of us did or would do the same thing cannot ever be grounds for judging someone else and their experiences.

My biggest wish that the justice system actually gives out punishments that fit the crimes instead of slaps on the wrist.

For example, a Halifax cab driver was found not guilty of raping a drunk unconscious woman, because the Judge Gregory Lenehan ruled that there was reasonable doubt that the women did not consent to sexual activity. I hear this and I think, here’s another judge who doesn’t value women’s lives and doesn’t care that incapacitated means “incapable of making an informed decision”.

Many men I have spoken too can’t imagine life without (male) privilege because they’ve never been without (Male) privilege. That’s why a lot of them find it extremely difficult to see anything like this through our eyes.

That being said, it’s not their lack of immediate understanding that bugs me, but the refusal to listen and learn about it that I have faced from men who say they care about me.

Your complacency becomes tacit support.

The truth is ugly.

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” – Gloria Steinem

Before anyone starts with it’s not all men defence… No, it’s still about all men. It’s about taking responsibility and helping. Everyone that ignores the problem because they don’t think it is relevant to them does nothing but contribute to the problem through silence and ignorance.

We have to fight back in large numbers together men and women of all cultural background so that together we can make a safe home for everyone. Women just want to live on their own term and without violence. If you see something that doesn’t sit well with you, please step in, say something. Solidarity is not the same as privileged. The whole point is that we can make this world better for everyone if we all stand together. We are stronger together.

These are songs that touched me about rape and violence that women face:

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