The Reality of Rape

This is literally the least romantic, least Valentine-y post ever; but I am so upset I literally just cannot hold this off until Sunday this must be said now. So, enjoy your romance but please remember to be safe with the decisions that you make… and please, lend your voice to stamping out the victim-blaming within our culture.

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316611_silberne-stock_1Just when I think maybe things are getting a little better, something like this comes to my attention. Via feministing I discovered the absolutely abominable Ohio-based program, Abstinence ‘Til Marriage. Now, aside from the fact that abstinence only education has been proven not to work, this program seems to be trying super-extra-hard to be more than useless; to actually do harm.

Rape culture. A culture in where victim blaming and rationalizations exist to convince many women and men that even if they think they were raped, even if they’re sure they were raped they probably were not, or at the very least they did something to deserve it. For instance, if the man had a drink, the girl was wearing a short skirt, or had a bad reputation… suddenly what we thought was rape is actually just a ‘mistake’.

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rape1

Anyone can click the image above and enter Abstinence ‘Til Marriage’s “Party Room” where you get to meet four teenagers. There’s Rochelle, who was raped; Jason, her drunken rapist; Monica, his disgruntled ex-girlfriend; and Tanner, the unsuspecting (kinda catty) friend. The point of the activity is to click through and read through each teenager’s account of the night that Rochelle was raped while driving drunken Jason home. Rochelle tells one story, and the others all tell slightly different stories… stories that attempt to point the blame towards Rochelle by doing things like saying that, “Rochelle was considered a slut.”

In the end it asks Who’s story sounds the least credible? Do you think it’s the drunken Jason? Jealous Monica trying to rationalize the behavior of the boy she took back? Tanner, who just wants the police to leave him alone? NO, Its Rochelle. Why? Because of her reputation and her “motive to lie” (that motive being what… to protect her already bad reputation?)**

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stop-sign1This has to stop. It just has to stop right now. Rape is a serious offense, and let me be clear in case someone out there doesn’t yet know… any sex that is not preceded by an un-pressured and affirmative YES is rape, pure and simple. It may seem overkill but if you look at rape through that lens then you’re never in any danger of committing rape as you will always be sure to ask your partner if they want to engage in sex before you begin… everyone wins!

In addition, regardless of how much sex and how many sexual partners one has had; unwanted sex is still rape. Not being a virgin does not make someone any less in control of their bodies, it does not take away their right to be respected and it does not make rape, if it happens to them, any less traumatizing or terrible.

Also, men can be raped too. It should go without saying, really, but men can be raped too and they deserve the same sympathy and help as women in their situation do. They do not deserve to be made fun of or not believed since, as the man, they “should have been in control of the situation.”

No matter what a woman is wearing, no matter what you have heard about her… unless she agrees to sex, it is rape.

Finally, alcohol. Unless you’re in a committed relationship, or you know your partner well enough to know they would be just as enthusiastic about sex sober… don’t have sex with someone who is drunk. Alcohol impedes someone’s ability to legally consent which means sex with someone who is drunk, even if they do not resist, could still be considered rape as their partner has taken advantage of their altered mental state.

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The issue of acquaintance rape is one that is not taken seriously enough by society; too often these precarious situations are rationalized away, and blamed on the victim, the person who needs protection and  understanding not judgment! Please, help me and the other socially-concious bloggers out there call out this organization on their participation in the rape culture… call out any instance of victim blaming and rationalization that you see. (I sent them a message earlier and will include their reply, if they send one, here once I receive it.)

Just like the rapists themselves, those who perpetuate this culture of victim-blamining need to be held accountable for what they have done.

 

** They have since changed the website and now no longer post the “answers” to questions like who’s story is least credible? Which is comofrting, on one hand, because they do not outwardly blame the character Rochelle; but at the same time it is concerning because they have not made a move to correct victim blaming, the educator or student can still watch this clip and blame Rochelle’s character all they want and the story is still written in a way that undermines Rochelle’s credibility. I am relieved that they made a change at all… but not pleased by the message that remains still after that change.

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