Monday, 23 July 2018

Nowhere is Safe

"Rape culture is a myth," some people cry out.  "It's a flawed notion, lacking in logic, that only teaches women how to be victims."

Wrong.  It might not be visible, but it's everywhere.  What makes it worse is that people (usually men) shrug it off and say things like "it's the way things are" as if to justify the behaviour.

I'm a survivor.  I had my skirts flipped up in school.  I've had my bottom pinched in bars.  I was once propositioned by a co-worker at an office party.  A person with whom I was in a relationship many years ago grabbed my bottom or breasts without consent, forced kisses upon me, and laughed at me when I called him out on it.  I've endured spousal sexual abuse and rape.

As a survivor it infuriates me to read about women who have attempted to bring their abusers to justice but get nowhere because they aren't believed or they're told that there isn't enough evidence to go to trial.  In my case I never reported because the incidents happened in private and I knew that it would be my word against his, meaning there was no chance of anything ever happening.

Women above the age ot 13 have a set of unspoken rules about going anywhere: Don't dress provocatively. Don't go out at night alone. Stay in well lit areas. Carry keys in one hand. Watch your drink. Know how to not provoke people.  Have an exit strategy.

Whereas men can walk down the street shirtless and nobody bats an eyelash.

Recently I heard through a friend that a five year old girl was harrassed at a summer camp.  A boy told the girl that he wanted her to "get naked" so he and his brothers could have sex with her.  This was followed up with a threat that they would kill her if she refused to go into the boys' room.


Events like this are beyond disturbing.  Young children are not sexual.  Such behaviour at that age means that it was learned from somewhere or someone.  The boy could've been exposed to adult media or observed it from the adults around him.  Either way, situations this must be dealt with quickly before more damage is done.

It's a sad state of affairs when even a kids' summer camp isn't safe.  To say nothing of the fact that many sexual predators receive sentences that are far too lenient - if they get to court at all.  The media is saturated with books, shows, and ads that glorify sex.

Where can we draw the line and say "This is not okay"?