Rape is not a difficult concept to comprehend. It’s when one person forces another person to have sex with them.
It’s non-consensual sexual activity.
It’s the sexual violation of a person’s most private and vulnerable parts.
It doesn’t matter what the relationship between the people involved have – Fathers sometimes rape daughters. Fathers sometimes rape sons. Mothers sometimes do too. Strangers rape strangers. Teachers rape students. Sometimes students rape teachers. Boyfriends sometimes rape girlfriends (or boyfriends). Husbands rape wives.
No matter who is doing the raping – it is always a heinous act of violation.
Some men want the good ol’ days when they were legally allowed to beat and rape their wives any time they wanted. When women were the property of men. When it was a joke if a woman made rape accusations against a man because no one would believe her and there weren’t DNA tests to help prove guilt. I know some men will always believe that on some level all women who are raped are “asking for it”.
What I can’t believe is that there are ANY women in this world who would support a man with such beliefs, with such asinine ignorance, with such disrespect for them. I can’t believe any women would marry such men or vote for them, or protect them.
The time for such men is over. Their 2,000+ years of abuse and disregard are done. There’s a new breed of man and he’s the future. The equal partner. The respectful friend. The supportive spouse. The truly equal opportunity and equal pay boss. The man who knows when a woman is rejecting him and backs off because that’s how decent human beings behave.
Women make up roughly half the world population. Men can only get away with legislating women’s health if we continue to let them. In the United States we don’t always get a vote in the issues most affecting us but we do get to vote for who is making those decisions. So use your votes to keep misogynists and rape supporters out of all public offices regardless of their political or spiritual affiliations. Vote for representatives who will stand up with us, for our needs, our equality, and our safety.
Because we really matter.
How women can fight ignorance and misogyny:
1. Never be silent about rape.
Report it. You can’t always catch the rapist and you can’t always convict but one thing we all have control over is our own voice. As frightening as it is to report such a thing – please do it for all of us. If I’m ever raped I promise you I will get a rape kit done and I will make a report (provided I’m not dead) because if nothing else I will not let a rapist steal my voice. So speak up – reach out to other women for support. I think you’ll find it.
2. Fight misogyny with your VOTES.
Vote against any legislature that diminishes women’s rights. Don’t vote for anyone (man or woman) who is trying to marginalize issues like equal pay for women, women’s reproductive rights, or for anyone who has been known to say disrespectful things about women or who has a reputation for misogyny. Sign petitions and call your senators and governors demanding that they listen to what’s important to you and call them out when they are doing anything that restricts your civil and reproductive rights.
3. Be supportive of other women.
We come from all walks of life, all kinds of ethnicities, every kind of political party, and every kind of spiritual belief including atheism. We’re EVERYWHERE. There is so much power among women – but it’s diminished by fighting each other over the proper way to pray or raise kids or over the choice to not have kids or not have religion or to stay at home or to work or to wear short skirts or to wear pants. So let’s work on that – bridging our differences to celebrate our strengths.
4. Don’t tolerate misogyny in any man, young or old.
Don’t tolerate being marginalized in any way – especially in any way relating to your gender. Got yourself a chauvinist boyfriend? Kick him to the curb if he won’t give you the respect you deserve. Teach your sons to see women and men as equals in value while appreciating their differences where they are different. Speak out when anyone (especially men) make offensive comments about women. You can do this while still maintaining a sense of humor and an ability to laugh at yourself.
5. Don’t marginalize yourself.
Low self esteem is a powerful tool for abusers and would-be abusers.* So work on loving and valuing yourself every day. It’s not about being vain or narcissistic – it’s about valuing yourself as equal to others. You’ve got to work on believing that you don’t deserve to be mistreated or dismissed because if you don’t believe you deserve it you will be more likely to fight against it when it happens and to seek help from others when you need it. BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
Another gem from the Onion – what Todd Akin really meant to say.
*Having low self esteem does NOT mean you invite violence – but it can make you a more vulnerable target of it. It doesn’t matter how low your self esteem is: you do NOT deserve nor ask to be violated. But the more you work on this the more empowered you will become.