An Open Letter to Rape Culture…

Dear Rape Culture,

I never imagined I would be writing a letter to an ideology. In the past several years since I have been introduced to you, and I noticed you have grown into something more. You have become a tangible life-form that is both scary and harmful to all humankind. You have weaseled your way into our lives and planted seeds of disrespect and fear. The scariest part is, many people have accepted you and invited you into their lives.

You are on Facebook and Instagram pages. You are at family dinners. You are in churches. You are in marriages. You are on television shows. You are in movies. You are on the radio. You are in schools.  You are in magazines. You are on our streets, in our stores, and in our court rooms. You are so integrated into daily life, people don’t even notice you anymore.I do and quite frankly, I’m tired of your mess. I’m tired of hearing stories about young girls being raped and then harassed. I’m tired of hearing that if someone is “too drunk”, it’s okay to rape them. I’m tired of young woman feeling the need to lie about having a boyfriend as a way to reject someone. I’m tired of people using rape as a punchline. I’m tired of young girls being judged solely by their clothes with no regard to anything else. I’m tired of constant street harassment simply because I had the audacity to be a woman. I’m tired of apathetic law enforcement. I’m tired of hyper-masculinity being seen as normal. I’m tired of people believing that someone would actually want to be raped. 

Rape culture, you have been so heavily integrated into our society it seems normal. There is nothing normal about sexual violence, therefore there is nothing normal about you. This is not a rant to complain about you. This is an outcry for you to rethink your ways. Here are some suggestions:

1. Stop victim blaming. Rape is the fault of the rapist. It’s the fault of the person that made the CHOICE to disrespect someone else’s body. That’s it.

2. Consent means YES. That’s it.

3. Make it more comfortable for victims to report by creating a culture where rape victims are believed.

4. Acknowledge that men get raped too. It doesn’t make them weak, gay, less than a man, or anything else. It means that something terrible happened to them. That’s it.

5. Stop making rape a punchline, it’s not funny.

6. Understand that this is something that can happen to anyone, and being raped does not make a person less valuable.

7. Street harassment has never been okay. Think about if what you are saying makes a person feel uncomfortable and if it is drawing unwanted attention to their body.

8. When a person says “no”, “I’m not sure”, “Not tonight”, “I’m on my period”, and any other thing that doesn’t mean yes, that is not the go ahead to say “but come on”, “you are playing games”, “let’s just do it anyway”. That’s coercion, and coercion is never okay.

9. Avoidance is not prevention.

10. We all deserve the right to be heard and respected.

We deserve more. Jada deserves more.

With hopes you will get your ish together,

Tonjie

 

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