Rape “Culture” or Rape “Ignorance”?

The phrase is beng used everywhere of late, and it is maddening. “Rape Culture” is a phrase that was coined by feminists in the 1970’s, used as an all-encompassing definition of the way society tends to blame the victims of everything from sexual harassment to violent rape. I can’t get away from that phrase these days. I don’t find it “cultured” when you cannot turn on a news program without hearing stories of victims coming out of the woodwork accusing everyone from teenage college students to “untouchable”, respected public figures. I find it “uncultured” when the vast majority of victims refuse to speak of their experiences, let alone come forward, and hold their accused perpetrators accountable, not because I find them cowardly (I am one of those “in the closet” victims), but because of the almost certain negative ramifications they will face once they do come forward.

Let’s call it what it is…it’s “rape ignorance”. When victims are perceived as the criminals, it’s time for society to give it’s head a shake and smarten up. One sickening example of the pervasive ignorance that is infiltrating this mindset is the interview the author of “Marry Smart”, Susan Patton (also known as “Princeton Mom”) had with CNN’s Carol Costello. Patton was asked to give her opinion of “rape culture”, specifically as it relates to college campuses. The results were an absolute train wreck, however I did smile smuggly as I watched this so-called authority (whoever thought of booking this farce of an author needs to be severely reprimanded) go down in flames.

Almost right of the bat, Patton compared rape to sex when she said “the conversation about sex is a bit difficult”! What? Rape and sex are NOT synonymous, Susan Patton. The conversation was about RAPE.

She asked Carol why these women just don’t “get up and leave”. Again, WHAT? Patton was referring to women who were in situations with people they know, but, as Carol reminded her, MOST rapes happen between people who are familiar with each other. On the same note, Patton suggested that it’s up to the victims to be responsible for their own safety in this way…”I’m suggesting that women be smart for themselves, remain sober enough to extricate themselves from a situation that’s headed in a direction they’re not comfortable with,” she said. Finishing with the qualifier,  but “I’m not blaming victims”, however. Really? Aren’t you?

If you want to be entertained and maddened at the same time, go ahead, watch the interview here.

Regarding Mr. Bill Cosby, I understand that one is to be considered innocent until proven guilty, but in this case, the law will not allow the opportunity for him to be proven anything, due to the US’s Statute of Limitations for rape. All these women can do is summon the courage to come forward in the face of intense scrutiny from the court of public opinion (the number is in the double-digits and climbing), have their lives and credibility examined under a microscope, and hope to make some kind of positive impact on the obvious “rape ignorance” that is surrounding them.

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#BeenRapedNeverReported

There is a lot of buzz right now about popular canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi being fired from CBC because “the risk of the perception that may come from a story that could come out.” They’re his words.

The black and white of it is simple…he is accused by multiple women of crossing the line to criminal sexual behaviour.

You can read his open letter here, but I’m not going to spend any time here talking about his explanation of the details of his dismissal.

I will say, however, that I have read all of the comments to the above mentioned letter, and a conservative guess is that 80% of the comments are in support of Jian, demanding that CBC give him his job back. I also commented; my feelings seemingly in the minority.

From all of this and the other buzz about “rape culture”, a twitter trend has quickly developed…#BeenRapedNeverReported.

Women are coming out from every nook and cranny revealing how they have been raped/sexually assaulted and never reported it for some reason or another…and their reasons are heartbreaking. Read here about this.

It’s time to break the silence and shine a bright spotlight on the damage this is doing to women around the world. These women are your mothers, daughters, granddaughters, and best friends. They are people like me.

I was never raped, according to the general consensus of what the word rape means. I was sexually violated/assaulted three times, however, and never reported it.

The first time, I was 17 and sought safety and refuge at my uncle’s place from issues at home. I was sexually assaulted by him and his wife while I slept. I moved out immediately and never spoke of it much. I told my mother years later. She had a difficult time believing they were capable.

The second time, I used my head to avoid things from getting any worse by tricking the man who had me pinned against his wall in his apartment. I tricked him by playing a willing participant, saying I needed a few moments to get ready for him, giving me time get the hell out of there. I was 19. “no harm done” I thought.

Third time was in 2000 by a neurologist in Lethbridge, Alberta while my (then) husband waited in the waiting room. I can’t really explain why I didn’t tell anyone about it. I was considered someone who was mentally strong and always stood up for myself, but the thought of going up against someone like that scared the hell out of me.

I still regret not reporting these incidents to someone to hold these people accountable. Like I said, I didn’t consider what happened to be rape, but they were most definitely sexual violations and assault. Maybe speaking of it now, along with the hundreds of other brave women, will help encourage other survivors (I hate the word ‘victims’) to take it a step further and report the crimes.

We all need to quit taking these all-too-common incidents so lightly. Too many men have a sense of entitlement when it comes to sex (and yes, women are capable of such things as well). Women need to discuss their boundaries, and if these boundaries are crossed, we need to stand up, be brave, and hold people accountable. It’s not okay to be violated.

Here’s to the #BeenRapedNeverReported tweeters.