Day 238: Changing How We Talk About Rape: Why It shouldn’t just be a “Woman’s Issue”

Thetis raped by Peleus. Tondo of an Attic red-...
Thetis raped by Peleus. Tondo of an Attic red-figured kylix, ca. 490 BC. From Vulci, Etruria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*WARNING* The following post may contain opinions which differ from your own on the subject of rape. Viewer discretion is advised.

I learned in sociology class that people are largely defined by the rules they fill within their community. For instance a person can be thought of as a neighbor, a student, someone’s boy or girlfriend. Not everyone in the community is familiar with all the roles this person may play but they all simultaneously exist. Many of these roles a person takes on by choice, they choose whether or not to work a particular job, they can choose whether or not to go to college, people choose which neighborhood to live etc. A role can however be forced upon someone. If a role defines how a community perceives and interacts with one of its members then rape victim is also able a role. Sadly enough it is an equal opportunity role with little regard for age, race, economic class, religion, gender or anything else. Guys can be raped to and not solely by other men. Rape is not just a woman’s issue. It should be considered a human issue. Nobody deserves to be put into that role. Nobody. Many times people say “what if it’s your wife, mother, sister?” Some version of this statement is usually directed at men who are saying some version of “it’s no wonder this happened with the way she dresses,” or some other ridiculous statement excusing the person committing the rape. (To be completely fair I have heard similar statements from women as well.) My question to anybody who spouts such ignorance and harmful opinions is, “if it happens to you would you still feel the same way, would you be able to smile and interact with a neighbor who made a comment like that if you were the one whose personal identity had just been put through a meat grinder?” Of course not. Rate is wrong. End of story. Victim shaming only perpetuates the issue. The only chance we have changing any is taking responsibility for our own words. If you don’t deserve to be raped neither does anyone else. Period.

*Disclaimer* I haven’t ever experienced rape first hand and I pray that remains true for my entire life. I do several people who have. I speak up for those who feel they can’t. If you have been, think you have been raped or are being raped, tell someone. Silence only gives abusers power.

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