Rediscovering Our Current Culture
SO I know that you have all been sitting staring at your computers wondering why the SHARPP blogger has been on hiatus. Eating tons of ben and jerry’s ice cream sobbing into every spoonful because I left you alone for so long. Well…maybe not that extreme but I do understand that the hole in your heart had to be filled so here I am! People are not kidding about senior year being a mix of elation and severe businesses.
I figured since it’s a new semester I’d do a blog post on some information that I covered way back in the start of this blog concerning rape culture. The other day I found an amazing article that covers a pretty in-depth intro into the work of rape culture on my favorite online media outlet Buzzfeed. This post does a good job of including more current examples of rape culture in the media and news through comic strips, mini articles, music videos and more. Oh how I love Buzzfeed writers.
Essentially what i want all of you to gain form this article are the main components of Rape culture. I will talk about some here but honestly there are so many I don’t think you’ll be much intrigued if I explain them all on here. So when you’re done reading what I have to say check out the link here for more information!
So now for some main topics of Rape Culture
Anyone can be a rapist.
One thing I would also like to add to this sentiment is that while anyone can be a rapist it is statistically proven many times over that only a small percentage of men actually commit acts of sexual assault and rape. If you are interested in learning more about this you can look up the video The Undetected Rapist by David Lisak, Ph.D. University of Massachusetts Boston. In this film Lisak interviews a number of men about their sexual encounters. These men are given anonymity which is why the stories they tell were given in detail. By the end of the film you will be shocked by the small amount of rapists but even more shocked by the large amount of rapes and sexual assaults so few can commit.
^– For those of you interested this is a video link to one of Lisak’s lectures where he discusses sexual assault.
The percentage chart is at 11:38 if you want to look at the numbers from his studies.
They existence of “gray rape”
We as a society have become so enamored with the idea of hookup culture but forget to look at how prudish this culture truly is. Technology has blocked our ability for face to face communication. People would rather go out, drink, and use assumptions to guide ourselves through our nights. Well I don’t know about you, I’m not feeling twenty two, but I am feeling like an ass…uming idiot. When did it become so passé to ask for what you want, to communicate with another person in bed and before hand. In our drive for larger connections to the world around us, individuals have lost the ability to simply speak to each other. The consequences of this era is the existence of the gray area rape where people are unsure what consent means or truly is before they engage in sexual encounters. In 2014 I don’t believe we should be living in the gray ages. I mean lets think about this. People have currently been obsessed with sitting on their iPhones for hours trying to get a bird to fly through a pipe willingly over and over and over again. I don’t think asking if you can put your [insert dirty mad lib word] into/onto/around someone else’s [yet another dirty mad lib word] or if you can [lick/suck/jump on it/canoodle etc] someones XYZ would take even half as much time. Plus, I mean you’d hopefully get more than a few seconds of making it through the holes before you were met with immense dissatisfaction. Also I think consensual sex, and sexual acts is a better goal than a medal every ten pipes for flappy bird…
ANYWAYS moving on
The Idea that No means Yes
I know there is a huge controversy over the Robin Thicke song that is featured on this link so I’m not asking you to hit play. However, I want you to think about how engrained into our culture the idea of no meaning yes is. In having good manners we’re taught to deny a certain number of times before you accept an offer. Most people see this as normal practice. What I see is the constant inconsistency of this idea. How many times is being polite, persistent or nagging. Why would we as a culture choose to believe in something that lands people in awkward situations or in some cases in the hospital or jail. While I feel there are many words that our society needs to take back, I feel a big one should be the word NO meaning NO. How simple and clear our lives would be.
This is the most frequent tie to rape culture that is constantly seen in the media and spoken by most individuals regularly. When we give someone a trial they are innocent until proven guilty, that most people side with. However, what about sexual assault makes it so we have to assume a survivor is guilty and at fault. I’m going to give you a scenario. A child was assaulted by a family acquaintance who was much liked by both their family and friends in the community. This child is nervous and scared, but they tell the story of what happened because they know it was wrong and that they were hurt. Who do you sympathize with? The child. Why? It is because they were defenseless and couldn’t stop what was happening to them as it was not in their control…Now think about this child as a teen, an adult. What changes in that time that makes our society switch blame even though both are survivors of traumatic experiences who struggle to share their story and come forward, neither had control of what happened to them.
When a child is abused it is never the child’s fault as the abuser is the one who committed the crime. We easily can accept this idea with children, but when it comes to survivors of sexual assault, relationship abuse and rape, general consensus jumps to the defense of the perpetrator. All of the sudden we analyze what a survivor was wearing, what they look like, the list goes on and on. Next time you hear about someone blaming a victim think of the fact that they are someone’s child and they have been hurt. We don’t yell at the child for being beaten, so why do we harass the survivor who’s body, mind, and sense of safety was violated.
This topic follows closely with victim blaming. The article shows some internet pictures that have gone viral where people become judges of women. In the first photo we see and girl who is being taken advantage of in her drunken state. In the next we are introduced to the Slane girl who is now infamous for a public sex act committed at a concert. Everyone can have their opinions. I do not want you to think I’m telling you how to feel. However, there is a difference between thinking something and publicly shaming individuals who you do not know. Why as a culture do we thrive on the negative perception of women. That’s just a little food for thought.
Now this is something most people have come into contact with. While some take it as a compliment with a little whistle or catcall this is not always the case. Realize that every time someone is calling out to an individual it is not harmless. The article provides a great comic to depict street harassment and how it can occur versus what some people say about it. Right now I want you to imagine you’re walking down the street and you have individuals screaming vulgar statements about you and your body. When you don’t respond these comments turn to insults directed at you for not engaging. Do you feel like a person or an item. While appreciating beauty is a good thing, we as a culture need to find a better way of communicating that to someone than just screaming out and whistling at them like they are a dog. We are all human beings and should be treated as such, rather than being seen as a walking invitation, just because you wanted to look nice one day.
The Prevention of Rape Through Survivors Rather Than Rapists
My interpretation of this resonates strongly with the graphic which is becoming viral which is shown on Buzzfeed. Preventing rape has to be more than an individual just being aware of what they are wearing and where they are going. Rape culture is the idea that if you wear this outfit that you’re advertising yourself and that’s why you were raped. Along with if you went to this club, hung around this crowd or drank this much. As a culture we have to put responsibility on rapists, who are both men and women. We have to be a group of individuals who stand up for injustices and change our perception of rape. The article speaks heavily about women but I want to even move beyond that because we all know men and LGBTQ+ experience rape. There has to be a shift in our culture where we stop saying that it is a survivors responsibility to not get raped, and in rape culture specifically it is not a woman’s responsibility. It is our population that has to change so that when we see instances where individuals could be in danger we are proactive and stop the perpetrator. That person who’s so drunk that they are being held up by an individual who continues to feed them drink. We should no longer be bystanders. We should Stand Up.
Anti Rape Wear
I did another post which spoke to this concept in rape culture. While I feel individuals can choose whatever type of protection they want to safe guard I also feel that by promoting anti rape wear we are not solving the root of the issue. The fact is that we live in a culture where rape is so prevalent that we need to create these devices. I commend the creators because I do believe these efforts help prevented isolated incidences of rape which is an amazing accomplishment. However, it does speak to our culture that women in this case, as they haven’t created mainstream anti-rape wear for men, are so fearful of rape that we have to make ourselves less attractive or resort to internal or external weapons for protection. This is the sad state of affairs our culture is in.
False Rape Accusations
This is going to be my last topic of today since your mind is probably exploding with all the knowledge. This topic is one that I feel is most important as I am frequently asked about it when I discuss my work here at SHARPP. There is this lingering myth that most people carry regarding individuals who report sexual assault, that is the act of false reporting. While I will not deny that false accusations do occur across the country the number is remarkably low. When people ask me if I’ve encountered individuals here who have filed false accusations I have to say no. Personally I have not. Most people enter our office to learn how to cope with an assault if anything. But the reason why I can say that false reporting is so rare is because filing a report is a lot harder than most people think.
1. The first step is telling someone what happened to you. Which can be a friend, in most cases.
2. Then after divulging that personal information you can call an crisis center, the police, or go to the hospital.
3. The police and hospital then page an advocate form a call center if one has not already been called.
4. Then you undergo a rape kit which is one of the most invasive procedures created. You are swabbed and ask questions about the event for evidence collection. You have to give up your clothes, undergarments, bed sheets, and are asked preferably to not even shower.
5. Then you proceed to take pills and shots to prevent you from pregnancy (for women), HIV/AIDS and other STIs. That is no walk in the park and it’s not even the end.
6. After going through this you can then choose to file an official police report.
7 & 8. You tell the police officer everything that happened to you, most time before an advocate from a shelter/crisis center who you then can debrief with.
9. Then you go through a forensic interview where a trained interviewer is having you tell them your experience and you are asked questions about your memories and the events which is all video taped.
10. After all this you have to wait and hope a prosecutor picks up your case.
11. And if one does then you undergo a trial which at times can take months to be scheduled and weeks to go through
12.Also add in the process of convincing a judge to sign a protective order (restraining order) if this individual would be in contact with you through classes, living situation, work environment and you feel threatened by them. To get this you also have to convince the judge that this person is a threat to your safety.
Now this is all if you want to make an official police report.
Here at UNH you can also go through conduct in addition to, or instead of an actual police report. So you can go through all steps 1-12 or bits and pieces of the 12 steps and decide on this option.
1. To go through conduct you can choose to work with SHARPP and you are appointed a confidential advocate.
2. You create you statement as does the perpetrator.
3. You then have a conduct hearing and through your statements try to prove how this person has violated the University Sexual Conduct Policy.
Also note that if you are found guilty of making a false report by the police you can be arrested.
So I numbered these steps just so you could see the amount of work, perseverance and strength needed to go through this process. Now do you think that so many people would do all this for revenge. No. There are such a small percentage of survivors who even make it to the first step which is telling a friend or placing a call to a crisis center. So the concept of false reporting being rampant in our society is just a myth fostered by rape culture to keep people doubting the validity of a survivors story.
Alright Deep Breath…In…Out
You just got a lot of information in not a lot of time, but don’t you feel better now.
Are you ready to change the world…alright a little aggressive. How about are you ready to accept the idea of rape culture. If you aren’t yet no harm, no foul but at least I gave you some information to toss around you head. I reposted the article link below if you wanna learn some more along with a less spartan picture :)
Have a great week!
Be Safe Wildcats!!