Our society is one where rape has become normalised. We live in a society where rape is no longer acknowledged. It is not unusual to wake up the morning after, in a strangers bed with no recollection of what went on the night before or to take back a fellow drunk individual to your house and take their silence as a yes. This is an issue, an issue that goes way beyond the act of rape itself. It is our culture that allows rape to thrive, that is the issue. It takes one rapist to commit a rape, but it takes a village to create an environment where is happens over and over and over (Thomas MacAulay Millar). We live in a world where it is a victims fault for being raped. A world were only 5.7% of rapists are convicted. That leaves 94.3% of rapists roaming free, able to go out and rape again. But what is the cause of this low conviction rate?
I believe it to be victim blaming.
I struggle to understand how it is possible for a victim of rape, a victim of such a horrendous violation, to be at fault. Take a victims past sexual behaviour as an example. Often the way an individual has acted sexually in their past is used to judge the validity of their rape claim. But why? Before I was raped I had a healthy sex life (a more than healthy sex life), does that mean I was asking to be raped? Does that mean that I deserved to have my life completely turned upside down? No. I, just as every other individual who has suffered at the hands of a rapist, has the right to my own sexual freedom. It is my body therefore my choice.
And most importantly consent.When did consent stop being so important? Often when someone hears a rape story they are quick to ask questions. Was she drunk? Did she fight back? What was she wearing? I would like to know why does any of this matter? I had been drinking when I was raped. And I definitely didn’t fight back. Does that mean that I wasn’t really raped? No of course it doesn’t. I didn’t say yes.
And only yes means yes.
If we ever hope to make a difference and save our daughters, sons, sister and brothers from the pain and heartache that is the result of being raped we have got to stand together and stop victim blaming. Its time we stop teaching people how to not get raped and to start teaching people that it is not okay to rape.