Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Feminist Mormon View: What would it look like if we didn't live in a rape culture?

Warning, this post contains thoughts, ideas, and language that may be uncomfortable for some readers. I directly quote some crude language.  I think it is important enough to the point of the post, that I have only altered a few words, while leaving the sentiments expressed, as an important part of the discussion. 

(***If discussing rape culture is uncomfortable, or if you want to argue about whether rape culture exists, please feel free to either not read, or read and not comment, on the post. I will be moderating the comments. If you can be respectful, and want to talk about your concerns, or ways to move forward, feel free to share your thoughts. We already know there are people who don't think rape culture exists, or who act like it doesn't exist or isn't important. If that is what you want us to know, we already heard you, and an argumentative comment section is *not* what I am interested in. I do hope that reading the post gives you something to think about, and that you have a great day!)

About a month ago, I shared a video on Google+ and Facebook. In case you haven't seen it, I still think it is worth watching. At the time, I got some flack on Google+, because I suggested that people skip the comments.

Here is my original post:

"I thought this video was wonderful, but suggest you skip the comments section. The commenters, (almost entirely men) pull out every misogynistic, homophobic argument in the defense of rape culture. The irony is that the comments section is exactly *why* we need men of courage, who will step up to the plate and look at the epidemic of rape, as the horror that it is!

My comment on Facebook, (before I read any of the responses/comments on YouTube, was:

This! This. This is so simple, and so powerful!
I hope that every young man, is talking about with their fathers, about what they can do to make a difference, in the lives of their sisters, friends, mothers, cousins, aunts, grandmothers, girlfriends, future wives/wife, sister-in-laws. 

Hopefully they are thinking and talking about how to be better men, who can set the example for their brothers, cousins, sons, uncles, fathers, grandfathers and friends. I think this is worth passing on!

The YouTube commenters only make me believe this video is needed, more than ever!"

I admit, I don't generally check my Google+ in-box for emails and comments from people I don't know, so it wasn't until this morning that I read this concise reply(?) to my post. The person didn't post it publicly, and since I don't know him, and don't want to encourage him, I'm leaving out his "name," even though it is obviously a pseudonym. (**used as needed, to edit language from the original email)

"We don't live in a "rape culture" you whiny bit**. You tell people not to read the comments because you know that what they say is true. This is all just a bunch of c*ap that is created by women who hate men. I must know at least 200 women, and not one of them has been raped. A few went on dates and had sex, and didn't want to tell that to their bishops, so they told their bishops they were raped, but I know they are liars. I talked to one of the guys, and he told me that she wasn't a virgin, so you know she was just looking to hook up, and couldn't handle it when he told her she was a bad lay.  I don't have time for idiots like you, who can't see what is right in front of your face. Wake up! We don't live in a rape culture, and you and every other woman knows it!"

I don't know this person, and have no way of knowing if his *facts* are correct or not, but his choice of words, his attitude, and his arrogance, reek of rape culture to me. I will not argue with him, but I did want to respond publicly. This isn't everything that could be said, but it is the response I think needs to be emphasized, every time someone denies reality.  

Rape Cultural is real!

If you don't know someone who has been raped, then you either don't know many women, or you aren't someone who the women in your life feel safe talking to, about this issue. 

The statistics speak for themselves. We have a culture that makes rape more common than cancer. If rape was treated as a medical epidemic, (like polio for instance) we would already have a huge consensus, that any rape is unacceptable, and we would be using all the resources available to fight all forms of sexual assault and sexual violence.

I have heard often, that "we don't live in a rape culture because," and then the person goes on to give either a person story of someone who they don't believe was raped, or they use their ignorance of the problem as "proof" that it doesn't exist.  For me, that is nonsense, bit after knowing a lot of victims of rape, incest and sexual assault, who both women and men, I do want to add something to the discussion, that is often missing.  (In fact, I think the fact that the video in question gives specific ideas about how to change rape culture, may be part of the reason that so many rape culture apologists have attacked the man who made it.)

So, how do I know that I live in a rape culture?  I know, because I can imagine what it would be like to not live in one.  Here is my list of the top five (5) things that I think would be different if we didn't live in a rape culture.  What would you add?

What would be different without rape culture? 

*We would not be blaming victims. We would be addressing some behaviors that put people at risk for being victims, in a pro-active way, without slut-shaming.
*We would not be claiming that it isn't fair to talk to all men, (and all women) about what they can do to make it more likely that all women, and all men, are treated with respect. 

*We would have a society that agrees that the goal should be all sexual intimacy *should* be consensual, and we would be talking about what consent looks like, with our society's youth, at ages before sexual activity is common. 
(Many people might wish that middle school students never had sex, (or that we could keep them from even knowing about it) but the reality is that we know a significant number of them are choosing to have sex at younger ages, and the less a young person knows about sex, the less able they are to have the knowledge to know what they are consenting to.  I personally think that Abstinence Only sex education, feeds the ignorance, that rape culture needs to survive.)
*We would be demanding that date rape and non-stranger sexual assault be prosecuted as often as stranger rape cases.  There would not be arguments about whether date rape should be treated as a crime.
*We would not be arguing about whether this is a problem, because we would be too busy, (taking concrete steps towards fixing the problem) to argue that it doesn't need fixing!
What else do you think would be different, if we didn't live in a rape culture?


  1. I find that the only difference at this present time is that the subject is open and adults teach their children the dangers out there. Im approaching 70 and grew up in a conservative small town in scotland. I experienced quite a few interferences from adult men when I was a child. I wonder if todays society is any different than back then.

  2. Anonymous,
    I hope there are some differences, but I am reminded by many of the women who first join a rape support group a long time after it happened, that incest, rape and sexual assault have always happened. I hope that we are making significant steps forward, but I also recognize that we have a very long ways to go. It is part of why we need to not get complacent, and why we need to keep moving forward, even when it is not easy.

    Thank you for the reminder that there is much work still to do!


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