Social Responsibility and Rape

Golly, this woman is terrible.
The issue of rape is discussed here but Susan’s views only highlight the social views that actually lead to rape. By excusing men of their actions because a woman was drunk or not protecting herself is a perverted view on rape.

The change needs to come on both sides: increased acceptance of victims (drunk or sober), and decreased acceptance of aggressive sexual behaviour from men (drunk or sober). Why should women feel that if we drink we will be taken advantage of. We should celebrate the men that will walk a girl home to her friends or family when she’s drunk, not high five the ones who bed the drunkest girl at the bar. Therefore its society too, not just the individual, and social changes need to happen before the issue of rape improves.

We need to give strength to those who have suffered to come forward. And this will not come from shaming those that already have for “not protecting themselves properly”. If they think its their fault, they won’t come forward and the rapist won’t be found out. Naming, shaming and sentencing rapists will also make men think twice before acting inappropriately with women. If your peers are getting away with forceful sexual encounters and celebrating them, then you won’t see it as wrong, and you may just be influenced to continue this cycle of disrespect, ownership and rape of women.

People say that drunk girls are looser or have made the decision to be less able to defend themselves. But why aren’t we addressing the issue of drunk men. In these “drunk rape” situations: the males aggression may be heightened; their own awareness will be reduced; they may be out with a pack of guys that are pressuring them to ‘pull’. But the males reduced awareness-instead of reducing the ability to defend himself, as discussed for women- instead reduces his ability to stop himself. This is the issue. Social pressure pushes men. Drunkenness may be enough to have a man forcing himself on a girl with little awareness or regard for her consent. If anyone should be going out and not drinking it’s the men. A girl could go out sober wearing a chastity belt and a drunk man could take advantage of her.

However truly coming over this issue should not have people screaming don’t drink from every corner. Alcohol, or marijuana or the like…none of these are substances that when taken immediately lead any man to forcibly have sex with a woman. Neither do they have the sole effect of leading a woman to a room full of rapists, take her pick and mistakenly end up alone and frightened. Drink doesn’t equal rape. It’s a social issue. Yes there will always be some people who rape. But forcing sex on someone IS rape, whether it be a calculated crime or an act of testosterone or drug induced frustration. If we reduce the pressure on men to pull. If we shame those who disrespect women. If it becomes the norm that a boy will help a drunk girl out rather than pick her out as ‘suitably drunk’. Then rape may just become something that happens less and less.

Often in these discussions men feel belittled and they defend themselves “Not all men go out looking for sex”. This is true. And the message Im trying to spread is we need to celebrate you. The negative press of men coming through in great volumes at the moment is because a large proportion (not a majority) ARE disrespecting women…whether this be catcalling, grabbing in a club, calling a girl a slut because she’s had a few too many, trying it on with a girl when you know she’s very drunk (not looking after her), being rude when a girl turns you down, forcing yourself on a girl, pushing a girl to do things she is not comfortable with, not listening when women say they don’t like the way you’re acting towards them…none of this should be happening as a norm, but we see it every day.

The whole culture surrounding the way men treat women needs to change before the issue of rape improves. I live in a small village in England, a far cry from the streets of New York; the location of the viral video showing a girl receiving catcalls and propositions in the street. But even here I can walk 5 minutes down the road to the high street and get beeped or called at several times on my way, even in jeans and a hoodie.

So say all you want that she shouldn’t be drunk. Say all you want that she shouldn’t dress that way. Say all you want that she shouldn’t be conversing with those guys. But when they approach her. When she’s not even drunk. When she’s wearing sweats and no makeup. She’s still going to receive abuse. That is not her fault. And that is not ok. The problem is the way men are brought up to treat women. And the problem is women accepting it.

“Boys will be boys” something women may say when discussing the tens of arse-grabs they received on an innocent girls night out on the town.

“Boys will be boys” the words of the Indian Political Leader Mulayam Singh Yadav when asked about the disturbingly high rape statistics in India.

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