“One in four women will be raped. Only 10% will report it. The other 90% will take refuge in silence. 50% of these be cause the perpetrator is a family member or someone they know. The other half think they won’t be believed. And they won’t be believed.” – Ines Hercovich
Why didn’t she call for help?
Why does she stay?
How could she go home with him?
Why would she wear them clothes?
She shouldn’t have drunk so much.
She should have said no again.
She should have struggled more.
She shouldn’t have left her friends.
What do you expect?
All the above is called victim blaming which happens so often and in so many contexts that when someone is raped they themselves question whether they were raped or just simply ‘asking for it’.
The world teaches us that we’ve done something wrong. We’re shamed and blamed in to thinking it’s our own fault. We should not be carrying the burden of their actions by ourselves. 90% of us should be given more of a chance.
A situation that is so common, yet almost completely silenced.
A situation where I think I drank too much.
I made a mistake.
I should have tried harder.
A situation caused by greed, power and privilege.
A situation involving not me, just my body.
A situation caused by someone else.
A situation where the only thing that could have stopped me from being raped that night is the person that raped me.
However, not all rapists are monsters. And not all victims are damaged. In fact, what is damaging are these labels. These labels do not explain what makes an everyday man lose his humanity for minutes of self-centred pleasure and control. Rapists, abusers and violators are not devils crawling in and out of black holes reaching out to our bodies with one aim in life. They walk the streets with us, sit in our classrooms, they’re our bosses, our boyfriends, they’re everywhere.
Which is why, to stop violence against women, girls, and everyone else in fact, we need to shift the focus from women and girls and bring men into the conversation. Men need to be part of this movement, and men need to be the main leaders of this fight because it’s men that are being failed at some point, in a society that leads them to believe they have privilege and control over someone else’s body on a scary scale that has been happening today and for years and years and years.
A situation that goes beyond borders, race, religion and status.
It is our job to speak up for the women and girls who are unable. Women and girls who can’t find the strength or are not ready to share their story. Women and girls who live in place where their lives will be in even more danger for saying the words ‘he raped me’.
But men and boys also need to be encouraged to speak up and say ‘I raped her’ in order to change societies blame game, and in order to understand better, in a humane and safer perspective, why men are the solutions and fully responsible for this inhumane global pandemic.
Our voices matter. Our words can create change. But we need all voices, not just the survivors, and not just women. Each story involves two people. We need to create questions for him, and conversation for her. And we need to give both a space in which we can address this global issue, so that his son does not make the same mistake to her daughter, so we can create a safe world for everyone and our futures.
So, let’s change the questions;
Why does he hit her?
Why is domestic violence a global issue?
Why are men the main perpetrators to all children, women and other men?
“Why do so many men abuse physically, emotionally, sexually, verbally the women and kids that they claim to love?
What’s going on with men?
Why is this a common problem in society?
Why do we hear over and over again about new scandals erupting in major institutions like the Catholic Church or the Penn State football program or the Boy Scouts of America, on and on and on?
What’s going on with men?” – Jackson Katz: Violence against women — it’s a men’s issue
This is not a battle or about girls vs boys. We’re all producing this culture and behaviour and we all suffer as a result. How are we all going to stop it?
Let’s talk. Let’s challenge. Let’s end it for all of us.
Hoping for the best,
p.s this is just 745 words, this is not my whole scope or thoughts or words on the issues surrounding gender, men, women, society, sexual abuse and violence. I want this to be something positive and to create something positive from something that is so disturbingly negative, personal and common. I don’t claim to have all the answers and everyone deals with things differently, but this is just 745 words and for some that’s brave, and a start, and it might just help someone’s life, so let’s hope for change, take care of each other and just be nice.
Below is a list of things I’ve read, watched and resources for anyone who is interested in learning and understanding more about one of our world’s biggest and ongoing problems;
- Meera Vijayann: Find your voice against gender violence
- Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger: Our story of rape and reconciliation
- Ines Hercovich: Why women stay silent after sexual assault
And you can find these on Netflix:
- The Hunting Ground
- Audrie & Daisy
And these are some of my other related blogs:
If anyone has any good resources, website links, blog posts or books then please share!