Rape culture and victim blaming

<em>Trigger Warning: This article contains discussion of sexual assault.</em>

I&nbsp;want to preface my opinion on the topic of rape culture with a thought exercise. Imagine the following: the other day I was waiting outside for my bus to arrive. The bus was about 20 minutes late and I was anxious to get home because I was really hungry. Then, a man who was around my age came into the bus shelter and sat down next to me. He pulled out a brown bag from his backpack and unwrapped it to reveal a steaming hot burrito. Burritos are my all-time favourite food because they are the most excellent combination of all of the greatest ingredients in the world. To me, they are irresistible. My stomach grumbled as I watched him take his first bite. I needed to have it. I asked him for a bite, but he just gave me an odd look and replied with a stern no. He shifted away from me a little bit and took another bite. I couldn&rsquo;t help myself; I decided that I didn&rsquo;t care that he said no because the burrito just looked too good. If he wasn&rsquo;t going to let me have some, he shouldn&rsquo;t have started eating it right in front of me. I reached over and snatched the burrito out of his hand. As I ate the delicious burrito, he begged for me to stop and to give it back to him. I continued to eat it anyways, thinking about how he brought this on himself.

I hope that you are thinking that what you just read was absolutely ridiculous and that the person in the story had no right to snatch the burrito and start eating it without permission. That was a completely fictional anecdote, but it represents something very real. The story was an illustration of how people blame the victims of rape by inventing reasons for why they brought it on themselves.

The term &ldquo;rape culture&rdquo; is rather harsh, but it is important that we acknowledge that it is prevalent in our society. Anything that has to do with blaming victims of rape is a consequence of rape culture. Dressing scandalously, acting seductive, and being alone at night are some of the common examples that people use to blame the victim for the rape. It is my opinion that under no circumstances is the victim ever responsible. I have trouble even trying to conceive of a justification for rape.&nbsp;

I&rsquo;ve thought about addressing this issue for a while now, but I have always stopped myself because I didn&rsquo;t think that it needed to be said. It seems so intuitive to me that victims are never to blame that I didn&rsquo;t consider that there are people who still don&rsquo;t agree with that fact. Recently though, I came across an account on Twitter by a woman named Lindsey who goes by the twitter handle @CardsAgstHrsmt. She has been compiling tweets from individuals who express rape victim blaming so that she can raise attention to the problem. I&rsquo;ve provided a picture of a sample of the tweets so that you can see for yourself just how many people believe this outrageous logic. I hope that when you take a look at them you will be just as shocked and disgusted as I was.&nbsp;

I also came across a documentary called <em>The Hunting Ground</em> that exposes just how common victim blaming is in academic institutions in the United States. The documentary is incredibly revealing because it discusses various cases of academic institutions &mdash; just like ours &mdash; who failed to properly address sexual harassment allegations and thereby perpetuated rape culture on campus. Frankly, it is really depressing and discouraging that we are still facing this problem in our society.

We are human beings, and as such, we are capable of thought, emotion, foresight, and remorse. We are also driven by emotions and motivations that can sometimes be really overwhelming. But one of the major things that separate us from animals is a little muscle called &ldquo;self-control.&rdquo; Yes, it is a muscle because you can choose to exercise your self-control, or you can ignore it and let it atrophy. I think that sometimes our self-control is overpowered by temptation and we end up giving in. However, that&rsquo;s only for small temptations like having dessert after dinner, or staying up and watching another episode on Netflix. Rape is something different entirely and self-control has no place in discussions about how it happened.

Not only does it take conscious thought to inhibit your self-control, it requires motivation and action to rape. Human beings are animals in the sense that they are influenced by temptation, but let me be clear: there is a difference between being tempted to have sex and tempted to rape. You are the only person responsible when your idea shifts from wanting to have sex to wanting to rape. And you are the only one responsible for actually raping.

We all need to start doing better. Firstly, we need to stop denying that it is a problem. Secondly, we need to stop inventing or agreeing with ways to justify rape. Finally, we need to educate others so that this outrageous logic dies once and for all.&nbsp;

No one in his or her right mind would ever justify grabbing the burrito in the bus shelter, and yet many people seem to think differently when it comes to a person&rsquo;s right to their own body. Think about that.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.