The word “rape” is an ugly one. It is a word that has maimed, taken, and altered the lives of countless individuals since the beginning of time. The act of rape is when someone violates another persons body sexually without their consent. Under no circumstances is rape ever acceptable, ok, or deserved. Nobody in their right mind would ask to be violated in such a horrendous way. I don’t know what’s worse: to experience this act and being killed or surviving and having to live with the haunting memory of a time when you were completely powerless and humiliated. The subject of rape is becoming more of a lighthearted joke in America today vs a serious issue. With everything that is going on, I can’t help but feel that America is on the brink of ushering in a full-blown rape culture.
A couple of years ago, the term “legitimate rape” made its way to the forefront after former Republican senator Todd Akin actually used the term “legitimate rape”, and tried to justify the meaning. It was more than apparent that America was in trouble. Granted, America has come a very long way post women’s suffrage however, it seems as if we are beginning to backtrack. I am by no means a feminist. I hate that term it does not define me, my philosophies, or ideas. Sorry but I do not feel the need to burn my bra and scream, “I am woman hear me roar!” for the sake of protecting women’s rights. However, when it comes down to things like the issue of rape I have to take a stand and speak up on it. I am a survivor that still battles the shame and guilt over my personal situation that happened years ago. With that being said, I cannot grow silent on this issue. I have to take a stand and say something because I am a mother of a little girl who has to grow up in America and I don’t like the direction that I see things going in. The idea of her growing up in a rape cultured society scares the hell out of me.
Whenever I’d hear the term “rape culture” I used to think about of a third-world country. After all, I remember watching the Oprah Winfrey show once and they were talking about Joseph Kony and the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) situation in Uganda and South Sudan. Kony is a dictator that simply has no regard, love, or value for human life. The most horrific things have happened and are accepted as the norm under his regime. Watching this particular episode was the first time that I was ever exposed to real guerrilla warfare and rape culture. At the time, my young mind thought, “Wheeew, I can’t imagine living that way.” Now, some 15 years later, I can’t help but wonder, “Damn, will we be living that way one day soon?”
Rape culture is when you blame the victim, try to legitimize it, and/or treat the issue as if it isn’t as serious as what it is. We are already doing that. If rape culture continues to fester in America, the women here will diminish even more in value. Don’t get me wrong America is not the prime and pristine example of a Utopian society. Everything isn’t happy and rape will happen, it is the attitude towards it that is the issue. I personally noticed a huge shift happened a few years ago that I cannot ignore today. In 2013, Rocko dropped a popular song featuring Rick Ross and Future entitled, “U.O.E.N.O” . In the song, Rick Ross said a lyric:
Put Molly in her champagne, she ain’t even know it
I took her home and she enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.
I don’t know what’s worse: the fact that Ross said it on wax for the masses to hear and seemed to be bragging about date raping or the fact people repeat these lyrics without listening to what he is saying. Rick Ross clearly cosigned on Rape not being a big deal. It may not be a big deal to the assailant but it is a huge deal to the victim. It is NOT okay. People who have experienced this carry something with them after the event. Something changes… Something dies inside.
How do Americans view the issue of rape. Most recently, after the Bill Cosby scandal and Amber Rose’s SlutWalk event. I am convinced that we are in trouble and it is only going to get worse. When I first heard about Amber Rose doing a “Slut Walk” in Los Angelous, I couldn’t help but think, “Wtf is wrong with Amber?” I didn’t understand at first what she was trying to do. Now, I still don’t think women should walk around shirtless because a man can. That’s tit for tat and I personally don’t want to see nobody else’s t*tties on the street. However, I am moved by the message and solidarity. I still don’t agree with some things but to have victims and supporters rally on this issue was amazing for me to see. That walk helped somebody and started the path to healing for others. Strength comes in numbers. Rape is never the victim’s fault regardless of what the victim is wearing, where they work, or how they may act. It is said that 54 percent of all rape goes unreported. When I survived, I didn’t report it. I didn’t go to the hospital and for damn sure didn’t want to make a report of it. Instead, I went HAAAAAAAMMMMM.
Rape comes with shame. When people treat this issue so lightly, it is discouraging to the victim/survivor. Why would you even want to say anything. In the victim’s mind, they feel trapped in their pain. Silence is the only way to deal with it. A catastrophic event like this changes the survivor. To poke fun at the issue via meme’s and social media is not funny, it’s disgusting. I question the overall mental health of America when it comes down to how we look at sexual abuse.
We become accepting of rape culture when we make rape the butt of the joke. There’s absolutely nothing funny about one being violated sexually. There aren’t enough memes or silly videos that you can post or create that will justify it. There isn’t enough time that can pass by that will ever make it OK or easy to accept. When one has been violated in that manner, you can’t accept it, you just try not to think about it… You can’t even accept yourself afterwards. That is why it is so easy for a survivor to let themselves go. When this happens to you, you question the validity of everything how real is everything and everyone around you. Rape devastates.