I am very tired today but I feel like I need to talk about this. Please forgive me if it’s a little confusing. I’ll come back later after I’ve had a nap.
Here’s the thing going around facebook:
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
I am incredibly fortunate that I can’t really add me too to my status. I suppose I could count cat calls as sexual harassment, but I don’t feel like it rises to the standard that so many of my friends have experienced. I don’t want to minimize their suffering so I’ve only said #ibelieveyou.
And yet. . . a lot of my books have harassment and sexual assault as an integral part. You’d think I was trying to work through something in my past and that is definitely true about a lot of the aspects, but not this one. I can’t tell you why. Maybe because there is this rose-colored glasses look we have when we think about the Victorian period or the 19th century or the good-old-days. I am fascinated by the period, obviously. And I really want to wear pretty dresses and go to balls and wear gloves. So basically be rich during the period. It would be fun. But there are very dark parts of the 19th century and while I’m not comfortable to write about some of it, the rape culture of this time–I just can’t seem to shut up about that.
It’s still here. Right now, in 2017. Unlike the Victorian era most people understand that women who are raped are victims, at least in terms of stranger rape and a house being broken into or something like that. We seem to be iffy about date rape. And regardless of what we understand, we still ask that Victorian question–what did she do to deserve it?
Nothing. A woman does nothing to deserve rape. Nothing, all right? Nothing.
And so I posted this on my facebook page today and I’m posting it here. It irritates the hell out of me that I have to say this in 2017. But I do.
Women don’t “ask for” rape. The not asking is the very definition of rape. If she “wants it” she says she wants it, and then it is not rape. If she doesn’t say she wants it, she does not want it and if you take it, that is rape.
If a woman dresses skimpily, she may be looking for a sexual partner. If that partner isn’t you, then she did not dress for you. If that partner isn’t you, but you decide it is and act upon it, that’s rape.
If a woman dances stark naked down a street, she may be looking for a sexual partner. If that sexual partner is not you, and you decide it is and act upon it, that is rape.
Clothing and makeup do not define rape.
No more “what did you do to make him” bullshit. NO MORE.
We have been taught by society–sometimes by parents or teachers or others–to ask women who tell us they’ve been sexually assaulted what they did to make that guy think they wanted sex. So much so that it’s the first thing that might come to our minds. Well that first thing is wrong and it’s time we reprogram our brains. All of us. Men and women. Too often we do not back up other women because we have taken “precautions” to avoid being sexually assaulted. We feel vindicated or superior, but we are NOT. This thinking just proves we are victims too and we’re buying into our victimhood. Not of rape, but of a society that has convinced us that it’s our responsibility to not be raped–not society’s responsibility to protect us. We are 51% of the earth’s population and we contribute to humanity every damned day. We shouldn’t have to dress in a certain way so that the other 49% won’t attack us. That’s just bullshit.