In my last post, I told you guys the story of one of the rape victims in my country. Just like I said before, rape isn’t something new in the society; it has been there right from time. But it is something that hasn’t been given it’s due justice in the society.
Why should we talk about rape? This is an interesting question that holds a lot of meaning to it. We should talk about rape because it’s real and is actually happening. We should talk about rape because there are people out there, whose rape stories fall on deaf ears. People don’t believe them when they voice out their rape experiences. They are hushed down by society and go through the traumatic experience of taunting from people. They are told things like; “You asked for it”, “You deserved it”, “That serves you right”. This is totally wrong!!!!!! I strongly oppose it. No one should be treated like this from the society. This is where I’ll be looking at rape culture.
Rape culture is a sociological concept for a setting in which rape is normalised due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality. It has been described as being detrimental to both men and women. Rape culture is closely related to victim blaming in which rape victims are considered at fault for being raped. Gender activists and feminists conceptualize rape culture as a cultural environment that encourages gender violence as well as perpetuating rape myths, ranging from blaming the victim for inviting sex to treating rape as merely rough sex.
Before I go into details about some common rape myths, I’ll like us to take a brief look at victim blaming. Victim Blaming is a phenomenon, in which victims of a crime or a wrongful act are partially or entirely attributed as being responsible for the harm that befell them. In this case, the crime or wrongful act here is rape. I for one, I’m not in support of this. Nobody has the right to blame another individual for his/her rape experience. No one ever wants to be raped. No one wishes to be. No one writes it on his/her head or body “HEY THERE, RAPE ME”. It can happen to anyone at any time.
Let me use an example to illustrate this phenomenon. Take this instance, whereby a woman or man has just be raped. Feeling shocked or traumatised by what happened, such an individual decides to confide in close friends, family or even the police. Now, the victim expects to be consoled, to be surrounded by family in other to recover. But this is not the case sometimes. When such an issue is brought out, the victims are asked questions like “What were you wearing? “Did you put on provocative clothing? “Were you flirting with the rapist? “Are you sure there was no agreement before the sexual encounter? “How do we know you are no making it up? These questions are asked because it is believed that the rape victim caused his/her own misfortune. Rather than asking that victim how he/she feels, how the assault occurred, you ask the person this questions. People sometimes believe that rape victims must have done something wrong to bring about the rape experience. The male victims of rape also go through comparable blame for their attack like the female victims, there is no exception.
The questions; “How do we know you are making it up? “Are you sure you were really raped? Sometimes are asked because people don’t believe that the rapist can be guilty of rape. This is where we should be careful. Anybody can be a rapist. The sweetest aunt or uncle in your compound, the kindest teacher in your school, your friend, may just be the one that can put you, a close friend or a family member through a traumatic experience as rape. Never let your guard down. Anybody can be a rapist just the way anyone can be a murderer, an AIDS patient and you wouldn’t know.
Victim blame can be as a result of the media’s use of sexual objectification. Sexual objectification is reducing a person’s existence to that of a sex object. It has been found that the more a person is exposed to media contents that sexualize women’s bodies, the more likely they are to participate in victim blaming. Now, I’ll be stopping here for victim blaming as I would like us to look into some common rape myths said in the society.
Rape myths are stereotyped, prejudicial and false beliefs about sexual assaults, rapists and rape victims. It is this false views and beliefs of rape that brings about victim blaming and questioning the victims honesty. Some common rape myths may include:
- Rape is simply unwanted sex, not a violent crime.
- Women want to be secretly raped.
- Men cannot be forced to have sex against their will.
- Most rapes are committed by strangers. (In reality, most rapes are committed by family, friends or even persons known to the victim).
- Women ask for rape. For example, by flirting, dressing provocatively and consuming alcohol.
- Men are less traumatised by rape than women.
- Only certain kinds of women (bad girls) are raped.
The list goes on and on but I’ll be stopping here for today. We can see that just as the name implies, this are all false beliefs and views made up over the years. And in many ways, these beliefs have really had a negative impact on rape victims. Rape myths cause victims of rape to blame themselves for their rape experience or not to report their assaults at all. This in all, can just be seen as the symptoms of rape culture in our society.
Why should i talk about rape? Why should you talk about rape? Why should we talk about rape? We should talk about it because it’s our responsibility to do so. Don’t just see the stories in the news and forget about it. It doesn’t matter if the victim isn’t a family member or a close friend to you. Talk about it when the case arises and voice out your opinions. By doing so, you are telling every rape victim out there, every girl, boy, woman, and man that has gone through such a traumatic experience that they are not alone in their fight for justice.
You are telling them that their rights matter too in the society!!!!! That they are not damaged as people call them to be!!!!! That they still have a life worth living for!!!!
To every rape victim out there, who has spoken up, I’ll tell you this; I really admire your courage to move on. I admire the fact that you have decided to not be limited by your past and to live life to the fullest. Your stories have and will continue to inspire many out there to speak up.
To every rape victim out there who hasn’t spoken up, I’ll tell you this; try to find the courage to do so. I know it isn’t easy. I know you may be afraid of what people might say or how the society will treat you. But guess what? You can’t change the past but you can help the future. You can help it, by rising up and speaking out now!!!! Forget about what people might say. Stand up and fight for your right!!!!!
But let me make something clear; I do not support false rape accusations. It is totally unacceptable and wrong to falsely accuse someone of rape.
Dear readers, why should we talk about rape? We should talk about it because it isn’t only our duty but also our responsibility to do so.
I’ll be looking out for your contributions in the comment box. Happy New month everyone.