Author: Roxanne Joncas, evulving.com
“Everyone’s afraid that their daughters might be hurt. No one seems to be scared that their sons might be the ones to do it.” Clementine Ford wrote in her book Boys will be boys.
When I read this sentence it stuck with me. Why have I never thought of that before?
The answer to my question is easy. It’s because we were raised in a society where rape is considered normal. We enable rape and encourage toxic masculinity; that’s the source of the problem. Instead of identifying and solving this problem, we blame the victims and make them responsible for their own safety.
Let me ask you this. How can women effectively protect themselves when the law and the people side with the perpetrators?
When it comes to men and their actions, we repeat the same old lines. It’s not their fault, they are wired that way. It’s a biological need. Boys will be boys. Let’s not let one little mistake ruin their promising future.
To the victims, we shout. You were asking for it. It’s your fault for dressing that way. Why were you out so late? You shouldn’t get so drunk. You must be remembering it wrong. He would never do that. He’s a good man.
We accept this without question. We are indifferent. Complacent. We think it’s someone else’s problem to solve or that it can’t be solved. That’s the way life is. But, what if it wasn’t? I know it sounds crazy and farfetched. But what if women who were raped where believed? What if rape didn’t exist?
Rape is so normalized that instead of spending time and money educating and helping both the victims and the perpetrators, we waste it on band-aid products. Again, we’re putting the responsibility on the victim.
Society tries to sell women security:
- Pepper sprays
- Self-defence classes
- Cars that tell you if there’s a heartbeat in the car before you step in
- Wristbands, coasters, or nail polish that detect date rape drugs
- Bracelets that releases a foul smell if tugged on
- Jewelry that automatically dials emergency services
- Innumerable apps
- and more…
Don’t get me wrong, women’s safety is a serious issue. But, I’m against asking women to spend their own money on their safety. Some of these products go for hundreds or thousands of dollars and they get millions in funding to be produced. It’s absurd. Women earn less than men and have to spend that money on protecting themselves against said men. Women’s security should be a national concern.
The great thing is, women are starting to speak up. We’re not having it anymore!
In an interview, Emma Watson asked Dr. Denis Mukwege* if he thought movements like Me Too, Ni Una Menos and Time’s Up are important. His response was a resounding yes. He explains that silence and humiliation are powerful tools. He says that women keep silent, not to protect themselves, but to protect others, including the perpetrators. That’s why it’s so important to speak up. Why is it the responsibility of women to protect their family and community’s honour? Women shouldn’t suffer rape, and certainly not alone in silence. The shame shouldn’t lie on the women but on the rapists. We have a responsibility to protect women.
Life doesn’t have to be this way. We can stop gender-based violence, stop perpetuating rape culture and promote change.
Money should be spent on:
- Teaching our youth about consent
- Educating parents to not stigmatize sex
- Supporting survivors
- Rehabilitating perpetrators
- Training law enforcers to believe rape victims
- Taking down toxic masculinity
We can make this world a better place. We just have to stop being indifferent. Stop closing your eyes and start using your voice to change the world, bit by bit.
*The full interview Emma Watson asked Dr. Denis Mukwege: Part 1 and Part 2
More about the Author, Roxanne Joncas of evulving.com:
I’m Roxanne, author of the feminist blog Evulving. I share personal stories about what it’s like to own a vulva in a sexist world because it’s therapeutic.
I hope my posts will inspire you to speak your own truth (even if it’s quietly to yourself).
Follow me @roxannejoncas on Twitter and follow @evulving on Instagram