Hello to all my serial monogamist, serial daters, and single people who just want to live free of commitment. Today’s post isn’t about relationships, and I don’t have anything funny or witty to say, instead this post is about a topic very important to me; it’s something I fight against everyday in every space I fill, Rape Culture and Consent. My fellow women young and old, take a moment to think about every time as a child or teen you were told not to wear something “too grown” because it was inappropriate or sent the wrong message; you were probably trying to figure out why wearing shorts or a mini skirt was such an issue, it was just clothes right? Well even though they were just clothes, and you were all innocent GIRLS, you were forced to cover up and act accordingly so that nothing bad happened to you; nothing bad meaning sexual advances from grown ass men who should know better than to see a young girl as anything but. For centuries women and girls have had to abide by societal rules that take away their freedom, and give men the freedom to do what they please. It’s so normalized that it’s become it’s own problematic culture.
According to Buzzfeed, ” “Rape culture” is a culture in which sexual violence is considered the norm — in which people aren’t taught not to rape, but are taught not to be raped.” In the 70s women became very conscious of this and it’s still just as destructive today as it was back then. Both women and men can be victims of this culture, and perpetuating it. Rape culture is an umbrella term that includes; rape, sexual assault, victim blaming, consent or lack of consent, slut shaming, street harassment ( yeah that dude yelling down the street talking bout’, ” aye blue shirt, blue shirt” with they irritating ass, and getting mad calling you a bitch when you ignore them or turn them down), the myth of preventing rape, the friend zone, fear of reporting, false allegations, promising future narrative and male rape. I know there’s more to place under it but these are some of the most common, and relatable.
This toxic culture is so embedded in us that I sometimes catch myself saying something, or agreeing with certain situations when I know better. Recently, someone I know was involved in a rape case as the alleged rapist and I took their side, sort of. I was split between knowing how wrong the situation was and allowing that “promising future narrative” to overtake my better judgement. After thinking about it more, I knew he was in the wrong no matter how good he seemed to be. People have to realize that anyone can be a damn rapist; your homie/bro, some upstanding citizen in your hometown, your favorite celebrity, family members, and mentors. So many stories being told , and so many that have yet to reach the surface.
We as a society also need to rid ourselves of this notion that not doing certain things, or wearing certain things will prevent rape. I don’t care if you wearing Spongebob’s favorite striped sweater with sweatpants, or if you have every inch of your body covered, that won’t prevent rape. Rapist don’t care about all of that. Women should not have to cover up to keep men from doing something they should have been taught was wrong. We literally raise girls to prevent rape, but don’t raise our boys not to do so. Teaching consent is so important, and WOULD help to prevent rape, and sexual assault in the future. I remember on a girls trip being drunk and hanging out with some guys we had recently met. Everyone was dropping down to SLEEP, and one of the dudes thought he was getting some. My drunk self definitely flirted and teased him, but I never agreed to sex; I had just met him, we were in a room full of sleeping people, and I didn’t know anything about him. He kept trying and trying no matter how many times I said no, and even threw a condom on in the process. He ended up getting mad and rolling off to sleep eventually, but the fact that after the first NO he didn’t stop trying will always bother me.
No means no, period. A woman could be butt naked laying next to you, and that wouldn’t give you the right to try and have sex. If there is no physical or verbal consent, leave it alone, and not even physical consent cause in the wrong circumstance that could be someone in shock doing what they think their aggressor wants them to do.
In the black community, rape culture goes back for generations and stems from issues our people have dealt with since slavery. Most black women were taught that their bodies are not their own, that they are for their future husbands, boyfriends, and as children for their daddies to control. There are women who say they won’t expose their bodies because that’s for their mans eyes only (strong eye roll). At the end of the day, I don’t care who else has seen what you have, they aren’t getting next to it, like your “man” or “woman” is; they can look but what does that do to your relationship, absolutely nothing. I will always love a thread of tweets by Feminista Jones where she discussed this specifically. She said, “Rape Culture and piety tell women their bodies are temples that don’t belong to them, but to the men who created them or chose them.” Women have been taught to allow a man to work for her “nakedness”, and that that they cannot be naked and carry the same amount of class and intelligence as a women fully clothed. Men want to be able to have as much sex as they want, enjoy pornography and exotic dancers, but women are not supposed to be exotic dancers, make or participate in pornography, and openly enjoy sex. That’s an issue; men can enjoy something but deny women the right to enjoy it. Whenever a woman is seen baring her naked self it is assumed by everyone that she was forced to do so, or does not want to be that way by choice. Enters the slut shame. When a woman shows liberation in her nakedness, she is clearly a slut by society’s standards, because even though we came into this world naked as hell, people can’t deal with someone who wants to expose themselves in that way (another strong eye roll).
We were put on this earth to love, and enjoy CONSENSUAL sex, it’s natural; rape is NOT, molestation is NOT, sexual assault is NOT, and it shouldn’t be tolerated. Stop sexualizing these babies, and women! We have to stop teaching our girls how to prevent rape, and instead teach boys and girls about consent, and sex postivity. Also, and this is a big one, HOLD YOUR NASTY ASS FAMILY MEMBERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR MOLESTING CHILDREN! Yes, many families have an R. Kelly ass nigga living his life with no consequence while a woman is struggling to live hers because of the trauma he placed on her. Stop covering up for them, or sweeping it under the rug. These girls and women deserve better. I’m praying for you all and hope that you find peace! Well, that’s all I have for today. It took me forever to write this, because I had to get my thoughts together, and as always have a lot on my plate; hope to be back next week on a lighter note (smiles). Thanks for reading!
P.S. This week I chose a photo Tarana Burke, the activist and founder of the Me Too movement. Please take the time if you haven’t already and read up on her story and her cause. She inspires me to continue this fight!