This past week has done two very contradictory things to me.
One, it's made me thankful I don't have to ever be a woman. But at the same time, it's made me disappointed and ashamed about being a man.
From the Maryville,
Kansas Missouri whitewash to the Ohio University Instagram episode to the continual back-and-forth between sparring groups over the events online, it's been a pretty awful past few days for society.
What I need to say about it is probably something most people here will vehemently disagree with, despite it being an undeniable truth.
Rape culture exists. The only people to blame for it are men. Every man.
When I say rape culture, I don't mean it the way the proponents of its existence do: that we live in a society which is aggressively intolerant of women and by default their sexual rights.
While that's completely true, I think expressing it in that fashion almost desensitizes the issue. I mean it in a much more simpler, more accurate way.
Men rape women. All the time.
That's what men do. Not all men, of course, but an absurd amount. Five hundred times a day is the most recent number for sexual assaults in America. Hundreds of times a day we take women against their will and force them into unwilling actions that will haunt them forever.
The only reason that's done is because a male society has been able to construe it as okay.
That's all there is to this issue. Men are completely and utterly at fault. We should be incensed at ourselves right now. But we are not.
No, instead flippant denials are fomenting in your heads: I've never done that, I would never do that. I'm not the problem.
That's great you think that. That's great that you'd never do it. But it's not the complete picture of the problem. You are at fault. You are part of a world that continues to perpetuate this. Today, men don't give women the modicum of respect they deserve. And that's what directly leads to men feeling okay with taking something they have no right to have.
Why else would someone do something so terrible? Because they love, appreciate and admire the group?
The reasons given for rapes by men are always false. Too often it's dismissed as the work of fucked-up individuals, which serves to absolve ourselves of the guilt we need to share. Because we are all
guilty. We all have not committed it, and many believe we are not capable of ever doing it. But it's there. And it persists. It continues to persist. That's the scary part, and that's a testament to the culture we live in. People are trying to fight against it and they aren't winning. Because we, men, are resisting. We need to change. Drastically.
We can't keep riding the same current we are now, assuming that it is not a problem all men need to address. We can't keep living in a world where sexually-active women are "sluts" and "whores;" where we intentionally misrepresent them for our own benefit. Because it's that exact terminology, that belief that precipitates the crime. It's what creates the imbalance that fosters the climate where it is okay to toe the line, to ignore “No's,” to push when you know you should stop.
That's the fucked up part. We are part of a world where some people think a right to something that's not theirs outweighs someone else's right not to be violated. Everyone knows that is wrong, yet we allow sexism to override that truth. We attempt to explain away every instance in every way we can. We blame victims. We blame circumstance. We don't accept responsibility. We allow the scales to remain tipped in a way that benefits us.
It's as simple as that. Rape is wrong. You know that. But by continuing to accept a culture that happens, all men are worse than implicit.
We are guilty of the crime.