Many have criticized me for speaking out against rape. Others have accused me of diminishing women’s rights. I stand accused of trying to expand the range of acceptable debate about rape, and I might add, make it easier for all men to feel that they are not Victims. In other words, I challenge all men to look themselves in the mirror and ask if they would rather be seen as Victims, rather than as guilty perpetrators of rape.
In recent months there has been an amazing amount of coverage on the subject of rape. We have seen debates on what constitutes consent, what constitutes rape, and the different legal interpretations of each of these terms. We have heard from our President and many Members of Congress about this issue. Should we as a society view rape as normal?
There are many who say yes, I do, I see why there are so many men who feel that way. Some of them see it as an expression of male power and an instinctive defense mechanism. These are people who seem to understand that victims of rape want it over and above anything else. They want to be violated, and they want the experience of being violated over again. Some see this as the natural result of the evolutionary process that produced men who see women as sexual objects.
But is this really so? Aren’t we meant to be empathetic toward our fellow human beings? Don’t we have a responsibility to take care of our fellow humans? If we are to claim partial credit for each other’s suffering, shouldn’t we also accept partial blame for the things that our fellow humans do that cause other people to suffer? Or better yet, don’t we owe it to the victims to stop the crimes that are committed against them?
One might think that the answer to all these questions would be obvious. But I see that there are some victims who do not see the connection between being raped and being a victimizer. That is unfortunate. And there are even some men who believe that if a woman says she was raped, then the man is actually being blamed for the crime. This is total nonsense, and I am certainly not condoning any sort of victimization.
In fact, victims of rape and the people who look down upon them are doing exactly what the alleged perpetrator of the crime is doing committing acts of violence against other people. It might not be intentional. It might not be deliberate. But it still happens. So victims, stop looking down on those who have been victimized and instead begin to look up to us, the enlightened ones, who can stop the rape culture and protect other victims from being victimized.
What can we, as survivors, do to stop the cycle of victimization? We can speak out against rape. We can encourage others to speak out against rape. We can see ourselves as being capable of stopping the cycle once and for all.
We are certainly not the problem-if we do nothing, other victims will continue to be victimized. And we can help by telling our stories, sharing our feelings, and organizing ourselves as well as other survivors. Then maybe, just maybe, our world will start to change.
There are some excellent programs that aim to empower women. One such program is “The Invisible Woman’s Guide to Stopping Rape.” It is a great guide for anyone who feels vulnerable or scared in any given situation but who nevertheless wishes to do everything possible to stay safe and fend off any potential attackers.
The Invisible Woman’s Guide to Stopping Rape offers a program that addresses not only potential victimization but also the perpetrators. In addition, it tackles the idea of consent. And it provides, as many other programs do, resources that can be used in court. The program has helped to stop more than one case involving gang rape. In fact, it is one of the inspirations for the Oscar-winning movie, “sisters and uncles.” And the film’s protagonist, played by Angelina Jolie, did more than speak out against a brutal rape; she became an active participant in stopping it.
So, you may be thinking that by speaking out against rape, you’re somehow supporting the act itself in some way. That is not necessarily true. By taking action, you will empower others to take similar action and, hopefully, prevent another act of such depraved behavior.