Rape is not a Culture

We all know the story; it’s in all the films out of Hollywood.

Girl goes to a University party, there’s a little bit of tequila, maybe even a jagerbomb or two. Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Boy decides to take girl to a secret spot to show her how beautiful she is. On the twig covered floor behind the dumpster he takes off her cardigan. Girl is so intoxicated she can’t speak. Boy pulls girl’s dress up to her shoulders and removes her bra. Girl is unconscious. Boy removes girl’s underwear and inserts his fingers into her genitalia. Girl is not moving. Boy thrusts his erection onto girl. Two Swedish bike riders see unconscious girl and horny boy. Boy runs away and they tackle him. Girl wakes up in a hospital room the next morning and is told she was raped.

 

In January last year Brock Turner raped an unconscious girl behind a dumpster at Stanford University.

Last Thursday he stood trial, pledged that it was consensual, and received only 6 months in county jail.

As a human being I am disgusted. As a woman, I am terrified.

As a woman I am scared of being anywhere by myself at night.

As a woman I am constantly vilified because of what I choose to wear.

As a woman my consent is apparently the spreading of my legs, whether I am conscious or not.

As a woman, watching this story unfold for over a year I am horrified that media outlets continue to talk about Brock Turner’s sporting achievements over the fact that he sexually assaulted an unconscious person.

 

Unfortunately I’m not adverse to stories of rape. I know of three girls personally who were sexually assaulted in the past year alone.

 

One of them was camping at a music festival with friends when her tent collapsed. With all other tents full, she thought nothing of bunking with a guy friend of hers. On the second night she found herself being woken up by the male friend pulling her pants down.

Scared she pulled them up immediately but he would not relent and tried again whilst whispering, “Don’t worry babe it will only take a minute.”

She told me about it a few days later. About how she had never been so scared in her life that she couldn’t actually move. About the mantra running through her head saying “He’s going to rape me. What do I do? He’s going to rape me. What do I do?” How she counted the amount of times he pulled her pants down only for her to pull them back up. How she was so terrified of what he may do she couldn’t speak. Thankfully, she wasn’t raped that night, but it will affect her forever.

The day after it happened some girlfriends helped her fix her tent and she spoke to him that night. He didn’t remember what he did, too high off a cocktail of pills and alcohol. He apologised profusely, but both she and I will never forgive or forget what he did.

 

It makes me wonder, what would be worse, to not be raped but remember the entire lead up, or to have been unconscious and be told the morning after.

Is the thought of his fingers on her skin worse than the actual memory?

 

These two girls’ stories are very different but also complete parallels.

 

Both girls were asked what they were wearing when it happened.

Both girls were asked what they expected from going out and drinking.

Both girls were blamed instead of the rapist.

 

And people wonder why I’m so scared to be by myself at night. Why I wont get into a taxi or Uber by myself, why I call a friend whilst walking to my car from the bus stop.

Woman around the world are scared of the same things I am. And they too have men around them disregarding their fears. But here we have a court case rationalising them.

 

And I have not seen one man talk about it.

 

This case needs to be talked about. The fact that after raping an unconscious girl, a fully-grown man only received a six-month jail sentence, needs to be talked about. This so called ‘rape culture’ needs to be talked about.

 

Rape culture is non-existent.

 

In Australia our culture is drinking a tinny and wearing thongs. In New Zealand it’s being a rugby union supporter.

In no way is Rape is a culture.

Rape is an illegal act of aggression.

There is no country in this world that believes rape to be part of their national identity and culture.

So don’t go around thinking that “rape culture” is similar to what Brock describes in his defence as “drinking culture.” Because it’s not.

 

As human beings we have to stand up both physically and metaphorically and take a stand against rape, both male and female.

 

Everyone has the right to feel safe by him or herself at night. Everyone has the right to feel safe when they drink. Everyone has the right to be looked after with the uttermost care and respect when they are unconscious.

No one has the right to use aggression and strength to take claim on another person. No one has the right to sexually assault another person. No one has the right to take away a person’s dignity.

 

If you want to learn more about the Stanford Rapist:

Read the Brock Turner’s defence

Read Brock’s father’s defence

Read the victim’s statement

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