There is a lot of credible information showing that the rate of sexual assault in the United States is appallingly high. 1 in 5 women is raped in her lifetime and in the 12 months prior to the CDC’s 2012 comprehensive report on sexual violence, 1 in 20 women reported experiencing some form of sexual assault in the 12 months prior to the survey alone. Close to 90% of those rapes and assaults are committed by their partners, their family members, their friends and acquaintances.
We know this is true. I know this is true. The women who are my friends know this is true.
Where do we meet these men who rape us? Who assault us? We meet them at our friends’ houses. At our friends’ gigs. We meet them through our friends, our co-workers, our families.
You introduce them to us. Maybe you don’t know that you’re introducing us to someone who believes he has the right to touch us without our permission.The right to stick his tongue in our mouths when we’ve said no, or turned away, or tried to keep our jaws closed tight. The right to have sex with us–to rape us–when we have not said “yes”.
I hope you don’t.
But if you’ve heard that person defend a rapist by saying that women are teases, or that women lie about assault, or that his life will be ruined by the accusation, then you know that this is not a safe person for your friends to be alone with.
If you’ve heard that person speak admiringly about PUA tactics or whine about the Friend Zone, you should be suspicious that this is not a safe person for your friends to be alone with.
If you’ve heard this person defend misogyny or sexism with some version of “that’s guy talk” or “boys will be boys”, you should not trust this person to be respectful and safe for your friends to be alone with.
This is rape culture. It normalizes the idea that women are tools of male satisfaction. When these ideas are unchallenged, the men expressing them believe that it’s normal and okay to assault women. And then they will assault your friends–my friends, me–with the trust that you think it’s normal to behave that way, and so it is okay for them to behave that way.
Work to make the world safe for your women friends, your sisters, your daughters by making sure that your sons recognize and reject rape culture. Call out that friend who thinks women lie about rape to protect their reputations, to hide an embarrassing liaison, to ruin some guy’s life. Don’t laugh at their grotesque jokes about assault.
Don’t teach your children that a man can brag about grabbing women in a sexual manner without their consent or can claim to kiss them whether they want it or not and be a viable presidential candidate.