Enough talking... Let's figure out HOW to combat rape culture / by Shanelle Gabriel

"I swear, every woman I meet, date, even talk to has been raped at some point in her life. Uncles, ex-boyfriends, classmates, the list goes on. It's gotten to the point where I meet a woman and expect her to tell me that eventually. It's too common...There's a problem in our world, a serious problem." - A male friend


I didn't need him to confirm that for me. Nor did I need to hear about Rick Ross' lyrics, Stubenville students or Rehtaeh Parsons' suicide to know that this is an issue that has stayed underground and needs to see the light of day. Rape, its definitions, its physical as well as its marginalized presence in common conversations and language is seeming on the forefront of our newpapers and blog sites. We've commented, criticized, critiqued, and cried over the varying views on the subject. I will never tire of speaking up against those that believe "women put themselves in situations to be raped," that "it's just a rap song," that "she was probably just a slut," and I will speak against those that don't take a woman's voice serious enough to guard her by all means once she speaks up. That last one especially resounds through the many reports of rape in the military where victims who speak up are punished for doing so or end up being discharged. An overwelming number of women live with their secret for fear of not being believed or of future stigmatism, so protection should be first priority for anyone brave enough to share the story of their hurt in hopes to save others from future pain.

However, I also believe in action. Here are some ways to help make a change in our communities and our world by Alexandria from Feministing.com:

"Organize your neighborhood or school against rape culture: run consent education workshops and recruit participants to pledge their stance against violence. March, demonstrate, to publicly prove to all that those who inflict violence on others will not be supported or included by your community. Every time a publication runs a piece promoting rape culture, write a letter in response. Reject slut-shaming and victim-blaming of all forms. Loudly. Model respect for others’ bodily autonomy and stand up for your own in everyday situations to promote a culture of consent. Intervene if you see a dangerous situation developing, and teach others to do the same. Combat the transmission of rape culture from one generation to the next: teach kids to be better than we are. Don’t invite rapists to your parties (I can’t believe I even have to say that, but I do). Make sure survivors in your area have somewhere to turn for justice and support, and to stop their rapists from re-offending. If this resource doesn’t exist, create it. Refuse to tolerate speech that promotes rape; speak up even–no, especially–when to do so would be rude. Listen to a survivor when no one else will."