*TRIGGER WARNING: The following post talks about rape and violence in the US.*
So a couple of days ago we had some big news come out in regards to the new Miss USA and her response to a very important question, what were her thoughts on the sexual assaults happening on campus’ across the US. Now usually I don’t get into this stuff or blog about it because I don’t want to start a shit show but this is seriously important. I want to make one thing very very clear before I start: I am a feminist, not an extremist, I recognize that not everything is a black and white issue when it comes to dealing with social issues. I am also a survivor of a few instances of sexual abuse and the topic of rape culture is really important to me.
What is rape culture?
Rape culture is a concept that links rape and sexual violence to a culture and it’s society to a point where it is normalized and even condoned and often times is expressed in victim blaming, sexual objectification and making things like rape and violence towards women not such a big deal and belittling the idea of it. We see it constantly in the US, in our media, in our schools, people we are supposed to be able to turn to for safety are blowing it off and it’s coming out as a scandal months later because of shady detective work done by the police. Back in February multiple states had to really take a good look at making a change because they still had rape test kits dating back to 30 years prior, rape culture is well and alive in America and we have to do something about it.
What is not Rape Culture:
Suggesting that women empower themselves by taking a self defense classes to protect themselves.
How do you stop Rape?
By not accepting it in your society, by standing up against it and making it illegal, by creating safe and effective laws that protect the victims that are effected. By teaching people what rape is, how they can prevent it and how to not do it. The reality is that we may never fully stop rape.
How do you stop Rape when it is happening to you?
You fight for your goddamn life. Just because I don’t want to get raped and that I do not condone rape doesn’t mean that it isn’t a very real possibility when I close the restaurant and walk into the crowded streets of downtown to the bus stop. It doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t carry mace because bad things happen. People have been mugged blocks from my house. Is mugging bad? Yes. Is it illegal? Yes. Should you be aware of how to defend yourself against someone if they pull a gun out on you? Abso-fucking-lutely.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking responsibility for our own safety, saying that nothing bad is going to happen to us because we don’t want it to and it shouldn’t exist and expecting that to be a reality is a very, very, dangerous mind set. Understanding that Rape happens isn’t perpetuating rape culture or victim blaming, you can be against rape and still prepare yourself just in case it happens to you.
Who should be taking self defense and what are the benefits?
Personally I think everyone should take some form of self defense, if only for the fact that it really helps boost self-esteem (something we seem to lack here in the states.) In every class it’s pretty clear that self defense isn’t about beating the crap out of someone but about creating enough space to get away from the attacker and get help, which is pretty damn useful for just about anyone.
So what’s your point/TL;DR?
Miss. USA isn’t perpetuating rape culture. We as feminists talk all the time about taking power back and standing up for ourselves and keeping ourselves and our fellow woman safe. We talk about empowering ourselves by doing things that aren’t in societies views of our gender roll. By attacking Miss. USA for stating an opinion that is a pretty damn valid one we are taking ourselves out, so all I have to say is:
Congratulations Miss. USA! You go girl!!!!