A think-piece by one of our Stand Up! Ambassadors on how harmful gender norms and stereotypes can contribute to the perpetration as well as acceptance of gender based violence in society.
I’m sure you’ve heard or used common phrases like ‘boys will be boys’ and joked to your friend that “you know you want it”. I’m willing to bet that at least someone you know and spend time with makes rape jokes. I know even today you’ve heard or listened to a song about a guy triumphant about his sexual conquests. On a night out, you may have said to a friend “what is she wearing?!” in reference to a woman’s ‘slutty’ outfit. You may have even made fun of a guy for ‘fighting like a girl’.
Without knowing it, you are contributing to the perpetuation of rape culture. Your friends and family are contributing to the perpetuation of rape culture. Your favourite singers are contributing to the perpetuation of rape culture.
Remember the Harvey Weinstein scandal? The high profile producer who was charged with rape and other sexual offences? This shocked the world - a popular, successful man abusing and manipulating women. Thankfully this criminal was charged and such awareness was raised of the issue of rape and sexual violence, but people need to understand that this isn’t a special case. Figures indicate that over 1 in 3 women worldwide has experienced physical/sexual violence in their lifetime. Of this, it’s estimated that more than ⅘ of victims said that they knew the offender in some way. These perpetrators are a minority who abuse their positions of power and privilege over women. This wouldn’t be acceptable if the concept of sexual objectification in our society was abolished. It starts with addressing inequality. If instead of saying “she was asking for it” we challenged perpetrators and perpetrating attitudes, the overall picture would look very different. If we believed the victim instead of calling them “attention-seeking”. If we stopped doubling the injustice for victims through our responses to sexual violence as a society. If...
Our society is severely flawed, we just need to open our eyes and see that this isn’t okay. We need to start as far back as teaching “don’t rape” instead of “don’t get raped”. We need to abolish our toxic ideas and stereotypes and understand that people can’t be allowed to get away with such crimes and know that we can’t carry on like this. We simply cannot.
by Pixie Murray - I first found my interest in RASASH when participating in my school’s YPI (Youth and Philanthropy Initiative) project. My team chose to represent the charity because they were targeting issues that we believed needed to be addressed. The topic of rape and sexual violence is one that is frequently overlooked and we want to help change this. After we won our school’s YPI project, we decided to keep in touch with RASASH and to keep educating people on the issue of rape and sexual violence. As well as this, in my spare time I enjoy playing in pipe bands, debating political issues and current affairs, mentoring, campaigning and blogging!
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