Monday, October 14, 2013

Slutwalk: An Anti-rape Campaign

Back in 2011, I heard about this event that was taking place near my college campus. It was called "Slutwalk" and was even in the local paper. The basic idea of it is to raise awareness of rape, especially since it does happen at college and a lot of people seem to ignore it. The big message that everyone was trying to send out is the fact that promiscuous clothing IS NOT an invitation for rape, and the victims of rape should not be blamed for their choice in apparel.

Most people probably don't even realize that the definition of rape (according to the FBI) was "the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will". That pathetic little definition has been in place since the 1920s. The definition is limiting, not only to its victims but also to the actions it umbrellas as well. The new definition (oh boy, it only took like 80 years to get it right) is "penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, WITHOUT the consent of the victim". Finally, something that isn't just about women. This new definition of rape can refer to any gender: male, female, transgender, etc AND it also includes people that are under the influence.

Although the "Slutwalk" was brought to my campus, its pretty sad how only about seventy people showed up. I mean think about it, there's an entire university with thousands of students and staff and only seventy people show up? Come on. It's an issue that people just keep sweeping under the rug. Bottom line: It doesn't matter what you're wearing, there is NO EXCUSE for rape (and don't you dare say that mental illness is an excuse). It's also a gender thing. If a man gets raped nobody says shit about how short his pants are or how he wasn't wearing a t-shirt. But God forbid a woman wants to wear a short skirt or a dress, then everyone just blames her: "well, she was asking for it". No she was fucking not. It is not the victim's fault that she was raped, bottom line. It is the fault of whoever committed the rape. If another party is to be blamed for rape then I say blame the fashion industry or the media.

People want to dress like the celebrities they see on T.V. Meanwhile, clothing in the past few decades has become more revealing, less conservative, and definitely attention-grabbing. But it is not your fault that the media brain washes you into thinking certain clothes will make you seem more appealing. It's not your fault that you go to the department store and can't find clothes to barely cover your ass. And what about swim suits? Should we all just stop going to the beach or swimming in public pools because they're "too revealing". The answer is no. Clothing does not have anything to do with why people find the need to rape others. It's about power, and control. Back in the day, when women had layers and layers of lace and corsets and dress hoops - they were still being raped by men. Servants were raped by their wealthy owners. Children were raped by their parents. All different kinds of rape, and none of them are to be blamed for their choice in clothing. You could be wearing a chastity belt for crying out loud, and if that rapist wants in there all he has to do is smash open the lock. The issue isn't about clothes. It's about blaming the victim, instead of actually making the rapists take responsibility for their own actions. And this has been going on way longer than the definition of rape.

Fathers tell their sons "it's not your fault, you couldn't help yourself". But shit like that is as ancient as the rust upon the corsets women no longer wear. If the ones in power keep twisting the stories and telling lies, eventually those less fortunate start to believe them. Why do you think women who have sex are still called sluts while men get high-fives and slaps on the back? It's because society keeps promoting "equality" when we're actually still as divided (by race, gender, class, etc) as ever before. There is no excuse for rape, just as there is no excuse for domestic violence/abuse, and there's certainly no excuse for why the ones with all the power keep ignoring important issues like rape, abortion, or gay marriage. Oh there might be a twisted version of "equality" here in America, but there certainly is a great deal of justice lacking. I guess "Liberty and Justice" were not really for "all" afterwards.

To get back onto the topic at hand, the definition of rape was officially changed by the FBI in 2011. Let's hope that it doesn't take another 80 years for us to stop blaming the victims as well. As someone once said, "consent is a clear and freely given 'yes', not the absence of a 'no'."

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