I am tired of hearing about this violence over and over again.
I am tired of the brutality. I am tired of thinking about what it means to live in a society that even has something called, “rape-culture.”
Rape. Rape. Rape Culture. Victims. Survivors. Vulnerable women, youths and children. Their stories. Oh, so many stories.
And now another one, closer to home. I was just told that a 14-year-old child of a friend was raped by her boyfriend. Same story. The same story I have heard so many times. As is often the case, this was her first introduction to what some term sex.
I remember the friends in high school raped by their boyfriends or their ex-boyfriends. Or both. We didn’t know that you could call it rape when it was a boyfriend or husband. Except, then we learned that, of course it’s rape.
Women I have met, friends along the way, women whose friends, sisters, brothers and acquaintances were raped. I know way too many stories and I am tired. I am angry.
What the hell is wrong with men?
I KNOW that statement will be upsetting to the good men who may be reading this. No, I am not talking about all men. I know there are good men; however, the majority of rapes are committed by men. And good men out there, you know this. Please read on to see what you can do to help. End of that discussion.
Why do rapists think that their behavior is behavior that they can engage in with impunity? Why do they assume they can get away with it? Because they do. Most of the time they do.
Boys who did this when I was in high school, got away with it. Their victims were scared to tell, scared to be hurt more, scared of the repercussions when they came forward.
Boys who do this in college, get away with it because girls are drunk and they won’t remember. Because victims can be shamed. Because victims are afraid. Because victims are confused.
Soldiers get away with it because their victims are helpless.
Men get away with it because many times they are stronger and their victims don’t have the strength, the ability or the knowledge to fight back.
Men get away with this because we let them, but more importantly, men get away with it because we live in a society where children are raised to think that the behavior is acceptable on some level.
Boys will be boys and the victims are blamed.
I am so tired and angry. Here in the United States, we have elected Donald Trump to be our President, a man who has declared publicly that he has touched women against their will, forcing himself on them physically, and, well, we all know what he has said about women and other vulnerable groups. And yes, I am aware of Bill Clinton’s behavior. I’m not an idiot.
It makes me sick. This is all connected. All of it.
We need to teach our children, our future men and women, that rape is always wrong. We need to teach people to keep their hands to themselves until they are invited to touch.
We need to teach our sons the true meanings of respect and kindness. We need to demonstrate how to use the word no. We need to teach our sons what no means. We need to teach our daughters and sons that they can say no, and how to say it.
We need to teach our children what consent means. We need to demonstrate healthy relationships. We need to live in such a way that we SHOW people how to treat each other with respect and kindness.
We need good men to step up and make their voices heard. We need the good men to stand up to other people when they call women names like slut, whore or worse, and when people make jokes about violence and assault. We need the good men to refuse to engage in conversations denigrating women, and to speak up to other men.
We need good people to demonstrate human behavior that is kind, thoughtful and respectful. We need all these good people to stand up for the vulnerable. We need all these good people to take a stand and risk embarrassment.
We need to become these good people who speak words that mean peace, equality, love, acceptance and empathy. We need to become people who take action in a powerful way, without more violence but with love, respect and strength.
We need to be determined and we need to decide to be the change we want to see in our world.
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” –Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi