“Our culture raises little girls to understand that their bodies are not their own.”
Even though I know it can happen to anyone, I’m always amazed when a celebrity comes forward with a story of sexual abuse. So many of us hide the things that have happened to us so let’s take a moment to appreciate the strength and will it must’ve taken for the lovely and talented Vanessa Williams to open up about her experience.
Dating abuse is a reality not often discussed when the topic turns to domestic violence. Adults tend to dismiss the social interactions of preteens and teens as puppy love—immature and unequal to the romantic relationships between adults. Well, did you know that one out of three adolescent girls has been a victim of verbal, physical, or emotional abuse from someone they dated? And nearly half of teenage girls know someone that is dealing with dating abuse. What you don’t know about your kid’s relationship with their boyfriend or girlfriend could be the makings of a life or death situation.
I am a strong proponent of self-defense. Anybody who threatens me or god-forbid my child better expect to be met with brutal force. The principle of self-defense is so deeply engrained in me that I think if I had come of age in the seventies I would’ve been a member of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. But I am a child of the eighties and nineties. Groups built around an ideology of self-defense are limited to separatist militia, the US military, and the National Rifle Association (NRA). I have allergies so I’m not moving into some bunker in the middle of the woods with a bunch of stinking men. Militias are out. I’m not the “take orders” type so the US military is out. And that leaves the NRA, which given their public and political record isn’t an option.
Culture can be described as the values, knowledge, and behavior that a group of people generally have in common. Rape culture is therefore the values, knowledge, and behavior shared by rapists and rape facilitators.
Rape culture is as disgusting a phenomenon as I’ve ever seen. It’s one of those things that makes me want to find refuge on a secluded island away from all the disgusting idiots that make me consider becoming a homicidal maniac. So, please believe me when I tell you that I’m seething as I write this post.
I am six years old, lying across my mother’s lap on the sofa watching the soaps. We love our soap operas. Tonight it’s Knot’s Landing and I’ve just learned a new word.
“Mommy, what’s rape?”