Welcome to Sexual Assault Awareness Month

What have you done to combat rape culture lately?

When we get to the end of April, I hope EVERYONE can say they have done something.  If it’s big, if it’s small, it doesn’t matter.  I’m asking you, what have you done?

I’m not asking you to sign up to become a rape crisis counselor (although if you live in DC and you want to do this, DCRCC is recruiting!).  I’m not asking you to take off your shirt and march in a SlutWalk.  I’m asking you to open your eyes.  We are saturated with rape culture every day.  This month, we are trying to make people wake up and see what is happening around them, to see how big a problem this is, and to try to change it.

Call people out on rape jokes.  I’m begging you: do this.  Call people out on slut shaming.  Don’t let people get away with saying victims deserved it.  Talk to the people you love about what consent means.  Go to an event.  Share  a survivor’s story.  Do something, do anything, to help break the silence about sexual assault.

This month, I will be participating in my university’s Take Back the Night march.  I’ll also be attending a screening of The Invisible War and participating in other events on my campus.  And I’ll be here, of course, blogging.  I’ll be participating in town halls and community forums on sexual assault.  And I will 100% be taking questions, both here and on the Tumblr site, about sexual assault.

This is the thing I need people to realize: I am going to use statistics, but they won’t be 100% accurate.  They’ll be the generally accepted statistics, and I’ll try to provide sources, but recognize that rape and sexual assault are among the most under-reported crimes in the United States, and indeed in the world. We are not sure exactly how many people have been impacted by the crime of sexual assault.  The statistics we use are approximations.

They’re terrifying approximations.

Here’s one that isn’t, though, and it’s the one I’ll start this month with, because I want you to remember it, when people tell you that rape culture doesn’t exist or that rape isn’t really that prevalent.  70% of college males will admit to committing rape in anonymous surveys where the word rape is not used but the act of rape is described.  Most colleges treat rape as an infraction, rather than as a violent crime.

How many victims are never going to see justice because of this?

Open your eyes.  We are living in a culture that permits and even promotes sexual conquest at the expense of sexual safety, a culture that prioritizes the rights of perpetrators over the rights of victims.  I said this in my last post, but our culture needs to change.

I can say that all I want, and you can like this post, but at the end of the day, it’s going to take more.  So I’ll ask you again, what are you going to do?  How are you planning to fight rape culture this month?

Because the time is now.  It’s April, ladies, gentlemen and those who identify otherwise.  Brace yourselves.

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~ by Randi Saunders on April 2, 2013.

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