Sexual Violence & Sexual Abuse Awareness Week
In the ninth in this series, for Sexual Violence & Sexual Abuse Awareness week, Emily recaps the story so far.
This is the ninth in my series on ending rape culture. And as it’s Sexual Violence and Sexual Abuse Awareness week, I thought I would recap for you the story so far.
In part one, I shared my dream to end rape culture within a generation. It’s a simple dream. Rape is a choice, it is made by people who either know they are doing wrong and don’t want to get caught (so let’s make sure they know they’ll be caught), or by people who can’t admit to even themselves that they are doing wrong and convince themselves that what they are doing is normal (so let’s make sure they know it’s not). Rape is a choice, and it could end tomorrow if men chose not to rape.
In part two, I defined what I mean by rape culture. Wikipedia defines rape culture as asetting in which rape is pervasive and normalised due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality. I shared with you the shocking, yet true, facts of the pervasiveness of rape around the world. I shared with you that the WHO asserts that 1 in 3 women will be raped in their lifetime, worldwide. I shared with you that in the UK, Rape Crisis asserts that 1 in 5 women experience rape or sexual assault; in the US, RAINN asserts that 1 in 6 women have been raped. The UK Office of National Statistics estimates there are 85,000 rapes of women in England & Wales every year – meaning that a woman is raped every 6 minutes. In the US, RAINN estimates it to be one every two minutes.
I shared with you my definition of rape culture being a culture (society) where it is common to be raped, common to be disbelieved, common for the perpetrator to get away with it. I shared with you my definition for when we have ended rape culture: when it is no longer common to be raped, no longer common to be disbelieved, no longer common for the perpetrator to get away with it.
In part three I invited you to start noticing the little things around you, the ones that help create a culture where women are demeaned, objectified, talked over, used, ignored, minimised and silenced. Because rape culture hides in plain sight, for a while, it hides, it looks like everything else. But once you start seeing it, you see it everywhere.
In part four I invited you to start with a whisper, and become comfortable with questioning the existence of those little things. What is considered normal is only considered normal when it is not questioned. So I suggested that you first acknowledge its wrongness within yourself. When you feel ready, you can bring the wrongness out into the world by sharing it.
In part five, I asked you to become a survivor ally. Because you do know someone that this has happened to, and if you think you don’t, it’s only because they don’t yet have proof that you’re a safe haven for their truth. As you and the rest of society brings rape culture out of the shadows and shines a light on it, and says this is wrong, then survivors will feel more and more ready to share their stories. And you and the rest of society will realise this is an epidemic. And action will be taken to end it.
In part six, I shared how you could be more than an ally, how you can be the friend your friend needs you to be when they tell you their story. Because so many well-meaning friends do get it wrong.
In part seven I shared why negative behaviours can often be positive and how those coping mechanisms that make you worry about your friend, are actually ways to survive. I asked you to have compassion and understanding for those negative behaviours.
And in part eight I talked about recovery and whether it is possible (it is).
It’s Sexual Violence & Sexual Abuse Awareness week. You’re reading this, so you’re aware. Please, spread the awareness further. Thank you.