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Rape Culture – If We’re All Being Honest About Sexual Assault

By Jessamyn Brewer

2016 left us with a president who thinks his stardom leaves him entitled to a woman’s “p****y.” 2017 gave us #metoo. I am leaving 2018 with this article.

I’m going to be honest with you because at this point, my experience or any one of my friends’ experiences won’t be looked at as a shock anymore. It won’t surprise you. You’ll read this while being so disgustingly jaded. So, here’s something you should know: I can confidently say that 90 percent of my women friends have been raped. Ninety percent. I can also confidently say that 85 to 100 percent of each of those rapes have been unreported. Get this, most of those rapes were talked about afterward with a sense of frustration — with a simultaneous understanding that this is just the world that we live in.  It happens. We are statistics. We move on with our lives.

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Illustration by Eden Dyer

You ask us, “Well, if it’s so bad, don’t you think you’d report it?” No. It might not make sense to someone who doesn’t have to live with this fear in the their mind, but sometimes in situations like this, victims wonder, “Did I deserve it?” “Was I leading him/her on?” “Was it bad enough to report?” “Was an intoxicated “yes” a real yes?” And finally… “Will anyone believe me?” I’ve been there. People I love have been there.

I work in an elementary school. I love the kids I work with, all of them. They’re unique, smart, playful. They astound me every day. With this in mind, I still can’t escape the statistics. The thought that statistically speaking, some day, these kids have high risk of being both victims and assaulters shakes me. One day I cried on the way home from work, mired in these thoughts.

It may feel as if you can’t make a difference, but there’s a place to start, groundwork to be done. We can start to diminish rape culture by speaking out against rape jokes. Disassociate from friends who compare the atrocity of rape jokes on the radio with Nike’s partnership with Colin Kaepernick. Teach your kids about consent — teach your friends about consent if they still need it.

Don’t make make this casual. Don’t think, “This is just the world that we live in.” it’s time to act.

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