Last night I read something on Facebook that made me indescribably angry. In a poorly thought out status, a mutual acquaintance posted the following:
I re-read the post what seemed like 100 times. I was completely stunned, but thought I’d give this guy the chance to redeem himself. Maybe he was just inarticulately stating that reading about rape is a really horrific thing and if it didn’t happen then we wouldn’t have it in the news so often. His response (which, along with the whole status and all my comments, has now been deleted) said that yes, he agrees that it’s an awful thing, but that having it in the news all the time is unnecessary and ‘getting on his nerves’.
Now let’s make this clear. This guy is not endorsing rape, and he is not an evil misogynist who thinks that a short skirt is ‘asking for it’. He genuinely just believes that it’s not necessary to report this subject so frequently in the news. He is so wrong. Along with all the other disgusting things that happen in this world like murder and famine, it is absolutely essential that the media covers these topics for so many reasons. In the case of rape, we must continue to talk about it so that women of all ages are aware of the dangers posed to them, wherever they live, however old they are, whatever time of day it is. We must make sure that our children grow up to know that this is an evil act and that it is wrong to do it, encourage it, or ignore the fact that it’s happened. We must make sure that communities support rape victims and that foreign countries know that the world will not tolerate it being used as a weapon or a punishment.
I could have ignored this post on Facebook (and as a result I have deleted the guy and will no longer be associating with him as his follow-up comments were just as ignorant). I’m all for free speech, but this isn’t just an opinion, this is inherently wrong. If a well-educated, seemingly decent human being who has been brought up in a vibrant and tolerant society (and, ironically, has been published in national newspapers on unrelated subjects) can post this kind of status, where does that leave us? Is this a case of a man just purely misunderstanding the threatening position a woman can end up at any point? It must be hard to realise that women must always be alert; that they walk down every street and get onto every tube and look around them to scope out who is sat next to them or who is walking behind them. It’s not always walking down a dodgy alleyway or coming home late at night that triggers this instinct – it’s knowing that rape is still so prevalent in all walks of society, and that predominantly it happens to women.
We must continue to talk about this subject in the media and maybe one day, rape will actually stop happening. That would be really nice.