3 Ways We Perpetuate Rape Culture- Yes, Even You.

Photo by Larm Rmah on Unsplash

We are dealing with a very large problem. The hashtag #metoo that started Sunday night has almost every single woman I know sharing stories I never knew about them. Or simple fact at the very least.

These statements from such strong women have moved me to tears. I then read a story on Huffington Post about The Problem With Asking Women To Say ‘Me Too’. While well written and agreeing with the overall message, there was one thing that rubbed me the wrong way.

The pressure was completely on the men needing to “stop predatory behavior.”

I am NOT saying that we as women are “asking for it” in any way. What I AM saying is that men are victims, too. Ask Terry Crews or James Van Der Beek who both shared their stories on Twitter.

I have several male friends who have confessed dark pasts to me just as my women friends have. When we only look at the women who are victims, we are only looking at half the problem.

So what is the real root of the problem? If we take away the labels… male and female, gay and straight, any race over another or any other label, we are simply pointing fingers at other people.

“It’s their fault.”

We spread the anger and hate and hurt and perpetuate more of the problem that is plaguing the world in general.

YES, people make rotten decisions sometimes, but where does that come from? ALL decisions come from our view of the world and the people in it.

Selfishness

“In every moment…we choose to see others either as people like ourselves or as objects. They either count like we do or they don’t.”
The Arbinger Institute, The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict

This mindset will affect anyone and everyone. Mindset doesn’t care about labels. Selfishness is the #1 reason for violence against another person. We are thinking only of our hurt, our needs, our wants.

Everyone else is just a means to an end. Man, woman, child, adult, family or stranger. They don’t matter more than you, and their feelings, emotions, actions or choices aren’t something worth a second thought.

Lack of Respect

“The truest form of love is how you behave toward someone, not how you feel about them.”
Steve Hall

Sex is something we do for fun. It’s enjoyable, but can be so much more than that. Sex is intimacy, sharing with someone a part of you that others don’t get to see.

If we shift our mindset to having respect for the act of sex, we would need to have respect for the person that we are with as well.

Take it a step farther and treat the act as something special and sacred, with respect not only for your partner, but for yourself as well.

Sex is not something you do to gain or earn respect. It is a way to show respect. Shifting the mindset about the act itself will affect how you view your partner as well. Both deserve respect.

Silence

“I decided it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity.”
Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope Against Hope

“Your silence will not protect you.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

This is not a topic we should be silent about. We aren’t silent (nor should we be) about racism. Why this?

We aren’t silent (nor should we be) about equality. Why this?

We aren’t silent on one topic or another. We all have something we are passionate about. Something we rant about because it makes us angry, so why are the majority silent about something that has affected their lives so deeply in one way or another?

So who do you tell? Find your advocate. Personally, I’m a fan of Honey, but there are other great organizations. Find one you trust. Share your story with them. Share with friends, share with family. Just share.

Conclusion

When the problem is this large, we are all part of the problem. Yes, some more than others, but don’t hide the blame behind a label. Find a way to help fix the problem.

Treat people with respect, less selfishness and speak up. This is the way to truly make a difference. It’s more than a hashtag.

One Last Thing…

Respecting ourselves can be difficult. Check out Paula’s Free Guide to appreciating all your quirks and flaws.

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I tell stories. I scream. I like ice cream. paulajeanferri.com

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