Ok kittens, this is going to be a serious post. I know I know, not what you expect from me, but it’s been rattling around in my brain since late yesterday and I’ve just gotta get it out.
Yesterday I caught the news story about the Serena Williams rape controversy. Haven’t heard it yet? ABC News did an ok job of summing it up here. If you don’t want to read the details, here’s the short version. In a Rolling Stone interview she was asked about the Steubenville rape case where by two players from a high school football team were convicted of raping a drunk 16-year-old girl.
Her response, although taken out of context, was as follows:
“I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people.”
Here’s the thing, I see where she was going with this.
Now don’t everybody try to shank me at once, hear me out, there’s more. In today’s society, even though we all adamantly “don’t blame the victim,” I believe her comment reflects the average thought process in the average individual when they hear someone has been raped.
I watched an entire news broadcast last night where they discussed how taken out of context her comment was, and all the other things she could have said ABOUT THE VICTIM that would have been more appropriate.
But here’s my question Serena, newscasters, and society… what if she had said, “I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a group of high school boys and you’re going to get a 16 year old girl drunk like that, your parents should teach you: no means no and sexual assault is wrong.”?
Then it becomes a power anti-rape campaign platform, right?
It absolutely maddens me that in our society when it comes to rape we are so so SO focused on the victims. We are so sensitive to not saying anything that puts them in a position of blame and are walking on egg shells when discussing these crimes. But these CRIMES aren’t all about the victims. They are about the people perpetrating them.
As a very independent woman who did some really dumb shit when I was younger, I was told time and time again how to NOT put myself in dangerous situations. I took self-defense classes. I was taught how to recognize if I had been roofied. I went to the bathroom in groups, never walked in a dark alley alone at night, and most of the time did what I could to not be the drunk girl at a party that got taken advantage of.
Did the men of my generation receive the same education from their parents and society? Were they taught repeatedly not to follow a woman they were aroused by to her car? Was it beaten into their heads that just because a girl had too much to drink at a party and fell asleep in their bed that it is NOT ok to take advantage of her sexually? Were they schooled on how to not make women feel uncomfortable when alone in an elevator with them?
I think we all know the answer here. Women are raised from a young age not to be rape victims. Are we paying the same amount of attention to our young men and instilling in them the morals and values that help them to not be rapists?
I wish I knew where I was going with this argument. I only know that something is very very wrong in our culture if we continue to only look at how we can help rape victims not be victims.
What are your thoughts? I’m totally open to comments and other opinions, as I know this is both highly controversial and can be highly personal.