Rape is Not a Gender Issue

October 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Can we please stop treating rape as a women vs men issue? It’s not. Yet every time I say anything about it it gets lumped in with feminism. Every time tighter laws are discussed, supporters say they’re “protecting women” as if these laws wouldn’t benefit men, when in fact men get raped too, or that they’ll “hurt men” despite the fact at a legal redefinition of rape would make it much much easier for male victims to press charges.
Do women get raped more often than men? Yes. However, rape of men is a lot more common than people realize, and it is grossly underreported.
But that’s not even my main issue with it.
A lot of the problem with rape prevention education lies with this false perception that it’s just something men do to women. So everything is focused on women preventing rape, and that approach is problematic at best, when it’s *all* you’re doing.
Lately there has been a big push to also teach men not to rape, which is a huge step forward, I’m not denying that for a moment. But it’s still extremely gendered.
We need to teach *everyone* what consent *is,* what it is *not,* and why it is so vital.
Because rape culture isn’t just about the objectification of women. It’s about the hypersexual stereotype of men. The idea that men always want it. So no one believes them when they say they didn’t. And even more insidious, they internalize it and are afraid to say no when they don’t want it, because they fear it would make them less of a man.
Women who will make a huge stink if a man touches her without permission will touch a man without a second thought.

Rape culture is everywhere, and it effects everyone. Rape prevention is not about teaching self defense classes to women. It’s about eliminating the culture that tells men that women are objects to be had, and tells women that men always want sex.
But we can’t do this in a vacuum. To eliminate our culture of rape, we must *create* a culture of consent. Consent is the key. And driving home was consent is, what it is not, why it is important, why you must have it first, and that it is always OK to not give consent or to revoke it at any time, and that that must be respected, into the minds and hearts of our society, is how we will eradicate rape culture.
It’s really very simple: only yes means yes. Regardless of gender, orientation, social status, or any other factor. So let’s drop the qualifiers.

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