Rape, Injustice, and Gender Inequality Didn’t Start Monday

woman

I got drunk on my birthday. Really drunk. Drunker than I will ever be again. A bunch of girls went out with me to celebrate in Costa Rica. It happened to be free champagne night. Plus I wore an obnoxiously tall celebratory birthday hat, which brought even more free champagne.

The wine with dinner followed by mimosa-type drinks followed by more bottles of champagne than I can remember and maybe a few shots left me intoxicatingly drunk. It was the best of times.

I threw up until 2pm the next day. It was the worst of times.

I wonder, though – if a man had raped me that night, would they say it’s my fault? Would they give him 6 months because they wouldn’t want prison to be too severe?

gender inequality

I’m sick and tired of people telling me, “Taylor, leave this whole women’s equality thing alone. There aren’t any more problems in America.” “You’re searching for problems where there are none.”

Last year, I wrote a blog arguing that rape culture is proof that gender inequality is still a problem in this country, the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Countless women I have met know the effects of rape culture intimately. Yet we are supposed to smile pretty and stay ladylike. Don’t mention that there’s a problem or otherwise we’re “Feminazis.”

I’m over ladylike. I’m mad.

I’m glad other people are mad right now too. When a young man gets 6 months in prison for raping a woman, that’s not the land of the free and the home of the brave. That’s the land of the abusive chauvinist and the home of the cowardly.

But this injustice problem didn’t start a couple days ago with one bad judge, a rapist, a shitty father, a brave victim, and two heroic reporters. This is a problem happening every day. 

Don’t get me wrong – I’m thrilled to see people getting involved and speaking out all over social media. But I’m afraid this outrage is one in a long line of internet frenzies that fizzle out in a week. Like Starbucks Christmas cups and gorillas at a zoo.

I fear this fizzling out because injustice did not only happen to The Standford Victim, it happens to you. It happens to your sister. Your friend. Your niece. It happened yesterday. It will happen tomorrow.

This particular act of sexual violence and the subsequent lack of justice is not an isolated anomaly. It’s a common symptom of our culture. Worldwide and in the United States.

gender inequality

Go ahead and tell me that feminism isn’t necessary. Go ahead and tell me we don’t have a problem. Keep your head blissfully in the sand.

Let me remind you, this isn’t about man-bashing. It was two men, after all, who took the time to stop and investigate when they saw Brock Turner raping his victim. They tackled him and kept him until the police came. These men are heroes. They should be respected and celebrated. Just like all good men.

When people try to silence feminism’s work to bring justice to women worldwide because they think men are getting too much of a beating from it, they start sounding like that judge. The judge who gives a rapist 6 months because he’s worried about the “severe impact” jail time will have on him.

Wake up.

Wake up women and demand your personhood be acknowledged by our legal system, government, media, churches, and society. Speak your truth. Tell your stories.

Wake up men and stand together with the other half of humankind. Because right now they live in a world where too many drinks doesn’t just mean a hangover like it does for you, it could mean rape.

Here are a few proactive steps you can take:

Read

>> The brave victim’s powerful letter. It breeds compassion and understanding.

>> My post of resources helping you to stay informed on women’s issues.

Watch & Share

>> This video on consent.

Sign

>> This petition to get the judge who sentenced the rapist to 6 months taken off the bench.

Donate

>> RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network) gives 93 cents of every dollar to helping toward helping survivors.

20 thoughts on “Rape, Injustice, and Gender Inequality Didn’t Start Monday

  • June 8, 2016 at 6:29 am
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    I love this post and I love you for it! Yes, yes, yes to all of this.

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    • June 8, 2016 at 1:25 pm
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      Thanks so much, girl. <3

      Reply
  • June 8, 2016 at 9:57 am
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    Thank you for writing this article! Your bullets about the other issues that contribute to gender inequality and injustice are especially well-worded.

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    • June 8, 2016 at 1:25 pm
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      Thank you for your encouragement!

      Reply
  • June 8, 2016 at 4:30 pm
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    If you have access to Netflix, you should watch the documentary called “The Hunting Ground”, if you haven’t already. My blood was boiling the whole time.

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    • June 10, 2016 at 8:46 am
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      I have seen that movie. Great suggestion. I had the same reaction!

      Reply
  • June 9, 2016 at 9:37 am
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    “Taylor, leave this whole women’s equality thing alone. There aren’t any more problems in America.” “You’re searching for problems where there are none.” – Are the people who are saying these things men?? Ugh. I can’t even. I don’t even know where to begin.

    I was watching Ellen the other day (love that gal) and she had Hillary Clinton on… Ellen was talking about how people were telling Hillary that she should “smile more” and one (of many) of Ellen’s points was that you don’t hear anyone telling the MEN running in the election to smile more. It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of Hillary or not, Ellen’s point is so valid and something I have thought about for years.

    The entire situation with the rape at Stanford makes me sick. And now it’s coming out that the rapist lamented to the judge that peer pressure made him do it and how upset he is that he won’t be able to swim in the Olympics. UM, how about “I AM DISGUSTED AT MYSELF AND MY ACTIONS BECAUSE IT WAS WRONG AND I FEEL HORRIBLE TO WHAT I DID TO ANOTHER PERSON.” ?!?!?

    I have to stop here because this would be a novel long and everything you said in this post is completely on point. THANK YOU for talking about it. We NEED to talk about these things and to never stop.

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    • June 9, 2016 at 9:41 am
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      (I wanted to clarify, in my 1st paragraph haha, that I would imagine BOTH men and women say those things… it’s men who don’t go through it and don’t understand the gravity of it, and it’s women who have – for all intensive purposes – have given up even trying. We must never give up.)

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      • June 10, 2016 at 8:48 am
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        Amen to that!

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    • June 10, 2016 at 8:48 am
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      Oh goodness. Yes to all of this. Such a true point about Hillary. The only criticism she should receive is the same sort of criticism her male peers receive = policy criticism, values criticism. Not her smile. Or her outfit. Or her weight. Or her sex appeal. For crying out loud!

      His appeal to the judge shows his lack of remorse and even understanding at what he did. It’s so sad. So disturbing. So angering.

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  • June 10, 2016 at 12:28 pm
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    So extremely well said. And that statistic on violence against women is absolutely appalling. I’ve been reading the comments on all the posts I’ve read about this and I so have to agree with the criticism towards Hillary. all politics aside. And the whole, “woman card” fiasco… Like, Trump seriously thinks “playing the woman card” is an advantage?! What world does he live in?!

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    • June 10, 2016 at 12:30 pm
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      What I mean about agreeing with the criticism is that it’s absurd that she gets the comments like, “Smile more” and about her weight/looks/clothes that men don’t get. And before she even ran, when Chelsea had her kid someone actually made a comment about how she could be President and a grandmother. Excuse me? I’m sure they don’t care if a male President has a grandchild…

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  • June 11, 2016 at 5:36 am
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    The statistics are frightening. And while I understand that parents need to teach their sons to respect women, treat them properly, NOT to take advantage of them – I only have daughters. And the state of the rape culture of our world today bloody frightens me for them. I don’t *want* to have to teach them to hold their keys in their hand whenever they’re walking so they can get into their car faster. I don’t want to have to teach them to watch what they drink because a guy who drinks isn’t going to be held responsible for *his* actions. I want them to live in a world where men and women are equals, where anyone who does something atrocious to another human being is properly punished, and where everyone is held accountable for their actions regardless of whether they are a promising young athlete.
    How do we get there….and will it be in the next ten years? I doubt it. So I’m left wondering how best to protect my girls from being sexually assaulted at any point in their lives.

    Reply
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  • June 13, 2016 at 7:47 am
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    Thank you for this great post. I have sons and daughters and I’ve worked hard to teach them all that “No,” means NO. I love that video, and made my teenage sons watch it a while ago. Thirty years ago I applied for a job in rape counseling and wanted to start a program that sent male role models into elementary school to teach “no means no.” I didn’t get the job, but I still think that is what needs to happen.

    When I read that father’s statement, I felt like he should be held accountable as an accessory to rape. The way he raised his son is part of the reason why his son is a rapist.

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    • June 13, 2016 at 9:43 am
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      I couldn’t agree with you more. Good job for being such a great parent!

      Reply
  • June 20, 2016 at 9:19 am
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    I cannot stress enough that this topic needs to be talked about ALL THE TIME and not just when a single occurrence is publicized. Thank you.

    Reply

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