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?
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.
- There is an entire subset of pornography that depicts men violently and degradingly raping women. This is household viewing. Regular men are pleasuring themselves while taking in these visuals.
- Hollywood still keeps most of their complex, interesting roles for men. Women are either fighting with other women over a man. Waiting for a man. Needing a man.
- Sex trafficking is not only a developing country issue; it’s a developed country issue. Of the 32 billion dollars the trafficking industry makes, 15.5 billion comes from industrialized nations.
- “Violence against women causes more death and disability for women and girls between the ages of 15 and 44, than do cancer, traffic accidents, malaria and war combined.”
- When a woman with a degree turns 59, it is estimated that she will have lost out on approximately $800,000 throughout her working years from the wage gap.
- The church at large is sadly still telling women it’s God’s will that women submit to men. You cannot deny that this long-entrenched mindset not only keeps women vulnerable, but continually offers men too much power.
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 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:
>> The brave victim’s powerful letter. It breeds compassion and understanding.
Watch & Share
>> This video on consent.
>> RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network) gives 93 cents of every dollar to helping toward helping survivors.