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.