During the course of a heated discussion that I was moderating concerning sexual ethics I asked my eclectic group of college students a pointed question: “Would you rather be shot in the head and thus die, or be raped yet live?” There were roughly 20 students in the discussion, 10 of which were female. Each woman emphatically stated “murder” without a moment’s hesitation to the befuddlement of some of the men present.
For women, rape is the apex of fear and terror, a violation of the body and soul.
My mind started racing that night after the meeting. As a male I always seek to “fix” things, to give advice and help others avoid pain and misery. I asked myself “rape is so terrible, how can it be effectively avoided?” Filled with arrogance and misplaced zeal I started constructing a thought process; some steps that I could offer females to help them avoid rape.
Then I heard their stories.
The floodgates opened and student after student came and talked with me after that night about how they had been molested, raped and violated. Some had put themselves in compromising situations or sought to dress in immodest fashions, yet most of them had not; my preconceived notions were shattered. I was overwhelmed. As I became more entrenched in their stories, their pain and anguish I began to empathize with them on a deep level. Their tears became my tears; I began feeling their hurt, violation, shame, suffering and disdain. I became so angry, with no practical venue to get it out. I knew some of the guys who did these things and contemplated for a moment vigilante justice, seeing as the legal system just wanted to keep these girls quite when they came forward and tried to blow the whistle.
Initially I tried to look for patterns and similarities, yet as I heard their tales I realized the only consistent theme:
A man who views women as mere objects.
I became painfully aware that we live in a rape culture, a world of power, submission and secrets.
When you pull back the curtain you can see that there are many who view these girls, these women…..our women as soul less husks existing for their own pleasure and joys, as sordid as those might be. We discover that they will go to great lengths; invest time, energy, money and more to bring about their sick desires. Rape is the epitome of selfishness.
Then we find that rape isn’t just relegated to women. Little boys are being abused as well, being assaulted and broken by ones who often times should be protectors. Nobody is “safe.”
Rape has always existed, it is nothing new yet I would argue that contemporary rape is fueled by a 10 billion dollar a year industry that devalues and exploits people.
Porn rapes the soul of the user and the used and perpetuates a world of fantasy that too often times becomes reality as it shocks and tears at our morals, violating what makes us human. It reduces people to fleshy objects and liquids; steamy, filthy organisms drowning amidst the law of diminishing returns.
We see it everywhere in our contemporary media and storytelling. Rape is often used as a plot device in popular culture, meant to stir up emotions and further character development, yet sending conflicting messages as even protagonists are committing such vile acts (Alan Moore, Robert Kirkman and George R. R. Martin to name a few).
How to avoid rape?
I grew up on a farm. When I was very young I remember playing with an odd mechanical contraption with four prongs that would expand when you clutched the handle. It was lying in a box full of tiny, thick, green rubber bands. As I was playing with the apparatus, my uncle, the owner of the farm walked by and I whimsically asked him “Uncle Dan, what does this tool do?”
He laughed and calmly said “It turns a bull into steer.”
I had no idea what that meant at the time so I kept playing with the odd do-hickey and the funny green rubber bands. If only I would have been able to read the crudely scrawled label that read “castrator.”
If you rape, you should be made into a steer.
Send a message on a macro level that rape will not be tolerated, for those who rape and those who consider it. A shameful, visceral message that hits home, that causes any creature with testicles to wince and cringe.
Ask 10 guys which they would rather face, murder or castration?
I bet they pick murder.