Wednesday, 20 March 2013

What is 'rape culture'?

Today my daughter posted a link on Facebook and the title intrigued me - ' So you're tired of hearing about 'rape culture'. It is an excellent blog that I thought is was worth re-posting. It is a very thought provoking blog that brings together many examples of what the writer feels defines rape culture and the resulting comments are almost as interesting as the article. One person commented that:

"in the case where athletes are involved, you usually see a concerted effort to defend the rapist, blame the victim, and cover up the crime. This is where I feel the “culture” part comes in. Like when OJ was found not guilty. People cheered, even though the evidence was against him, because he was a cherished, former athlete. Or when church abuse victims are threatened and ostracized for coming forward and tarnishing the reputation of a priest."

This actually speaks to the 'culture' or societal norms that are being tolerated or even embraced by groups and individuals. What is happening in a community that speaks up and defends such behaviour? More important is the question: what can we do to change it? Sometimes these issues seem so overwhelmingly large or impossible to change by yourself, that we just don't try.

Each of us can make a difference and contribute to a healthier culture, and it starts with your own thinking and your own language and what you are willing to stand by and allow to happen. I gave birth to five pretty amazing children, three girls and two boys. My first priority with them was to always teach them to be kind and to give to your community and support and defend others when needed. To be fearless when the time came to stand up and say ' STOP - this is wrong". I hope I got it right, because for me they are one more step towards positive change. They are a way to break the cycle. I believe that they ARE kind, and I believe they would make that stand. I would, and they know it, I have shown them how to do it.

So....lead by example. Don't just read about these events and think how awful they are. Make a conscious decision about how to act, talk and think in your relationships; with your children, siblings, parents, co-workers, partners, teammates. Be thoughtful. Be kind. Be THE difference.

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