01 April 2007

sexual assault awareness month

begins today. yet another month dedicated to raising awareness that should be a year round endeavor, but still clearly needed. i'm. in.

i'll start by pointing you towards my girl, sicliy sue. she has an enormous amount of information and links compiled over at her place - specifically about rape - she is also a great source of inspiration to me and one of my oldest and dearest friends. i'am proud of her, beyond words.

the statistics seem to hold that sexual assault crimes are dropping, but who can say how many never get reported? i didn't. how many are told that nothing will be done to help them and give up after the (in)justice system put in place to protect them fails?

the national sexual violence resource center coordinates this effort, though i'm sad to report that there doesn't appear to be anything happening in my neck of the woods. i'll need to get on that. i should've done so sooner.

i find it interesting that there isn't more of a war on this kind of terrorism that plagues our culture and society. terrorism is terrorism.

here is one of sicily's older posts - one of MANY - that deserves a second read. i think her stickers are a great action for the month as well:

After my rape I wanted my voice to be heard. It is important to talk about rape. It is very important to call out the injustices we see and never stand for the mistreatment of women that have become commonplace.
And it is very important to look at what ideas mold the rapist mentality. We must work to call the norm of misogynistic attitudes and behaviors into question. We must look at our families, friends, and the media. Degrading women seems to be quite accepted these days. People also think that rape happens when a man jumps out of the bushes….but the truth is that about 80% of rapes are committed by someone you know….or by someone who met you in a trusting frame mind. Many rapes are drug facilitated these days. The coward rapist doesn’t have to beat you in to submission because he has disabled your ability to even fight back. These are tough cases when the get to go to court. The Jury is saturated with myths that it isn’t rape if he didn’t jump out of the bushes and rape and beat her.

Check out this UK Site, Truth About Rape, They show postcards that were developed by the campaign to make clear the truth about rape in an imaginative and thought-provoking way.



Truth: Men are responsible for whether they rape or not.


I have thought of 3 ways to help stop rape:

#1 Talking about it to everyone. Young and old. Most people are uncomfortable with the topic but awareness is the only way to incite change. They need to know to protect themselves. We need them to understand in order to have educated juries. We need our young girls to understand what rape is. Young girls without an understanding of a respectful, loving, and healthy sexual relationship….may not be able to grasp that they were raped. Even when it happened to me in my 30’s…. I sat in shock in the hospital staring at a police officer and a wall of pamphlets on rape…I couldn’t imagine I had been raped. The denial was so deep. I didn’t want it to have happened but it did. Anytime anyone forces sex on you with out your consent it is rape. He doesn’t have to “finish” If a man forces his penis inside you and you don’t want that …it is rape. If you have been drinking and/if your were drugged….and you couldn’t move or you were not conscious and someone was pushing himself inside you…you were raped. You cannot just chalk it up to a bad sexual experience. The message you may hear in your head…to call it a bad sexual encounter…. is the voice of our culture. That voice of our culture is degrading to women and its message of dehumanizing women moves undetected in a desensitized society… and it tells us that we are not that important…. and that anyone who wants to can push his power or his sex on you ….and you have no say in the matter. DO NOT ALLOW this world to tell you it isn’t a big deal. IT IS A HUGE PROBLEM. You are important and you have rights. You shouldn’t have to take this… or shove it down into your broken heart…you should scream and yell say “This is wrong!!!” One thing that needs to be done away with is the myth that the rapist is in the bushes. That does happen sadly but most rapes happen from someone near you in a place you thought you would have been safe.

#2 Report your rape. No matter how scary and hard it is to do. Encourage your friends to feel comfortable talking to you if they are ever raped. Then help them find the strength to report it. The justice system needs to see the staggering numbers and reality of rape. Also you can save another victim from being raped by stopping your rapist. Most rapists are serial rapists. Also note: Never let a police officer sway you away from pressing charges. They are often good intentioned but desensitized. Never let them tell you won’t have a chance in court…and that you should just get along with healing. Healing is important but so is justice. The way the crime of rape is handled in the real world is NOTHING like it is on TV. They don’t seem to care that much…No one jumps in the police car and hits the lights in a rush to bring him down…No one gets DNA back in 24 hours. These things take weeks, months, and years and they system is tired of the overwhelming amount of offenders they should track down. Never let the prosecution tell you they aren’t going to prosecute. They often brush off rape case because they are difficult to try and the sex crimes prosecution is overwhelmed with cases. They expect you to be too sad and exhausted to fight them. They may try to take advantage of your delicate and tired emotional state. BUT… Keep pressing them. Keep calling them . Keep emailing them. Demand answers to your questions. Demand the justice you deserve. You deserve to be heard. You deserve your day in court. You deserve justice. Don’t go away quietly. Ask who is making this decision. Ask to speak to someone above them. While most prosecutors are usually very strong, kind, and decent people who want to help you…don’t trust that they are always acting with your best interest in mind. They may take other things into mind and cloud the issue that you were raped and deserve to have your day in court. Your rapist should not walk free to rape another because an office was too busy. Sadly it can be difficult to press charges but you should. If you don’t feel strong enough to deal with the system ask a strong advocate or a friend to help you. You need someone relentless and smart. Also don’t worry about the repercussions for him. I used to worry about what his sentence would be. I couldn’t calculate in my mind what a fair punishment would be for what he did to me. I realized it is not up to me to decide that. If I am lucky he will be judged by a jury of his peers and by a judge. He must be exposed for what he is and for what he did to me. I never want him to be able to hurt another woman. What needs to be done here is for the victims to lean on the justice system. We also need stronger laws around the rape kit process at the hospitals. Any victim who was drinking or had any confusion… or issues with being conscious MUST have a urine analysis for rape drugs. The hospitals and nurses need to take more responsibility to protect the victim. It the victim is confused or not sure if they were drugged…the hospital needs to test them for the drug. It must be mandatory. I am working on getting this enacted in to law. I am sure I was drugged and I was at the hospital in time and they tested my urine for pregnancy and then threw my urine away. UNFORGIVABLE!!!!!

#3 Question the things you see and point out the perverse degradation of women and children. If you see something offensive call it out. If you see an offensive act in person call it out especially if someone is being attacked. If some nasty pervert on the street says disgusting things to you. Call it out… if you can while continuing to ensure your safety. If you see something degrading to women on TV… write to the show or to the Station. If you see it in your friends….question them and call it out! If you find an on line predator call it out. You can go to www.cybertipline.com and report people who pose a danger to children.

I have created stickers on regular 2" x 4" labels (Avery standard size 18163) that anyone can print out on their own for use. There are two labels. I put the “Stop Degrading Women” label on the offensive thing itself…like the playboy silhouette stickers. Why do men feel it is ok to drive around with a sticker of a woman (on their cars) with her body parts displayed? You don’t seem women driving around with stickers of silhouettes of men with erections!!! I put the “Stop Degrading Women” sticker anywhere I want to actually.

I usually put the “Report Your Rape” in women’s bathrooms. Sometimes I will cover an entire block of public restrooms…especially in an area with lots of bars. It can’t be considered graffiti or destruction of property because they can peel off (with a little effort)

I was also molested as a child. I have survived attempted rapes. I was the victim of a stalker. My neighbor was raped and murdered. It is a scary world of sexual predators but if we work to bring these monsters to justice…and choose to shed light on the issues….we can make things change….if even for only one child or one woman or one man.

So I just gave you ways to take action! Print out some stickers and use them.
Share it with the people you love and get the message out to the world...that these crimes will not be encouraged or tolerated!!
Empower yourself!


and by the way,

Labels: , ,


FAIR USE NOTICE: This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We have posted it here in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific, social justice and other issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The material in this site is provided for educational and informational purposes only.