We Must Stop Normalizing Rape Culture
October 18th, 2018
TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT
Now more than ever, politically-minded teenagers such as myself are being forced to confront the calamitous reality of our nation. We are growing up surrounded by the undeniable presence of rape culture, even in places where we would least expect to find it. Our dinner table discussions revolve around new allegations of rape and sexual assault against politicians, actors, and bosses. Our Instagram and Twitter feeds are jam-packed with the newest information about a rape case, news that we have become accustomed to hearing.
It has become normalized for us. I’m not the slightest bit surprised when yet another public figure is accused of sexual assault, and for that I blame society. Society is forcing that ideology down our throats. I check myself every time. Every single time I’m not surprised, I question myself and my conscience, and I know that I shouldn’t create normality in this, but I can’t help it. Of course it feels normal when it’s all we see, when it’s all we hear.
But the reason I’m writing this is to make sure that we comprehend the preposterousness of the situation, that we realize this isn’t something that’s normal. This can’t be something that we’re ok with. We need to protect ourselves and our friends, sisters, brothers from accepting this blatantly unacceptable reality. We need to teach the boys in our lives that they can’t rape or sexually assault anyone, get a green pass, and live the rest of their lives free of consequences or guilt.
The #TimesUp and #MeToo movements are crucial to disabling rape culture to continue on so rapidly, but while they are massively important and have helped so many to come forward and make change, they should not have existed in the first place. We shouldn’t have ever had to fight rape and sexual assault the way we are being forced to by our government right now. If they don't want to make change, it's all up to us. But because normalization of nonconsensual sexual relations is something that has been implemented in our lives, we as a society, we as a generation of Changemakers must make a change, we must dissent. It's our duty.
I want to end by saying that voting for candidates who want to make change as a society and a government is one of the most important things you can do. If you are above 18 and are a citizen of the United States, please make sure that you are registered to vote! Then, turn up at your poll to vote for candidates who are passionate about believing survivors and ending rape culture. If you aren’t 18 yet (like me!) or can’t vote in the United States, phonebank, knock on doors to get out the vote, register voters, spread the word about reliable candidates, or volunteer at campaign offices. We need to make sure that this cycle doesn’t continue, and we have the power to do just that.