A few years ago I met a man I didn't know well for "drinks." He was visiting L.A. on business, and we decided to meet at the restaurant in the hotel where he was staying. As excited as I was to meet him, I was also on deadline, so I told him that I could meet him after I left set, but that I needed to finish an article as soon as I arrived at the hotel, before we met. He assured me that he would find a place at the hotel for me to work without interruption. When I arrived however, he notified me that he hadn't been able to secure an office space for me, but that I could work in his room, and that he would give me the sole key to the room. I declined, telling him, "If something happens to me, everyone's gonna say, 'Why did you go into a stranger's hotel room in the first place?'"
I realize that the statement is problematic not just because it's true, but because I was more concerned about how people would view my actions than the actions of my attacker. I soberly concluded that I had been conditioned to think about my culpability in a crime against me instead of anger at the person who actually committed the crime.
This is what it's like to be a woman in the U.S. today - always looking behind yourself when you go for a run, not running at night, not running with headphones, not dressing too "seductively," not walking in an alley alone - because, if something tragic does happen to you, you will be blamed and questioned for not being smart enough, wise enough, or on guard enough.
I'm tired of always being on guard, of planning my outings based on the availability of parking and the likelihood of someone (usually a man) being able to walk me to my car.
Women are taught to do this to take care of ourselves, but the truth is that three out of four rapes are perpetrated by someone the woman knows, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. It's her friend, her neighbor, her date, the cute guy from the gym. When she's with him, her guard is down. She's neither looking over her shoulder nor worrying about how dark it is. She feels safe, until...
@@Our brothers, our sons, our cousins, our friends are raping women. They do it because our culture encourages it, in big and small ways.@@ Here are some ways that our culture engenders rape culture.
- When we assume that a woman is lying because the man she accuses is either rich, famous, or both.
- When we look at how "pretty" the woman is to determine the likelihood of if the man in question might in fact have raped her.
- When we teach our girls to ask for permission first, yet teach our boys to say sorry later.
- When we compliment little girls on how pretty they are, but don't do the same to boys.
- When we ask a rape victim what she was wearing.
- When we ask rape victims questions like, "Well, why did you go back to his apartment?"
- When nearly every crime drama on TV shows women being raped and mutilated in nearly every episode. (Law & Order, I'm lookin' at you.)
- When we teach boys to be rough and aggressive, but teach girls to be demure and polite.
- When our favorite TV shows and movies make it seem okay when a man persists after a woman says "no" the first time.
This list is in no way exhaustive. It's just what came to mind off the top of my head. What would you add to this list?