I’m going to write this post right now just because I need to be able to vent about something and twitter only allows me 140 characters to do so. I got in to a conversation this morning with a friend of mine about the Spring Break gang rape video that has surfaced and the more the conversation has gone on, the heavier my heart has gotten, mainly because of the males who are interjecting their opinions in to our conversation- “that’s just the way it is and nothing will change it.” And I apologize now if what I proceed to write comes across like a feminist rant but A) I am a female and B) this is something I feel strongly about. If you don’t want to read it, then don’t. (What am I evens saying? There are only like five people that read this…)
So this is what kills me- and it’s probably a moot point because it really seems like there is no solution- but it really bothers me….WHY do people think it’s okay to behave this way?
Timeout: for those who don’t know about the Spring Break video- a girl saw a news report about a video that had been found from Spring Break in PCB of a girl being gang raped on the beach while hundreds of people were standing around seeing what was happening and did nothing. The girl in the video appears to be passed out like she was drugged. The guys committing the assault are talking about they’re doing to the girl and whoever was filming even panned around the crowd, zooming in on other female’s butts, and trying to get people hype about SB. The girl in the video being raped only knows it happened to her because she recognized her tattoos in the blurred video shown on the news reports….well after she had returned home from SB.
The first time I read about this on CNN it made me sick to my stomach. How and why does something like that happen? How and why do those men doing that to a passed out girl think it’s okay? How and why did hundreds of people stand around and just let it happen? Why didn’t somebody help her, or try to stop it, or call the police? How and why has our culture come to this? I really just can’t wrap my head around it.
Is it a male vs female thing? Is it that many men feel that they’re entitled to do whatever they want when it comes to women? That isn’t a knew development…there was once a time it was acceptable to beat your wife, or have a mistress. There was once a time that women couldn’t vote, or go to school, or have a job other than waitress or secretary. I really don’t feel like that has changed very much…
Is it a cultural/societal thing? Are we raising a generation that feels like it’s okay to behave in this way? It’s acceptable to drug and assault women in public in the middle of the day, because why not? It’s on TV, in movies, in songs…I mean besides, that girl was probably wearing a bikini and had been drinking so she was obviously a slut and deserved it, right? At least that’s how people that feel like it’s okay to victim shame will tell the story. Is this sort of lifestyle being glamorized? Are people being raised to believe there is no right or wrong and no consequences for their actions? I feel like some people are…especially those with money and/or a group backing them, like a fraternity…or the people that hero worshipped Hunter Moore, a man that thought it was “okay” to post revenge porn for the world to see.
I myself have encountered behavior like this. No, I haven’t been raped, but I’ve had males on social media demand to see my boobs, or other body parts, and then proceed to call me a “fat bitch” among other things when I tell them no. I guess it isn’t my right to choose who I show my body to- like my boyfriend…I’m supposed to show it to anyone that wants to see it because that’s what they’re owed.
And here is where I will lean away from the feminist aspect of this…I do believe that there is a fine line to be crossed. Society objectifies not only women, but men also, and it does create a blurred grey area. Women cat call models and actors and drool over their hotness just as much as men do over models and actresses. Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition is no different than a Calvin Klein billboard with David Beckham in his tighty whities – BUT- the models in those magazines and on that billboard and in those TV shows/movies CHOOSE to be photographed in such a way and put on display for the public. They aren’t being forced, or drugged, and taken advantage of, in order to get those pictures.
So here’s the bottom line: it doesn’t matter what somebody is wearing, doing, or saying – nobody deserves to be treated as anything other than an equal human being. A girl is not a slut for choosing to wear a bikini on the beach and have a pina colada with her sorority sister. A girl is not a slut for wearing a sun dress and high heels. A girl does not ‘deserve’ to be raped because she’s a girl and a guy has the right to do whatever he wants to do to her.
There is a thing called “consent” and that is the big factor in these cases. If there is no consent – it is not okay.
Is there any solution to this? I don’t know. I don’t feel like there’s a solid, 100% guaranteed solution, but I do feel like we each have the ability to create our own personal solution. Men have the ability to respect women. Women have the ability to stand up for their selves, no matter what name they get called. We all have the ability to raise our children to have morals. We have to keep fighting and keep trying and keep believing and maybe, over time, we will start to see a change.
Here’s a link to a story about the Spring Break incident: http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/15/us/florida-panama-city-beach-spring-break/index.html