5/28/2011

Die rape myths die. Sexual assault is not ok!

Maybe I've been in a bad mood lately but some of the comments that I'm hearing are starting to get to me. The other day I was in the checkout line at the grocery when I really had to bite my tongue.

There were a couple guys in line ahead of me who were talking about sexual assault. Their discussion is the recent allegations made against the former leader of the IMF by a hotel maid. Specifically, they were talking about girls 'had sex and cried rape later' and 'why rape a b###h if you can buy it'.

Their conversation came to a screeching halt when I asked if either of them had a daughter or girlfriend. They got my point and I changed lines.

So much is wrong with this conversation that it's hard to know where to start.  Thinking about it makes my blood pressure rise.

First is the myth that rape allegations may often be untrue or in retaliation. An old figure that's been kicked around says that false rape allegations are only made about 2% of the time. I couldn't find anything to substantiate or deny that claim.

What I do know is that rape victims have a horrible time in coming forward. Many of the women that I've worked with would have rather had their arm cut off than to report what happened. A lot of fear is associated with reporting.

The fear of being disbelieved (as mentioned above), the fear of being ostracized, losing friends or a job or hurting family members are all part of it. But, so is the fear that even if a victim comes forward nothing will be done to the perpetrator.

Another part of the conversation that bothers me is the idea that it's ok to buy and sell women. We are not commodities that can be bought, used and thrown away.

Then, there's the whole 'b###h' mindset. Nothing gives one person a right to treat another as anything less than an equal. Both of the participants in this conversation felt secure enough to talk about their opinions in public. This tells me that they expected others to agree with them or to at least allow the conversation to proceed without interruption.

Well, so much for that idea. I think that I rained on their parade.

Every woman that these guys were talking about is someone's daughter, mother, sister or friend. Neither guy could give me a straight answer when I asked if they have a daughter or girlfriend. Both looked away and shuffled their feet. They paid for their items and hustled away from the checkout.

It bothers me that old rape myths were being talked about in an open grocery store. It also bothers me that no one else spoke up. Nothing was said then or maybe ever.

Should silence be taken as quiet agreement that rape myths are real? We should all ask ourselves that question and decide what the answer will be.


Personally, I choose to not be silent.I believe that no one has the right to hurt another person. No one should ever be subjected to sexual assault or any form of abuse.

It's time to talk about it so we can dispel the rape myths that some people still hold onto.  These are the conversations that we need to be having in the grocery store and everywhere. Silence is not ok. Neither is rape and neither are the attitudes that surround it.


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1 comment:

  1. So glad that you spoke up and did so in a manner that got them thinking. Perhaps they actually learned something, although by the sound of the conversation they have an awful lot to learn. Good for you, Gayle! rcj

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