A very important part of the story of TRUE involves a brutal high school gang rape, the sad fact that the boys get off without a trial and the consequences the victim, Cat, will face for the rest of her life. Luckily, Cat finds a support system that consists of a group of eccentric, authentic women. Perhaps not so for the women and girls who become a statistic in the global rape epidemic. These thoughts were triggered recently by an ad that appeared in social media. I was warned by friends and editors not to write about rape as a blog post, as it might be, negative, hopeless and controversial or worse that angry men might harass me online far into the next century. CHALLENGE MET! Especially since Saturday, March 8th is International Women's Day.
Rape happens every minute around the world. It happens in cities, small towns, in rural and urban areas. It happens to children, teens, women of all ages, even grandmothers. Why? Basically females are considered lesser and weaker and therefore fair game. Researching the statistics was shocking. In England and Wales 69,000 women were rape victims last year. In S. Africa 66,000 women were raped. In the U.S. it was 89,246 cases that were reported. These statistics should be doubled or tripled as rape is grossly under reported.
An ad for Anti Rape Wear..Wearable Protection for When Things Go Wrong...popped up on one of my pages. AR Wear is the brainchild of two women from New York who supposedly received $50,000 for developing and marketing their line on a popular crowd funding site. The ad shows models wearing cute boy cut, colorful underwear. The blurb goes something like "Worried about your daughter jogging after dark? Are you a woman traveling alone in a foreign country? Staying in a big city on business?" These underwear are made of a material that can't be cut..they will not slip off easily and have a small lock at the waist band..The very fact that this product is being offered is such a pathetic reminder of the global sexual assault epidemic yet it all seems so very casual.. "Are you a woman or girl, Protect yourself now." There are other inventions. A medical worker in S. Africa (the rape capital of the world) has designed a female condom with teeth. The contraption bites down on the abductor's penis and then must be surgically removed. A group of engineering students in India have marketed a chastity type belt that gives off a hard shock, is equipped with a GPS device and dials the victim's home phone number. Want to be unattractive to potential male attackers? You can buy "hairy legs" panty hose that might turn off a would be rapist. And maybe the most outrageous, The Republican Party's new ploy, Rape Insurance..in case a woman conceives after an assault.
These concepts that are meant to protect women, fail miserably and put the total responsibility for safety on women. Yes, we need to be careful, informed, have studied some martial arts etc. but what is at the root of rape culture? The belief that it is alright to sexually assault women and girls. This primitive idea has existed since the beginning of time and must change Now! We need to educate our young people...father's need to talk to their sons..of course mother's should educate their daughters..and the fear of death or retaliation for reporting must stop. Our male dominated cultures need strong women to stand up in numbers...we deserve political representatives to back us, not take our rights away and attempt to protect the perpetrators. It happens every minute, in cities, small towns, urban areas, in the military and in families. Do what you can in your sphere of influence to change this consciousness. Stand up, speak out, even risk your level of comfort to make this planet a safe place for women now and in the future. Our children are counting on it...