As Free as a Bird

Spreading my voice on the injustices of rape culture, misogyny, and human trafficking in an effort to educate others and empower like-minded women.

Archive for the tag “date rape”

A Note to Parents

A Note to Parents

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No Slut Shaming

My policy, and it should be yours, too.

My policy, and it should be yours, too

Just because someone is sexually promiscuous, even if they truly are by society’s standards or not, does not mean they are deserving of rape or open property for someone to rape. This also does not automatically make them your open target for harassment and torment. Stop the hate.

Cyber Bullying

I can remember when I was still in middle school and no one really associated bullying with kids being mean over the internet. Instant messaging was just starting to become popular, and kids were just starting to get deep into the online world of chat rooms. I was bullied online and it was almost completely dismissed by my school’s principal.

Most schools do not handle bullying properly – even at this point in time when bullying, and suicides resulting from bullying, is at a height. Bullying has always been around, but it has migrated to the online world at a rate that has been increasing at an alarming rate. There have been many recent cases where young girls have killed themselves as a result of online torture (many of these attacks started from the girls being sexually assaulted, or exploited over the internet).

As if victim blaming isn’t enough, teens have began to use victim shaming when girls come forward to report their rapists. Rape culture online contributes to the bullying when the media and society sympathize with the rapists.

Example 1:

Rehtaeh Parsons

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Rehtaeh was raped by multiple boys at a party when she was 15, and two years later she committed suicide after being bullied relentlessly. Even though there were photos of her rape that circulated around the community the Canadian authorities pushed her case to the side. She was bullied online and harassed constantly through messaging. enduring constant torment, she was made to feel as if no one believed her, until finally taking her own life. One thing is certain about this case: Rehtaeh was bullied and it resulted in her suicide.

Example 2:

Audrie Plott

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Audrie Plott was assaulted, when she was only 15, by three boys while she was passed out. Photos of the assault circulated online. Because of this Audrie ended her own life. She considered her life to be ruined; she was humiliated by the posting of the pictures online. The images went viral, but Audrie was not alive long enough to endure the torture that would ensue after the pictures were passed around online. She killed herself eight days after her rape.

Example 3:

Jane Doe of Steubenville

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Jane Doe was raped by two football players in Steubenville, Ohio. They were apparently sent to assault Jane Doe by her ex-boyfriend, who posted online saying that Jane Doe would regret breaking up with him. She was then harassed endlessly and threatened online by her peers, and even complete strangers, through Twitter and other social media outlets online. Here are some examples of the bullying she has endured:

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These are classic examples of rape culture, victim blaming, victim shaming, and slut shaming. As if the mental and emotional trauma from the online bullying wasn’t enough, some girls, as you can see above, threatened physical harm to Jane Doe. The cousin of one of the rapists threatened to kill Jane Doe for making her cousin cry in court.

Example 4:

Amanda Todd

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Amanda Todd was not sexually assaulted, in fact she was known for being promiscuous. She showed her breasts online to a stranger, who then stalked her relentlessly, even after she moved schools several times. Her bully would follow her where ever she went, posting the pictures online for everyone to see at each school she attended. She was harassed by her peers constantly. While she may not have been perfect, but nothing can excuse what her bully/bullies did to her. She was harassed, and she killed herself because of it. Amanda was slut shamed. The fact is that it is no one’s business to judge another person’s sex life or sexual preferences. No one deserves the torture that she received.

*Note: Amanda’s case is going to carry me into an article on slut shaming.

If you would like to read about similar stories about bullying, victim blaming, victim shaming, slut shaming, and sexual assault injustices, you can read about it at the following links:

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/03/torringtons-rape-case/63386/

http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2013/05/social-media-gone-horribly-bad-teens-post-rape-on-facebook/

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/05/13/2003771/no-you-cannot-substitute-sex-rape/?utm_content=buffer21e93&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=Buffer&mobile=nc

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2321447/Braylee-Rice-Teen-girl-hangs-middle-school-bleachers-necktie-class-family-says-bullied.html

The point is that we need to do something about this, because these cases keep happening.

How to End Rape

How to Prevent Rape

Real Men Get Consent

More on consent

Actually, this diagram even made me feel better. Why is it that victims are made to feel as if we made the wrong decision, we made poor decisions, made him feel it was okay, let things go too far, wore the wrong outfit, etc? The RAPIST is the one who is wrong, made poor decisions, and acted inappropriately. It is never okay to take advantage, no matter what the girl may say, do, or how she may dress. If she can’t say yes, that means no. If she said yes to one thing, that isn’t saying yes to everything. Women are not property, we have the right to say no. We have every right to expect to be respected. Real men get consent.

We Believe You

Finally, someone did what I have been trying to figure out how/what to do for so long. Tell Jane Doe she is strong, that we believe her, and that she is not alone. She’s my hero, because she stood up to say what even I had no courage to say. I AM INNOCENT and it was NEVER MY FAULT.

Sunday Secret

Sunday Secret

Here is a postcard that was on PostSecret this Sunday. I know it is hard for many people to understand how/why someone would blame themselves for their own rape. The best way to understand is to ask. They may feel ashamed or as if they did something to cause the person to think that it was okay to take advantage. They may also feel as if they made poor decisions or that they could have prevented the rape. I am still struggling with this, and I know it can be a comfort to know that people understand you, that they hear you, rather than trying to give you advice from a perspective that does not understand. We are never at fault – THEY should have known better, should have made better decisions, should have prevented themselves from taking advantage, should have been respectful, should have been better.

 

Who Are You?

This gets a little rough, but it is important for people to see what can happen when a fun night turns into a nightmare. The point is that many sexual assaults could be prevented if people were more observant or went with their gut feelings. If you see a girl who has clearly had too much to drink with someone who seems to be force feeding her more drinks and taking her somewhere she may not want to go, speak up for her. It is better to be wrong and offend someone than to be right and a girl ends up assaulted. Alcohol IS a date rape drug. You can be totally compromised and debilitated by alcohol alone. I consider it rape if a man takes advantage of a woman who is too intoxicated to give consent. Informed consent is key. Their is no honor in taking advantage, that is called being a coward. Again, you could prevent this from happening. Speak up if something is telling you to speak up. Make yourself heard and stand up for what is right.

 

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