Dr. Jackson Katz: Rape is a men’s issue – while it happens to women, it is men that commit it (the majority of rapes). Men need to own that reality and respond to it. Dr. Jackson Katz in a podcast at the University of Montana, touched a nerve (PLEASE listen to it). He’s right. We’ve been so trained to accept the current language, that even when we feel we are being sensitive to the situation, we blindly perpetuate the issue. We don’t correct the language, we don’t question the focus of the statements.
Women are not at fault for being raped. They are victims. Period. Full stop. What they are wearing, if they were drinking, what they were doing. Nothing excuses a man for not receiving full consent. Men are not neanderthals. Men have self control. Expect more of men. Men, expect more of yourselves. Hold yourselves to a moral code, expect it of everyone.
The Steubenville rape convictions Sunday, March 17th, 2013 have forced this issue into the spotlight once again. While 2 young men have been convicted, there was a much larger, possibly more sinister force at work. Indifference. How could adults possibly ignore and actively attempt to cover up a rape? How could a football coach possibly think that they were qualified on any level, to respond to a rape allegation and then to negate it? How on earth was the importance of football in a town a higher priority than justice for this young woman?
Silence is acceptance. The exact number of young people that directly witnessed the act or steps leading to it is unknown however it is sickeningly large. It is now known that even more were notified of the situation when it was launched on social media. Texts, tweets, photos and videos flooded feeds and boasted. Each person that witnessed it, heard about it either in person of via third parties on social media and didn’t report it are also guilty of depraved indifference.
“To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant’s conduct must be ‘so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant’s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting.”
We can only hope that the grand jury weighs all of the evidence and exercises the full extent of the law. Every person who didn’t say stop, didn’t call 911, didn’t report their friends, didn’t call the police when they were told of the rape must be held to account.
Our language needs to change. Our perspective needs to shift. It’s not “don’t get raped”. It is DON’T RAPE. Place the responsibility where it lies. Until we focus on the cause of the callousness and disregard of women, rape and violence by men against women will continue. Don’t laugh at the inappropriate joke, call them out. Place a woman in your life in the situation they’re joking about: your wife, mother, girlfriend, sister, daughter, friend, boss, coworker, or that woman you silently nodded to while walking down the street this morning. Is it still funny? Call it out. If it’s inappropriate for them is isn’t appropriate for anyone. Don’t allow your silence to reinforce their beliefs.
One of the worst offenders are the media at large. How many times has it been broadcasted about the “star football players” or calling the rapists “promising” or how “their lives have been ruined”. Why is the media suggesting sympathy for these lowlifes? Anything other than “convicted rapist” is repugnant.
It is time to step up. Call it out when you witness something offensive. Demand better.