She left home, not even a decade old
rejected by family
discarded like Trash
in need of help, and
looking for a home
in need of security
but finding none
Childhood went by, and still she kept on looking
when she walked into his ZONE
not knowing or noticing
it didn’t take long for her to be Reborn.
Roxxy sashayed the night
as was norm
before settling on the Beautiful Black Bentley
capturing the owners attention
she entered the car without acknowledgment
he came back and back again,
it didn’t take long before
they became acquainted with each
He said he loved Roxxy and,
“I won’t share you with another boy”
he asked for too much and Roxxy wouldn’t take
she refused to have another
to try and piece her life back together.
he Told her… what she did was
Scum is what he wanted to
say and Roxxy know it
She Refused To Be Changed!
Getting out of the car without
a glance back,
She went back.
to roaming the streets like she did before,
This article discusses sensitive, potentially triggering topics that have already been discussed in the 10th grade health curriculum. This is a continuation of that conversation that parents may not find suitable for younger kids.
This article is going to be about rape culture, and is written by a group of concerned students, including me. Why are we concerned? A few weeks ago a discussion started in health class about a reading. Allow me to paraphrase. It concerned a girl named Pat. Pat had a boyfriend, Steve, but then moved away for a summer. She started seeing this other guy named Willie. Then one day Willie tells Pat they are going to have sex. Pat says no, but Willie has sex with her anyway. Okay, that is where I am going to stop. Did something seem wrong there? It should have. What you just read was a story about rape. Rape is defined as “The penetration, or oral penetration no matter how slight, with any body part or object, without the consent of the victim.” Pat did not consent to sex; she said no. This is indisputably rape. I was concerned and disgusted to hear that some of my classmates thought that this was up for debate. Some thought this was not rape because she was in a relationship with Willie. Some even had the audacity to say that she was “asking for it.” This is what is called rape culture, or the culture of a society that normalizes, tolerates, or condones rape, something that I have discovered to be frighteningly prevalent in Jenkintown. Us at Litmag have created this article to educate you about rape and rape culture.
One of the most concerning and common aspects about rape culture is blaming the victim. Some of you have probably already scrunched your brow, began frothing at the mouth and writing very angry replies in all caps about how there is no rape culture and no one blames the victim. To that group of people, I offer this experiment: read the following headline, and guess where it’s from: Court Requires Disabled Rape Victim To Prove She Resisted, Calls For Evidence Of ‘Biting, Kicking, Scratching’. You ready? It’s not a backwards 3rd world country, it’s from Connecticut’s Supreme Court; they overturned the verdict of a man accused of forcing a disabled woman into sex because the alleged victim- a lady with“severe cerebral palsy… the intellectual functional equivalent of a 3-year-old and [who] cannot verbally communicate”- didn’t stop the attacker from raping her. She did not stop it, so it was her fault. That is what is called blaming the victim and it is very real.
"She didn't mean it when she said no"
Contrary to popular belief, when people say they don’t want something, they really don’t want that thing. If you say “no” to “do you want fries with that”, you would not expect to get fries. Likewise, if someone says “no” to “do you want to have sex with me”, you do not give them sex: if she says “no”, that means “no” - pretty much, if she doesn’t say “yes” or “please have sex with me right now”, that means “no”. “No” does not mean “convince me” and it does not mean “wait until I’m passed out and then have sex with me”: “no” means “no”. If I were to ask you if it was okay for me to punch you in the face and you said “no”, you would expect me not to punch you in the face. But you don’t really mean “no”, so I guess that means I can disrespect your wishes and disrespect your body and punch you in the face.
"Just because she was drunk when she gave consent doesn't make it rape"
"She was drunk, so it was okay." No. If she was drunk, then she doesn't know what she's doing. She's not in the right mindset to make decisions like this. Even if she did say yes, you should realize that she doesn't know what she's doing, and it's still not okay to take advantage of her. And if she's passed out - why would someone even think of doing anything to her besides help her? I will never understand what goes through someone's mind for them to think, Oh. It's okay to have sex with this girl who's passed out. I mean she can't say no, right? No. Not right. The fact that she can't say no also means that she can't say yes. That's common sense.
"Even if she did say no, she was dressed inappropriately, so she was asking for it"
I don’t know about you, but the last time I was at the mall, I couldn’t find an ‘Attracts Potential Rapists’ rack in Forever 21, and now that I’m thinking about it I couldn’t even locate a ‘Makes it Harder to Get Away’ shelf in DSW; guess I better check Urban Outfitters instead. Alright, so hopefully that sounded ridiculous, absurd, and terrifying to you- and it should. However, if we’re operating on a simple Cause & Effect relationship here, these racks should exist. Why? Because how else would a rape victim have purposefully bought something that ensured her rape? The messed up thing about this ‘she deserved to be raped because she wore a piece of clothing I disapprove of’ mentality (as if the name isn’t bad enough) is that it switches the blame from the perpetrator to the victim ; it implies that all a woman has to do to give anyone her consent is to wear a short skirt. It implies that men have so little control over themselves that the sight of a bra strap physically forces them to violate someone. Nobody deserves to be raped; nobody is ever asking for it. You know who is to blame for rape? Hint: it’s not strapless dresses. It’s rapists.
"They were in a relationship, and she didn't report it "
In 2012, more than half of rapes in America were never reported. The most common reason being “the victim was afraid of getting the offender in trouble.” To some, this may seem ridiculous. How could you feel bad for someone who attacked you, disrespected your body, your values, and in the end humiliated you? Well, the thing about rape is that most of the time, the victims know their rapists- they could be friends, dating, engaged, or even married to their attacker. In fact, only 22% of rapes in America are committed by strangers.
Now does this mean that you can’t trust your fiance anymore? Of course not. It just means that if you feel like you are in a potentially dangerous situation, or you are beginning to feel uncomfortable around someone, you have to get out of there- no matter how much you may trust or love that person.
Another common reason why many rapes go unreported every single year is because “she ended up being okay with it.” Because of the fact so many rapes occur between couples, victims may find their attackers attractive, and probably love them. They could have even had consensual sex before, and are eventually “okay” with it. But just because they “enjoy it,” or are “eventually okay with it” does not mean it wasn’t rape-- the victim was still forced to have sex after they showed clear signs of not wanting to, or even had blatantly said “no” before it happened. Some women may be afraid to leave the relationship, and may carry on as though they are quite happy in the relationship. However, they may only be covering their pain from the rape, even as they smile and swoon over their partner.
"It's just not that big of a deal"
Why don’t they just get over it? It’s only sex, right? Try telling that to the ⅙ of women who are victims of rape or attempted rape. Hopefully you’ve caught on by now: rape isn’t a funny punchline. So why don’t people just take a few days and go over it? It’s simple; it’s just not that easy. Even once bruises have faded and cuts have healed, the mental after-effects are devastating. Those ‘punchlines’? They’re 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, 6 times more likely to suffer from PTSD, and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide. It’s not like one can turn a switch, magically transforming from victim into survivor. “A lot of times you shut off your whole heart off from your experience -- you close the door, and you wither and die,” reports an anonymous victim, and she has a point. Do we blame soldiers for their PTSD? No, of course not; that it would be inhuman. Do we blame rape victims for getting humiliated, violated, and harmed? All the time, every day in the form of rape culture. To quote poet Briana Zora Libby, we repeat over and over to children that “their bodies are not their own, that their bodies are for the taking by any man who shows them an ounce of humanity”. This needs to end. Rape is rape, not a punchline.
No one asks to be raped. That has been said before in this article, but I will say it again. No one asks to be raped. Period. Just because she is dressed promiscuously does not mean that she is an object to force sex onto; just because she is drunk does not mean that she deserve to be violated; just because she sleeps around does not mean she wants to sleep with you. As you read this, I want you to remember that the victims of rape are people, not different from you and me. They did not ask to be raped. What they are asking for is a change, a world without rape culture, a place where women can wear what they want and be treated like people, a world where the victims of the crimes are not blamed. What they are demanding is a just world. So, will you listen?
This article is a compilation of writing by Alette Kligman, Bella Federici, Mikayla Casey, Mimi Wythe, Olivia Federici, and Oonagh Kligman.