It Shouldn’t Have to be This Way

TRIGGER WARNING: This content deals with an account of sexual assault and may be triggering to some people.

I have been quiet about this for far too long. At school, at home, out with friends, and even from my own family members, the issue of rape is treated lighter than I wish. A few times at school I’ve spoken up; however, people tend to roll their eyes and tell me to stop being such a “feminist.” Well today is the day I’m going to spill a few things.

Today I saw a headline about two teenage girls in India who were gang raped and hung in the middle of the night. They were 14 and 16. I’m 15 years old so this really hits me hard. The fact that a lot of people will scroll right past that story breaks my heart because it shows that people are getting used to this kind of headline.

At school, I hear rape jokes all the time. “Dude you raped that guy!” or “Rape! Rape! They’re touching me! Ha ha!” are some I hear almost every day. Is the boy who just shot a layup forcing you to have sex with him? If not, then it’s not rape. It’s a basketball game. Is the kid that poked you to get your attention forcing you to have sex with them? No? Then it’s not rape. And the thing is, teachers don’t get onto people about this. One of my teachers laughed along! And right when I’m about to say something, I can’t. I feel like I’m in the wrong for bringing up that that is a horrible joke. I don’t know why I can’t do it, but sometimes I just can’t speak up. 

It really shouldn’t have to be this way. I should have the guts to say “that’s not funny,” because it isn’t.

You know that rhyme that people say sometimes? That one that goes “Stop! Don’t touch me there! That is my no no square! R-A-P-E R-A-P-E Rape! and run away!” I kind of hope you haven’t heard it because it’s disgusting but if you have, does it make you cringe? It makes me want to slap people across the face. I don’t understand what has made rape a laughing matter in this country, but whatever it is, it needs to stop.

I want to live in a big city when I’m older. I want to live there without feeling unsafe at night when I’m walking to the subway alone, or when I run out at night to get something from the grocery store. I want mundane things not to have to be big deals, where I have my pepper spray in my hand at all times just to grab some milk.

But I’ve almost lost hope. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to feel safe alone in the city. In fact, I don’t in my small home town sometimes. If jokes go unpunished and stories unread, nothing will change. We have to start sharing things. I know that sometimes it feels like you’re not doing much just by reblogging or hitting share on Facebook, but in my opinion you are. You’re making people see it. You’re crying out, “Hey! This is important, and no laughing matter!” You’re showing people that you want this to stop, even if you aren’t able to do much. Everything helps, and everyone should know that rape isn’t okay. It’s about time that girls and boys show the world that despite the fact that our peers make those jokes, we are sick of it.

I’m asking everyone to share stories on Facebook, retweet, and reblog to show people that you pay attention, and that nobody can shrug this off any longer.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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