Taking a Stand Against Rape Culture


Meya Smith, Editor-in-Cheif


Being a woman seems to make some men think they can talk to you anyway they want. For some men, it’s easy to call a woman sexy in the middle of the street or break their neck trying to get another look as they drive by. However, for many women just walking home can be scary because women often get yelled at, constantly get unwanted attention, and sometimes even get followed. 

Sometimes they won’t take no for an answer. So when you explain that, no, you’re not interested and even if you were, you’re only fifteen, they continue with, “Oh, I’m twenty. Is that a problem?” You see this same man three times and every time you politely decline but the question is still asked, “Can I get to know you?” Now, you’re aggravated and feel inclined to warn him that if he does not leave you alone, you’ll call the police. Yet, you’re perceived as rude because he, “just thought you were cute.” But whether or not you’re attractive is not the point.

The point is I said no. The point is this continually accepted behavior has created an environment where rape culture is the norm. There are young boys that think it’s okay for them to touch girls inappropriately at school, record their actions and proceed to post the video on Facebook. This boy gets praised on social media. The girl, on the other hand, get talked about in a derogatory way. Another girl even joins and says, “I don’t know why she’s mad. She probably liked it.”

Thank you but no thank you. If I wanted your hands on my body, I would’ve said so. But I didn’t, so don’t. Just because you find a woman attractive does not give you permission to treat her as if she is nothing but an object.

Schools are a place to learn and grow into a young adult. However, they themselves have even been accused of reinforcing rape culture. For example, a Junior at Lakewood Senior High School wrote a piece titled “Why I’m Taking a Stand Against My School’s ‘Dress Code’”   which was published on the Huffington Post in 2014. The young woman that wrote the article comments on the boy’s phrase for dress code, “boys will be boys.” What does the way a boy acts have to do with the way he dresses? This statement is not only generalizing, but it is also hinting that boys are, “constantly sexually aroused, animalistic or sexually uncontrollable..” as discussed in the piece. What sort of message is this sending to the young men? This is telling boys they must be easily distracted by a girl showing more of her legs than is “acceptable” –they must be rambunctious and wild. Not all boys are like this. A great deal of boys have been taught to act this way.

Within the piece, she goes on to venture her feelings towards the phrase, “modest is hottest”– which is not only widely inappropriate for school staff to say, but it also projects the idea of shame for wearing less clothing. Women’s bodies are not for all to sexually comment on. They are bodies. That’s all. While I know and understand there is clothing that is not appropriate for a school environment, this is suggesting the way women dress is for others rather than what they want to wear for themselves.

What about the problem of ‘slut’ shaming? Why is it any one’s business what your sexual life is? When boys are involved with girls sexually, they are often times congratulated. If a girl does the same, somehow, it’s wrong.  

A woman’s job is not to cater to men. On an episode of Dr. Phill, there was a young woman named Romina Garcia that appeared as a guest on the show. Her appearance was due to her video claiming that “when your boyfriend hits you, it’s a sign of love”. Dr. Phill explained that because he believes her thought process on the matter was ridiculous, he originally wouldn’t have had her on the show. The only reason he claims he has allowed her to appear in front of an audience is because the video has already reached over 5 million people, many of them young girls. Which would imply that Dr. Phill is making this an opportunity to tell Garcia and all of her supporters this thought is wrong.

Romina Garcia defended her belief that when a man hits you it’s a sign of love because, “He was risking to go the jail, like he could’ve gone to jail if I were to press charges. Like, not anyone is gonna go to jail for you.” She then tells about the response she has had to the video saying, “I get a lot of messages on my social media asking for advice and a lot of girls are like ‘I look up to you’ and I feel like I’m an inspiration to them.”

Is this the role model we want our kids to have? If what Garcia is saying to the 5 million plus viewers makes sense to even 1%, that is 1% too many.

After this Dr. Phill explains, “I am very concerned that the idiotic message that you’re putting out there could cause an innocent young girl to put herself in harm’s way following that logic and get herself hurt.”  

Not only do men need to realize women are not objects, but women themselves do, too. Women should respect and take care of themselves. Women must know they have a voice that matters and they are powerful. Men need to see that they do not need to conform to society’s patterns of treating women with no respect. Please, let’s come together, ignore gender stereotypes, and bring an end to rape culture.