Saturday, December 17, 2011

Recently I came across a blog post by a woman I follow on titter. Some of what is posted on her blog is kind of racy so I decided that instead of posting the link I would just post the article for those who would be offended by the rest of her blog. I feel the message is pertinent so please read it for your own sake.

Stop the Violence

I’m sure some of you have been reading the shocking (or not so shocking) statistics about rape and sexual violence in the US. They’ve been making the rounds on the internet, and after Cal e-mailed me just to see if I had seen the reports, I figured that it was worthy of a blog post, even though it’s not the typical cheery/sexy thing I would post here. It’s an important issue that needs to be discussed.

It’s unfortunately true that 1/5 women in the United States experiences rape or attempted rape and 1/4 women have been attacked in relationships. (This specific bit of information was released about the US, and it’s hard to find Canadian statistics, but I’d imagine that it’s a similar situation here.) This is a really awful statistic, but these numbers even sound a bit low to those in the know. The fact is, a lot of people are pretty oblivious to these numbers, and that’s a big reason why sexual violence continues to be an issue. But, it takes more than just awareness to reverse this disturbing trend.

First, I think it’s important not to try to divert from the issue. Even though it’s the minority, you read a lot of comments raising points about men’s rights, male sexual violence survivors, false accusations, alcohol consumption or the fact that someone may not have met anyone who has experienced sexual violence. The fact is that men’s rights, while important, don’t negate what is happening in terms of sexual violence. As for male sexual violence survivors, it’s a problem that affects men and women and I think it’s really important that this is more emphasized. But the fact is that it’s 1/4 for women vs. approximately 1/75 for men, so it’s somewhat understandable that a lot of resources are more focused on women. Men and women both get breast cancer too, but no one balks about the fact that most of the research is designated towards women.

False accusations represent about 2% of the reports, and there are countless other unreported experiences of sexual violence, which only shrinks the false accusation percentage. A lot of talk in comments on blogs is about how having sex with a woman so drunk she can’t say no isn’t really a crime, just a grey area. The law disagrees, and the experience of these women disagrees too. Finally, most survivors of sexual violence won’t talk to just anyone about their experience, and may not even discuss it with anyone outside a therapist or one or two close friends/family members. Just because you haven’t been approached with a specific story doesn’t mean that someone in your life hasn’t had this horrible experience.

What else can you do to help stop the violence? Making yourself and the people around you accountable for their actions. If someone makes light of sexual violence, tell them it’s not okay. If someone you know is trying to have sex with a woman who obviously can’t say no, intervene. Maybe even discuss consent as a normal part of sex. Anything where you are actively setting a good example is very valuable.

Lastly, actually get involved with volunteering for the cause. Volunteer at a shelter, raise money for a charitable organization, get involved with your local chapter of the White Ribbon Campaign. Whatever you can do to get involved will make a huge impact on yourself and those around you.

I know you’re all amazing, smart, kind people, so I hope this post resonates with you.

Camille Crimson; author and blogger.

If your not offended by it here is the link to her site.

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