Trigger Warning : Sexual Assault and Rape
Disclaimer 1: I capitalise certain words because of the importance they bear and the magnitude of their effect on victims.
Disclaimer 2: I have labelled him a Rapist because that is the identity he now embodies, and because I do not believe in the notion of innocent until proven guilty when it applies to Rape and Sexual Assault.
Disclaimer 3: It is difficult for victims of Rape and Sexual Assault to speak about their experiences, and it takes courage and strength for them to name their perpetrator.
Disclaimer 4: Anybody who has been accused, not convicted, of Rape and Sexual Assault is already dehumanised in my perspective, because of what they have taken away from somebody.
Disclaimer 5: Rape and Sexual Assault might occur over minutes or hours, but the effects of it are eternal.
Disclaimer 6: Rape Culture will place you in positions where you refuse to believe that someone you know and love could be a perpetrator.
Disclaimer 7: Rape Culture will allow you to think you can define the victim's experience for them and validate it or not.
Disclaimer 8: Rape Culture will lead you to questioning the victim.
Disclaimer 9: Rape culture will continue being perpetuated, because the systems that should protect victims protect the perpetrator instead.
The #MeToo campaign opened up wounds that I never knew I had. The statistics do not lie: Sexual Assault occurs more often than we can imagine. Sexual Assault occurs in nightclubs –– I have been grabbed inappropriately without giving consent, and the person(s) grabbing me saw nothing wrong with their actions.
But how could they? Because this has become normalised in nightclubs. If a survey were to be conducted to discover how many people have been touched inappropriately in nightclubs, the results would be shocking.
And when these incidents –– yes, plural –– occurred, I always analysed myself and my behaviour.
Was I wearing something that invited these men to make my body their home? Was I dancing suggestively? At any point in that evening, did I perhaps make eye contact with these men that led them to believe that there was an open invitation to my body?
But the fact remains that irrespective of what I was wearing or how I was dancing, I had never given anyone my explicit consent to touch me. "Explicit" –– meaning I never verbally said, "Yes, you can touch me."
But they did so anyway. They did so because they felt the need to assert their power over me, to show their dominance.
Disclaimer 10: Nightclubs perpetuate Rape Culture.
The reason I say nightclubs perpetuate Rape Culture is that females rarely pay an entrance fee, while males have to.
"If you are not paying for something, then it means you are the product."
That resonates with me, because females are "the product" in nightclubs –– men mistakenly think that because they paid an entrance fee, anything and anyone belongs to them.
Rape Culture is perpetuated in things people tend to overlook.
One of the most profound tweets I read was by Alexis Benveniste, who tweeted: "Reminder that if a woman didn't post #MeToo, it doesn't mean she wasn't sexually assaulted or harassed. Survivors don't owe you their story."
This tweet was profound for two reasons. First, the assumption is made that only women are victims of Rape and Sexual Assault –– which is a fallacy, because anybody can be a victim of it. Second, despite "nobody owing you their story", the opposite is generally expected.
We (I use this loosely) expect people to display their pain, otherwise it is not accepted as "real".
This is where the quote from the drama-comedy movie The Fault In Our Stars resonates with what I am writing: "That's the thing about pain; it demands to be felt."
Victims feel that pain whether they share their story or not, and the onus should not be on them to display it.
A Rapist has a crush on me. He tried courting me for more than a year, but to no avail. When I was first informed that he has been accused of Rape, I was in disbelief.
Not disbelief that he had the capability to Rape someone –– anybody is capable of that.
I was in disbelief that this is someone whom I see daily; who continues with his life as if he did not scar somebody else's. This is someone who has not been subjected to what should be brutal consequences for his actions.
He has not been ridiculed or dehumanised for what he has done. Yet the victim bears the brunt of this pain –– she is left questioning why he chose to do this to her. She is left with the trauma of having to speak up and out, in a society that might denounce her because "he does not seem like the type of guy who would do that".
Where is the justice, when a Rapist can share the same space as their victim? When the victim is forced to be uncomfortable in spaces that should protect them?
Where is the justice, when a Rapist can have a crush on me, and still think that he stands a chance –– merely because he has not been convicted?
Where is the justice?
Disclaimer 11: #MeToo