Navigating The Rape Culture

“Patriarchal masculinity teaches men that their sense of self and identity, their reason for being, resides in their capacity to dominate others. To change this males must critique and challenge male domination of the planet, of less powerful men, of women and children.” -bell hooks

I want to scream and throw a tantrum. I want to crawl out of my head into someone else’s who doesn’t know what it’s like to be a rape survivor every time I hear about the 23-year old medical student who died Friday after being gang raped by six men on a bus in India. I want to protest. I want to stomp and scream. I want to wear the ” sluttiest” outfit I can and beat any dude who thinks it’s okay to holler at me in the street. I want to make dick jokes and objectify men so they know how it feels. I want to smash rape culture with my anarchist feminist ideologies. I want to get angry and never stop even when people tell me that “its not enough to be angry.” But it’s all I have.

It’s never enough to just be angry, but it’s just enough to get motivated.

As a gang-rape survivor, I have to navigate the culture that monitors everything I do. I am constantly criticized, from what I wear to how I project my open and fluid sexuality. I have to navigate through rape jokes, where the traumatic event that I went through is trivialized. I have to navigate ideas about who I am due to what I’ve been through. Fragile. Tender. Sensitive. A creature on the brink of a mental breakdown. In reality, I am able to survive through much more than most people due to the trauma I have experienced.

Ideas about rape/sexual assault and those who survive it are based on a system that treats women as subordinates. Working class Women are socialized to owe men their bodies in exchange for goods such as clothes, jewelry, food and a place to stay. This doesn’t end at male partners, but extends to fathers, brothers, cousins or really anyone in the family who adheres to patriarchal ideas about masculinity.

It’s not enough to integrate reforms. It is not enough to throw a protest here and there. It is not enough to have a mass worker’s revolution. It won’t be enough until so called “radicals” integrate feminist politics into their personal lives. Sexual violence against women won’t end until men can stand up against their friends, fathers, brothers and cousins when they perpetuate rape culture.

I’m still screaming, crying and throwing a tantrum over the abuse women experience daily. I won’t ever stop. The moment we stop caring is the moment the fire goes out.

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