4 Lessons We Can Learn From the Stanford Rape Case

By: Mack Thompson

Disgust. Anger. Sadness. Every time I see an event like the one that is currently being discussed, these emotions run through me. Disgusted at the man who did this and the way the victim was treated, angry with the judge, and ultimately deeply saddened to know that gender violence awareness was not able to save an innocent young woman from the trauma of rape.

This case truly hurt me to read. I have seen the effects of rape on people that I love and I can assure you it is one of the most psychologically challenging things someone can deal with. I have learned however that terrible things happen so that we can learn from them in order to not repeat our mistakes again. If we are to overcome rape and sexual violence, we must understand the mistakes that were made in this case and learn from them collectively to try to prevent this kind of situation from happening again.

Here 4 are lessons from this tragedy that we must learn in order to prevent history from repeating itself.

1. Consent

The most controversial and misunderstood part of rape is consent. What makes this issue far most problematic is understanding consent when there is drinking involved. Bar culture and party culture isn’t something you learn from your mom and dad when you are growing up. Most of the time men learn our lessons from friends with more experience than ourselves or by simple observation. Men are not told when you enter a bar/party how you are supposed to treat women and with the ever increasing rate of unreported sexual violence in bars/parties, men are often confused as to what the lines of consent are. My fellow men: I would like to inform you all that if your potential partner is intoxicated or high, they cannot consent to ANY sexual acts. If they’re slurring their words, stumbling, or acting unlike themselves, these are signs that they are not of sound mind and can’t give consent. Going to the bar with the intention of getting a girl drunk to the point that they can’t fight back or say no is pre-meditated assault. If you want to make sure you are not crossing boundaries, check in and ask if they are ok. If they are intoxicated, help them find a safe way home. If they’re really into you, you can just wait until you are both sober. Your fear of rejection should not outweigh your potential partner’s right to say no.

Along with this it is important to note that any of the following questions posed by the attackers attorney towards the victim do not change whether an act is consensual.

How old are you? How much do you weigh? What did you eat that day? Well what did you have for dinner? Who made dinner? Did you drink with dinner? No, not even water? When did you drink? How much did you drink? What container did you drink out of? Who gave you the drink? How much do you usually drink? Who dropped you off at this party? At what time? But where exactly? What were you wearing? Why were you going to this party? What’ d you do when you got there? Are you sure you did that? But what time did you do that? What does this text mean? Who were you texting? When did you urinate? Where did you urinate? With whom did you urinate outside? Was your phone on silent when your sister called? Do you remember silencing it? Really because on page 53 I’d like to point out that you said it was set to ring. Did you drink in college? You said you were a party animal? How many times did you black out? Did you party at frats? Are you serious with your boyfriend? Are you sexually active with him? When did you start dating? Would you ever cheat? Do you have a history of cheating? What do you mean when you said you wanted to reward him? Do you remember what time you woke up? Were you wearing your cardigan? What color was your cardigan? Do you remember any more from that night? No?

How much someone has drank, what he or she is wearing, and his or her sexual history does not change what consent is and, as mentioned above, consent cannot be given if your partner has had anything to drink.

 2. Privilege

Here is a scenario; the police are coming up with a new system for traffic control. Everyone is given a car and is not allowed to choose any features about the car. After 3 years of good driving and no accidents you are driving down the road and get caught speeding. The police officer lets you off with a warning because of your good driving history. This is called earned privilege. Now imagine that everyone who got red cars did not have to obey the speed limit. This is called unearned privilege and happens frequently in life when we are treated unequally based on something that cannot be chosen like race or gender. Then there is the case where a guy in a big red truck got in a major rear-ending accident with a small car. The policeman then decides that because he is a really good chef at a nice restaurant who happens to drive a big red truck he shouldn’t be punished heavily. This didn’t have a name because someone’s ability to cook has nothing to do with his or her ability to drive and should never happen, but is now being called “The Brock Turner Privilege”.

As I was reading through the article I could hear my coach’s voice saying, “playing here is a privilege not a right” and it really is a privilege. Being a good athlete can say a lot about a person’s character because being a good athlete take a lot of hard work and determination which is a earned privilege for Brock Turner. The troubling part is that being a hard worker or a determined athlete has nothing to do with the fact that he is a rapist. It is important for athletes to realize that the privilege they have as student athletes, does not give them the right to another persons body.

In no way should your race, gender and/or athleticism change what you are entitled to. Research examining racial biases in the legal system collected data from between 1980 and 2005; 43% of the cases showed that race had a direct effect on sentencing. Black people tend to serve longer sentences for committing the same crime as white folks.(https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/sites/default/files/disparity.pdf).

If the perpetrator was black, having a judge decrease a 14 year sentence to 6 months because “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him” would never happen. The rapist was also glorified for his swimming career at Stanford, having his swim times posted in the article about him raping a woman. This should be common knowledge, but still I have to reinforce the fact that people should not be treated unequally based on their race and gender and being athletic does not make you any less guilty of rape. This is how the victim summed things up:

“The probation officer weighed the fact that he has surrendered a hard-earned swimming scholarship. How fast Brock swims does not lessen the severity of what happened to me, and should not lessen the severity of his punishment. If a first-time offender from an underprivileged background was accused of three felonies and displayed no accountability for his actions other than drinking, what would his sentence be? The fact that Brock was an athlete at a private university should not be seen as an entitlement to leniency, but as an opportunity to send a message that sexual assault is against the law regardless of social class.”

 

3. The Legal System

Rape and gender violence laws have always forged the “his word versus mine” dilemma. If there are no eyewitnesses and the victim isn’t transported immediately to hospital, it’s very hard to get enough evidence to win a legal trial. This is the main reason that only 6% of sexual assaults are reported in Canada (http://www.sexassault.ca/statistics.htm). Another major reason sexual assaults are not reported is because the length of the trials and the psychological affect that it can have. To settle a rape trial it could take years of having to recall the event in detail, as well as regularly facing the attacker in order to have any justice at all. The only real benefit to facing such a devastating trial is in the knowledge that the attacker will not be able to act again but with only 0.6% (https://rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system) of perpetrators being incarcerated in the United States, it is easy to see why so many rapes go unreported. The justice system has a long way to go in order to correct the way in which rape is prosecuted but there are things for us to learn as well. If you or someone you know is a victim and are scared of informing the law, there are great resources available for advice and comfort. Though the legal system isn’t perfect, no one should have to feel unsafe or alone.

 4. Effect

The most important thing to learn from cases like this is empathy. With empathy this case would have been different from the ground up. If the attacker had been empathetic, he would not have viewed the victim as a target for rape but as a woman who went to have fun with her younger sister. On the contrary, if two men on bikes lacked the empathy to stop the situation, it’s a very real possibility that this never would have been reported. I have seen many people struggle with the after effects of rape and sexual assault ranging from suicide to PTSD. People around the world struggle with this daily and until we possess the empathy to start viewing the people around us as people, the struggling will continue.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/emaoconnor/meet-the-two-swedish-men-who-caught-brock-turner?utm_term=.hymMrV1rO#.amLZGYLGM

https://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/heres-the-powerful-letter-the-stanford-victim-read-to-her-ra?utm_term=.dn4N8De87#.lgXqANrAk

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mack Thompson is a member of Laurier’s Football team. He is headed into his final year of his undergrad, studying biochemistry and biotechnology.

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The Stanford rape conviction does not surprise me and that’s messed up

TRIGGER WARNING: descriptions of sexual violence, victim blaming

I am terrified. I feel hopeless. I’ve only been doing gender violence awareness, education, and prevention work for a few years and I’m already jaded as hell.

I’m worried about the past, current, and future survivors and victims of sexual violence because I’m not sure what supporting them looks like. How can I prevent sexual violence in my community when our justice systems turn the other cheek? How can I convince potential perpetrators that the harm and trauma they cause is unforgivable when a judge decided it’s actually only worth 6 months in prison?

There is so much about the Stanford University rape case that makes my skin crawl.

I’m horrified, but not surprised, that a seemingly well-adjusted white male can drag an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, rape her, and only stop when two men physically intervene. I’m horrified at the level of pain and trauma the victim suffered (and continues  to suffer).

I am not surprised, because I’m all too aware that so many people only mention rape in the form of a ‘joke.’ I’m privy to the countless ways in which we teach men that they are entitled to women’s bodies. How we teach men to never see women as whole, as worthy of care and respect. I know this because I see the men in my life who I love deeply struggle to unlearn the ways they’ve been conditioned to see women as disposable. I know violent porn exists where the woman’s pleasure and personhood is not even an afterthought. The mantra “boys will be boys” has been sketched into the collective psyche from such a young age that an incident like this seems inevitable.

I’m enraged, but not surprised, that the judge decided to sentence the rapist to only six months. He reasoned that a longer sentence would “have a severe impact” on him. The rapist after all, is a competitive swimmer with immense athletic potential. I am enraged but not surprised that this somehow matters. I’m not surprised that we value a male rapist’s future over the lives of those he has ruined.

The judge’s words remind me that when a system is designed to protect people like you, it will bend over backwards to ensure you are not held accountable. I think about the millions of black and indigenous men in North America who are forced to stay behind bars for decades for nonviolent drug offenses. I think about the “severe impact” their sentences have on their families. I wonder what it is we mean when we talk about justice. I think about how naive it is to assume the legal system would ever be ‘fair’ when it is built on a history of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, and colonialism.

I’m terrified because if that victim went to my university and disclosed her experience to me, I might have told her that reporting to the police would be a viable option for her. So often I warn folks about the re-victimization you have to go through when reporting to the police. The strangers you have to tell. The likelihood that they’ll assume you are lying through your teeth. How the lack of consent is often over looked if you are sexually active, if you wear certain clothes, if you were drinking that night. And while I wouldn’t imagine this particular victim to be immune to all of that, I would have thought the fact that she was unconscious would have made it a clear example of rape. That the rapist deserves the maximum sentencing for the crime. If an unconscious woman being raped is not seen as important as the rapist’s swimming career,  I now know for certain that I will suggest everything under the sun before I recommend to other survivors that they should report to the police. Not because their experiences aren’t valid, but because the system is so fucked up there’s no way any kind of justice or retribution will emerge. This is why survivors don’t report. My heart goes out to the survivors who see this verdict and worry what this means for them. Know that the legal system may not be there for you but there are communities of people who are. We will not leave your side in the aftermath of your assault.  What happened to you is NOT your fault and you are NOT overreacting. In the words of a dear friend:

“This includes people who are wondering if they can call that one uncomfortable experience they had years ago sexual assault/rape (you can!).

This includes people who have stayed friends with their abuser, continued to date them, or otherwise remained in contact after your experience.

This includes people who were intoxicated and maybe don’t remember all of what happened.

This includes people who accepted gifts/money/etc. in exchange for something, and whose boundaries were crossed.

This includes people who have had to tell that drunk bro at the bar (or sober, seemingly “well meaning” dude at the grocery store/restaurant/your place of work/etc.) that you have a partner (and if that doesn’t work, boyfriend) in order to feel like you can safely leave the conversation.

This includes people that because of their disability were unable to verbally express when there was a point at which their boundaries were being crossed, and the other ways they were expressing this were ignored.

This includes people who were convinced to participate in/verbally consent to an activity that they really didn’t want to do.

This includes people whose assaulter has a gender identity other than cisgender man

This includes literally every person who has ever experienced the violence of sexual assault and/or rape culture.”

I want to believe that most people are not like the Stanford rapist. That we do not want to cause harm. That we value one another enough to respect a person’s right to choose when, where, how, and with whom they want to be intimate with. I have to believe this if I am to continue doing gendered violence education. There are three people I think about when I need to rediscover our collective humanity.

The first is the survivor of this particular assault. She had the courage and resiliency to tell her truth in her own words in front of her rapist. This is something that should not have been expected of her, but I know her bravery has helped other survivors in their own recovery. You can read her words here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/heres-the-powerful-letter-the-stanford-victim-read-to-her-ra?utm_term=.of0ZYRzy4#.xonDNVX5d

The other two people I think about are the two men who intervened. Riding on their bikes, they could have just kept on going. They could have egged him on. They thought something was wrong, they checked it out, and they intervened. THIS is the type of mentality I hope to foster at Laurier. We all have a responsibility to be prosocial bystanders and to call one another out for our shitty behaviour. For our shitty racist and sexist comments. For our rape jokes. You need to stop your friend from getting someone drunk to the point that they can’t form full sentences. We need to hold one another accountable.

A common phrase that comes up when cases like this go viral is “the system is broken.” I think saying this is part of the problem. If this system is broken, we must recognize that WE ARE THE SYSTEM. The system is not some free floating autonomous force. We created it. We decided who would have the power to convict harmful citizens. We decided what their punishment would look like. Again, we need to be accountable. The nice thing is, this also means that we have the power to change it so that it better reflects the world we want to live in. What will you do to fix it?

50 Shades of Shameful

By: Sarah Szymanski

“If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you.”

“I would find you. I can track your cell phone, remember?”

“How did you feel while I was hitting you and after?”

“I didn’t like it. I’d rather you didn’t do it again.”

“You weren’t meant to like it.”

The 50 Shades of Grey trailer opens up with sexy music, and moves along to show you seductive and romantic scenes throughout. Do any of the above lines sound particularly romantic? These are actual quotes from the book and not only are they unromantic, they’re really abusive too. This novel has been critically analyzed and criticized- and definitely for a good reason.

After coming out in 2011, 50 Shades of Grey become huge around the world, selling millions of copies, even surpassing the amount of Harry Potter novels sold, which is definitely no easy feat. For those unaware, the plot circles around a character Anastasia Steele, a college graduate who meets Christian Grey through an interview she conducts with him for her friend’s newspaper. Christian is a wealthy entrepreneur and Anastasia falls for him very quickly, despite also being extremely intimidated by him. As they talk more and get closer, Christian introduces Ana to his secret desires, and to the world of BDSM. Christian becomes a dom to Ana’s sub, though she is hardly willing. And that’s really where the problem lies.

Though Ana is curious about Christian and his lifestyle, she hardly consents to many of the things he does. And Christian doesn’t ask, nor does he care. Ana gets raped in the first book, which in itself is horrible and should be a warning sign to stop treating this book as some ideal and progressive erotica. After that, she gets constantly mistreated, her wishes and own desires are overlooked, and Christian does what he thinks is best for her.

This is obviously extremely wrong to do in any sort of relationship, but by having Christian do what he does and calling it BDSM, it just adds to the stack of already existing problems. Those who read the novel and are interested in trying BDSM themselves may see these things as normal or acceptable if they haven’t done any outside research.

Like any sort of sexual activity, BDSM needs to be safe and consensual. The community’s guidelines themselves are “safe, sane and consensual”. Many of those who participate in BDSM partake in the act of “aftercare”. Because BDSM can get rough, it’s important for those in that relationship to do some things to make each other feel safe and happy. This could involve cuddling, watching a movie, or making food. Christian Grey rarely, if ever, comforts Ana after they have sex, which can hardly even be called that due to the lack of consent.

It’s shameful that such a problematic novel got so highly publicized and thrust into the mainstream. Ana and Christian’s relationship is not consensual, it’s not safe and it’s not BDSM. It’s abusive and the fact that many people are romanticizing it is a problem. Don’t go see this movie in theatres, don’t further promote it. Boycott 50 Shades of Grey.

Beginning With a Whisper

By Emily Zimmermann

The word “bystander” has always made me anxious – mostly because I really don’t want to be one. I try to be vigilant about what is going on in my surroundings and keep watch for injustice. I hope that if something were to go on in front of me that was blatantly wrong, I wouldn’t allow myself to stay silent.

I’ve carried this anxiety ever since first year psychology when I learned about “The Bystander Effect”. Study after study shows that it is psychologically proven that if there are lots of others around, most of us wouldn’t intervene, even in a violent situation. I feel squeamish as I think of Kitty Genovese being assaulted in the courtyard and the dismal truth that I would have probably been one of the onlookers sitting idly by. I was slightly encouraged by the fact that it is also proven that just learning about the Bystander Effect reduces that chance that you will be one. As I walk along the streets, warily looking out for wrong it occurs to me that there is at least one person who I don’t look out for. There is one person who I have allowed to be mistreated without stepping in and one person who I have betrayed by my fear of stepping up: myself.

This is in no way a text intended to berate myself or anyone else that hasn’t come forward because there are so many systems in place that erect barriers to disclosure. Rather, my purpose is to explore the experiences we choose to feel are somehow not severe enough to warrant any action. It is these silent experiences that course through the veins of misogyny, leaving one breathless and deflated, left unfairly carrying the weight of what has been done to them.

I have experienced several moments of sexual harassment or assault in my life. If asked to describe them I would use words like “small” or “unimportant” or “insignificant” because they in no way compare to my dominant understanding of sexual assault as violence and rape. Two examples will illustrate my experience and these descriptions: Once at a party after I had been drinking I was hooking up with a new acquaintance. During this, a third person entered the room and took a picture of us. Feeling extremely uncomfortable and powerless I promptly exited. Since nothing ever came of it I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal, and no action needed to be taken.

On another occasion a person in a power position at my place of employment touched me inappropriately in a crowded bar. The shock and discomfort must have clouded my face because my friend looked over at me mouthing the words, “Are you okay?”. Forcing a wavering smile and moving slowly away I nodded. Once more I felt no further action was needed. After all he was a good person; he was just a little drunk.

It is through these subtle breeches of our bodies and agency that the dominant rape culture is left firmly situated and unchallenged. I want to emphasize the problematic nature of using the word “subtle” because it is that very description that probably contributed to my silence. Recently on Black Girl Dangerous, Travis Alabanza gives this description of why using the word “subtle” in the context of racism is not effective:

After telling a friend about a recent experience of being racially profiled in a supermarket, they immediately reminded me of how my experience was “subtle” compared to the murderous shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Being reminded of the horror and evil of Mike Brown’s murder, in that moment, my sadness and demand for dignity was invalidated. I felt ashamed, that I should never share that experience again. My experience, my hurt, my oppression is and was erased by anything more tragic, anything less “subtle”.

I think this can also be applied in a discussion of gendered violence or any case of sexual assault. Not allowing instances such as the ones I have outlined from my own life to be considered and discussed as unacceptable is a huge problem. Silencing these experiences creates a slew of problems. First, at a personal level, their silence makes me bear the responsibility for them which interrupts my ability to love myself and see my worth. It should be the assaulter who bears the responsibility. Yet this may unfortunately be naïve as it is not guaranteed they would face any consequences, completing the circle of oppressive gendered violence. Second, on a wider level, the invisibility of these experiences contributes to the maintenance of the systems of inequality that oppress so many groups and that make it harder for others to come forward with their own experiences. Finally, it comprises a missed opportunity. Returning to the Bystander Effect, if just one person steps up to help, it makes it much easier for others to follow along. Other social psychological research, like Asch’s line experiments or Milgram’s obedience studies, consistently demonstrates the power of one nonconformist to inspire others to step up as well. By not allowing your experiences to be silenced, it bypasses an opportunity to give others the freedom to also share and challenge the system.

It is by no means an easy task to share experiences in which you were wronged and which may not be well received. It is also a task that is unfairly placed on the victims of assault adding further suffering to their experience. In a time of slut shaming and rape culture, this is even more intensified. Sometimes it may even be an impossible task to do alone. Perhaps if we all dedicate ourselves to the smallest whispers of our injustice, the combination would swell to a shout and eventually the noise would become so loud that our voices would not be able to be denied; this is the deafening song of change.

images
[Image: Three stick figures, each with text underneath: Stand. Speak. Act.]

Emily is a fourth year Laurier student who is majoring in sociology and minoring in psychology and religion and culture. Emily works with Not My Laurier, loves cupcakes and cats.

Why “Not My Laurier”?

Disclaimer: Not My Laurier is a student-run campaign dedicated to combatting gender-based violence.

Disclaimer #2: Not My Laurier is not a group to bash or attack Wilfrid Laurier University. We love Laurier. We are proud Golden Hawks. We wouldn’t be able to do this without our school and for that, we recognize the efforts of everyone who has been involved (or will be involved) in this campaign.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the real question:

Why is Not My Laurier important?

Because of this.

And this.

And this.

This campaign comes as a response to the normalization of violence which all too often, is denied or hidden in our culture. Instead of taking responsibility for harm we cause, we are quick to point fingers and derail conversations. We lack an ability to communicate openly and because of this, our relationships with each other suffer.

While gender-based violence disproportionately affects certain groups of people (i.e. women), this is an issue that hurts all of us. We all know rape is wrong, sexual assault is wrong and abuse is wrong. But actually challenging the culture that allows these incidents to be hidden or worse, accepted takes active work.

Over the next school year, we want to make sure we are doing this work. Each month has been dedicated to a theme. Last month, we talked about Consent: Get Some to Get Some. For October, we will be working on disclosure training and talking about the Bystander Initiative.

Change doesn’t come easily. We get that these topics aren’t fun and it’s hard to step out of our comfort zones to understand realities that may not necessarily reflect our own.

But we’re inviting you to join us. Even if it’s just reading what we have to say.

Follow us on Twitter. Like the Facebook page.

I think most of us want to make the world a better and safer place. So let’s start by making sure our campus is a better and safer place for everyone.

Derailing Meaningful Conversations

By Chantel Hamel

“You should never judge a woman for taking the elevator rather than the stairs, you do not know what she has had to endure in her life” – this was a facebook status my friend posted, referring to gender based violence, which is disproportionately experienced by women at the hands of cis straight men.

In fact, according to the Canada’s Women Foundation, half of all women in Canada will experience at least one incident of physical or sexual violence before they reach the age of 16. Furthermore, the perpetrator is likely to be a cis straight male (Cis men meaning men who identify as male and were deemed male at birth).

Of course, this is terrible. A reasonable person could assume that Facebook friends would shower this status with likes and supporting comments. Unfortunately, that is not what happened.

Soon after my friend posted this status, a nasty response was made, “you should really say that any human experience is valid, men get assaulted too.” I watched with a sense of familiar disbelief as this comment received more likes than the original status.

People continued to comment on my friend’s status, saying it was ‘sexist’ of her to say women instead of women and men. God forbid she address the female majority of gendered violence victims – how dare she challenge the patriarchy.

We are so quick to derail conversations about gender based violence because it questions the dominant position cis males hold in our society. Accusations of rape are often treated as a ploy to bring down powerful men.

This patriarchal aggression against gendered violence awareness is not an isolated incident. I’ve been volunteering with the Not My Laurier: Golden Hawks Combatting Gender Violence campaign for almost a year now. When I tell someone about the work we are doing, I am often met with the ‘well men get raped too’ response.

Of course men are assaulted, and violence is never acceptable. That’s why this is a ‘gender violence campaign.’ Even your basic understandings of the two binary gender assumptions should be able to comprehend the inclusiveness of our title. This is a ‘gender violence campaign’ in order to address violence that happens against women, men and non-binary genders. I would love to explain how non-binary folks, men who are also trans, men who are queer, men who are racialized, men with disabilities and boys experience more violence than the white cis male but this article can only be so long.

This being said, why are you so fucking offended that we are trying to decrease violence against women? When women are disproportionately victims of gendered violence, would it not make sense to strongly advocate for them? Yet I’m still met with the ‘men get raped too’ response. In order to further elaborate my point, consider the following statements and responses.

Statement: “My mom has cancer.”

Response: “Well lot’s of people have cancer.”

Statement: “I just failed my test.”

Response: “Well other people failed too.”

Oh my god, that’s terrible! That literally makes no sense, right?! Who would say that to someone who just failed their test or found out their mom had cancer? It’s not like that person said that no one else failed the test or was diagnosed with cancer, so why would the responder suggest they did?

You’re absolutely right! So why is this okay?

Statement: “Gender violence is disproportionately experienced by women.”

Response: “Well, men get raped too.”

This is a mixture of internalized patriarchy and arguably massive cis male guilt. Why are people so eager to “one-up” women’s experience of gender violence? Seems like a strategic tactic to silence women’s experiences in favour of the patriarchy.

If you want some more information on gendered violence experienced by females versus males, you should note that 83% of all police-reported domestic assaults are against women. In spousal violence instances, three times as many women experience serious violence such as choking, beating, being threatened with a knife or gun, and sexual violence. Women are more likely to be physically injured, to get a restraining order, and to fear for their lives. For the past 30 years in Canada, women are three to four times as likely to be killed by their spouse. About 80% of victims of dating violence are female. Girls experience sexual assault at much higher rates than boys: 82% of all victims under the age of 18 are female. Finally, girls are four times as likely as boys to be sexually assaulted by a family member. Men experience sexual violence and these experiences are valid and deserve attention. The people at the ground level advocating for a reduction of violence do in fact advocate for male survivors as well.

I am not saying that the crisis of ‘rape culture’ is the fault of every man. I am saying that, “men get raped too’, is not an appropriate response to the mention of gendered violence as we have never denied this fact. Cis men need to leave this defence mechanism behind and stop feeling blamed. If you’re a ‘good guy’, I’m proud of you but it’s not enough – you need to become allies. A great way to begin to unlearn and relearn ‘rape culture’ would be to volunteer with the Not My Laurier’s Gender Violence Campaign – we actually have many cis males on our team. So maybe, you should come and see what were about, before assuming what we are not.

Sources: http://www.canadianwomen.org/facts-about-violence