If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.
And we should not be surprised when they behave these ways during attempted or completed rapes.
This blog post is one of the best summaries of the whole rape culture thing.
Both quotes (above and below) are from the above linked blog post.
The way men and women interact on a daily basis is the way they interact when rape occurs. The social dynamics we see at play between men and women are the same social dynamics that cause men to feel rape is okay, and women to feel they have no right to object. And if you accept those social interactions as normal and appropriate in your day to day life, there is absolutely no reason you should be shocked that rape occurs without screaming, without fighting, without bruising, without provocation, and without prosecution. Behavior exists on a continuum. Rape doesn’t inhabit its own little corner of the world, where everything is suddenly all different now. The behavior you accept today is the behavior that becomes rape tomorrow. And you very well might accept it then, too.
And this is why all women need to take self-defense classes.
We have to practice defending ourselves.
I took self-defense classes at DC Impact and it was transformative.
Every woman in my class had a horrible experience related to sexual assault.
Every. single. woman. in. that. class.
And I saw every woman in my self-defense class work through that socialization of don’t be mean, apologize for hurting someone’s feelings (even when they are attacking you!) etc. etc. And it was only by the end of the class that we were all able to stand up for ourselves to protect ourselves from bodily harm. And it was inspiring.
I believe we maintain a state of denial about harassment happening because it’s not as scary if we pretend it doesn’t happen. Because it’s frightening to admit that this happens ALL THE TIME.
But in order for it to change we have to be able to confront it.
And when I mention self defense to the women in my life every single one of them expresses concern along the lines of “I don’t know what to do in the face of an attack”.
Self-defense is really important.
And I feel strongly that every woman should be able to protect herself from harm.
And it makes me sad that society programs women not to protect ourselves.
We have to change as a society.
And women, in the meantime, we have to stand up for ourselves and know that we have the power to protect ourselves.