Whereas I can see McEwan’s point that we’re shifting from victim blaming to bystander blaming, I do think that promoting bystander intervention is a positive step to put an end to rape culture and thereby an end to the prevalence of sexual assault.
Certainly the rapist is the only one ultimately responsible for their actions, for their choice violate another human being; however, peer pressure and a community unwilling to accept such misogynistic and aggressive behavior in the early stages will go a long way to deterring rapists.
Some of the arguments against bystander response is that it’s dangerous for the bystander, which I can see in extreme circumstances if physical violence is the case, but on the other hand, so much of this happens and perpetrators are supported way before the defining moment sexual assault.
Once we stop accepting misogynistic speech, rape jokes, and objectifying other human beings, once we put an end to the idea that one person is entitled sexually to another, once we firmly reject the notion that a woman was “asking for it,” and we do this with every action, word, and thought, that’s when rape culture will begin to end.
To change our culture, it is most certainly on us. #ItsOnUs
Read The Nation article to which I am referring, here.
Read the entire post on Yes Means Yes.
If you want to know what “rape culture” is, it’s a culture where someone could raise this idea and instead of a chill falling over the whole room, the other people either strain to pretend it’s a joke or gleefully join in. If you want to know what “social license to operate” is it’s that the idea that women at fraternity parties are targets to be intoxicated and sexually molested is so powerful that the guy that thought this up not only had friends willing to defend his idea, they agreed to help, and they believed that they would get away with it.
Powerful hashtag and campaign via The White House.
Similar to the things said on this site as well as much of what Thomas has been saying on the Yes Means Yes Blog for the past several years, it is wonderful to see the White House getting behind bystander response and actively working to change our culturally scripted victim-blaming habits.
“When violence against women is no longer societally accepted, no longer kept secret; when everyone understands that even one case is too many. That’s when it will change.”
Contrary to what Michael Moore recently said, maybe Obama will leave a strong legacy after all.
The full article here.
The #it’sonus campaign officially started today. Ironic, since it’s my rapist’s birthday.
I hope this is the beginning of the end of rape culture. I hope it brings about a society were rapists can no longer operate, including mine.
(September 19, 2014) — President Obama today launched It’s On Us, a campaign to reduce rape on college campuses. The president, along with Vice President Joseph Biden, called on students to sign a pledge to commit to helping keep their friends safe.
To survivors of campus sexual assault, President Obama said, “It’s not on you; this is not your fight alone. This is on all of us, every one one of us, to fight campus sexual assault. You are not alone, and we have your back.”
Read more at RAINN and take the pledge.
Join the discussion on Twitter.
More on ItsOnUs.org