I’ve actually had this post lurking in my drafts section for a couple of months. Every time I feel strong emotion I find myself feverishly firing out ideas as a form of catharsis. I’ve been wanting to express my views on this matter for a while now, but have been really anxious about tackling such a widespread and important issue.
Casual reference to sexual violence or exploitation is something that fills me with rage. When I snap at those who are careless with their terminology, I’m branded a “feminazi” or told that I shouldn’t read so much into things.
The reality is, in The UK 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted during their lives, with low conviction rates. Men are also subject to abuse, with statistics being so hard to gather due to unreported incidents. It makes me feel sick to think that males are ashamed to report rape. It is horrific that those who do are told that men can’t be raped, or even that they should feel fortunate that they have had a sexual encounter.
Supposedly, the government are putting measures in place to combat the increase report of sexual abuse and the downward spiral in rape convictions.
Here are some protective measures I think should be brought in to emphasise the importance of consent and tackle the rape issue.
1) Advertisers should have more responsibilty
It angers me profusely that advertisers get away with misogyny and prejudice. They should hold responsibility for the message that they promote and be held for account if they push illegal activity.
Recent uproar occurred when a Leeds club released a promotional video encouraging males to come along to take advantage and “violate” female freshers. One male even suggested that someone was going to “get raped”.
In my opinion, the club should be closed down & those who commented in the video should be placed on a course to educate them about consent.
2) Crack-down on violent pornography.
Porn is so hard to restrict but is very easily accessed. Anyone can access violent explicit material at the click of a button. The perception of what sex is really like has been skewed by set-up scenes within pornography. In real life situations it’s not acceptable to molest someone while they are sleeping or participate in gang rape, for example.
Whilst I find it disturbing that this material has blurred the lines between fantasy and real life, I understand that censorship is not the way forward. Instead, I think it should be compulsory for companies to show a message from the actors at the start of each video. They should announce that the scenes are fake and that they have CONSENTED to be involved in sexual activity.
3) Education on consent
It is a complete mystery to my why it is not compulsory to teach students about consent in schools. If you teach children how to treat others, there will be no “blurred lines”. The new generation will know that rape is not a gray area, and that no always means no.
The general public should be further educated on consent. There are still people that believe that if a woman dresses provocatively that they deserve to be raped. I am ashamed to say, I personally know of cases of people being taken advantage of when drunk – if someone can’t consent to sex, they are being raped.
As well as this, discussion of rape and sex will help victims. Many people don’t know that forced digital or oral sex counts as rape, so don’t report it. I don’t think there is enough information on help for victims either, it’d be great if the government advertised more widely about support groups.
I really hope that there will be improvements in attitudes, rape offences and convictions. I want to stand up and make people notice that trivialising something so important is not acceptable. If you want to help tackle this issue, here are some charities that I’ve been looking into.
If any of you have any ideas of getting involved in anti-rape campaigns or charities, then do please let me know. It is a cause I really want to help. If you want to e-mail me about the issue, pop me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org