Tula Drimonis recently, on the wake of International Women’s Day, published an incredibly poignant Huffington Post article.
Today is March 8th, so let me share my own thoughts on this important day–a day we remember women who experienced much of what Drimonis writes about.
Rape culture, this can be a hard concept to explain, but Drimonis does a fantastic job. She describes how the environment around us, the social fabric, has been built as to minimize the impact of rape.
For me, this quote summed it all up: “Rape culture doesn’t mean I live in debilitating fear that a man will rape me the minute I step outside my home, but it does mean I nervously hold my keys in my hand when I walk home late at night.” Rape culture, while working to minimize or downplay rape has had an adverse effect, propagating fear.
I have experienced off-colour jokes about rape, my own body; I have experienced unwanted attention; I have experienced inappropriate approaches from men when I was only a girl. Then, for every experience I have, there are billions of other women who have their own experiences. I am ashamed to say that I feel lucky that my experiences of sexual assault and rape culture have been minimal. I am ashamed that I am happy that what I experienced is less than what others have. That is a hard statement to say.
The saddest part of it is that I have knowingly been a part of rape culture–sharing jokes and laughing off comments. I have continued to perpetuate the idea that it is okay to make light of this issue. it is okay to touch someone inappropriately then laugh it off. Anything is okay as long as it is a joke.
Drimonis has helped me put into words the tingle I get on the back of my neck when I am joking with my own friends. Rape culture is a pervasive issue, and often a passive-aggressive one. It is hard to put our finger on. But, I am gratefully she has–and it is an article I will be sharing with friends from now on.