Sunday, November 23, 2014

International Day to Stop Violence Against Women

Today is International Day to Stop Violence Against Women and Bill Cosby's name is flying around the internet.

Sixteen women have now accused Bill Cosby of raping them. Some of the allegations happened many years ago, some not as long.  All of the women have relatively the same story to tell and the reactions to those women's allegations have been varied, though most have leaned toward believing that Cosby is innocent. I'm not surprised.

I don't know for sure if Bill Cosby raped those women, but what I do know for sure is that there are countless studies out there that prove that less than 8% of women lie about being raped. That means AT LEAST 92% of them are telling the truth.  Some studies say it's as few as 3%.

That means that somewhere between 92% and 97% of women are TELLING THE TRUTH about some man holding them down against their will and raping them. Most rapes are never reported at all.

US studies show that the majority of rapes go unreported because women are afraid that they will 1.) not be believed  2.) be forced to press charges and be subjected to a trial where they will have to tell the story of their assault publicly  3.) they knew their rapist and are afraid to press charges.(These statistics came from the Department of Justice. The CDC has unreported cases as much higher.)

What that boils down to is that women who have had a man force himself on them are afraid. IMAGINE THAT!

I had to go to therapy for anger and trust issues. Rape is one of those things that no amount of anger management is ever going to cure me of being nose bleed mad about. Men have no right to stick their penis in a woman who says NO.  The end. 

I don't care how she's dressed.  I don't care how she talks. I don't care how much she's had to drink. I don't care if the man knows her or if he doesn't.  I don't care if she bends down and twerks in the street, a man has no right to rape a woman if she says NO.A man has no right to drug a woman and give her no opportunity to say, "No."

We live in a culture that tells our daughters that women walking a catwalk in their panties on National TV is sexy and worthy of a moment of our time. We live in a society that subtly shows our daughters that beauty is an external quality to be applauded, showcased, coveted but that also mocks women who use their sexuality as a weapon or tool for monetary success. We live in a society that tells our daughters that they are ultimately little more than the caliber of husband they can catch.  

We live in a society where a man whose body is an athletic machine can beat down a woman in an elevator and a sports organization believes it is OK to cover it up. Some less researched people even thinks it's relevant that she swatted at him after he spit on her and try to equate that action with a professional athlete beating a woman into unconsciousness. 

We live in a society where Roman Polanski, a well know movie director, can admit to drugging and sodomizing a 13 year old girl and Hollywood, for the most part, still applauds his artistic merit and believes he should be allowed back in the US.  

We live in an era where we still must discuss that men have no right to place their hands on a woman unless she asks him to do so and vice-versa.

And it is PISSING ME OFF. I'm so mad. I'm angry that people are assuming that the SIXTEEN women who have come forward and said that ONE MAN raped them are lying. I'm angry that for years the allegations were ignored and that some unknown comedian's jokes are the only thing that brought their stories to the light of day. 

I'm angry that very few are mentioning that each of these women say they were raped at the height of this man's fame and fortune, where countless tales show us that he will be protected while she will be ridiculed and mocked if she dares to come forward (Bill Clinton and Roman Polanski, anyone?). I'm angry that the length of time they have remained silent is being questioned as though time is an indication or measurement of truth.

I have a friend who was raped many year ago. At that time, she told no one. She told no one because she was afraid. Afraid of the stares and the jeers and the mocking. Afraid that her parents may not believe her since she was afraid to tell them right away because they knew him and thought he was "a nice guy". 

Many years after she was raped, she shared the story with me and a few close friends and my heart broke for her. The part of me that is darker than I would like spent a few days after she shared her story with us trying to find him until my friend found out and begged me to back off.  So I did, but I was angry because I am a real estate broker by trade. If you have an address, I can find you and some part of me wanted this man to pay for what he'd done to my friend when she was only thirteen years old. 

Angry that my friend, or any woman, would ever feel as though they should feel shame from a man who has to force someone weaker than him for sex to feel powerful.  I am angry that my friend still doesn't feel safe enough to scream her story from the rafters and know...KNOW...that she will be believed. I am angry.

Here's a note:  Any man who would rape a woman is not a man at all. They are pathetic and weak and deserve nothing more than the worst from those of us who are not weak in the face of things that are dark and twisted.

Any man who questions, even for a moment, if a woman "deserves" to be raped should be tied naked to a post and have that same woman shove a large stick up his rectum until he rethinks his position. 

That sounds harsh, doesn't it? But, that's exactly how a woman feels when a man rapes her. I know because I have a friend who described it to me as she cried. 

The world can't imagine tying a man up and violating him in such a way, but has the nerve to shrug their shoulders and question the woman's validity when she says that she was raped. It makes no sense. 

I imagine it wouldn't take long for him to rethink and I'd also imagine he'd be less than thrilled to have others know what happened to him. Think he'd want to stand up in court in front of his friends, his family, his co-workers and recant the story of having that woman hold him down and ram a stick up his butt while he begged her to stop? While he bled? 

Yeah. I didn't think so, either. I'd imagine rape statistics would plummet if rapist reaped what they sowed.

That scenario might create a clearer picture of why a woman doesn't step forward, too.  

Rape is uncomfortable to talk about. Injustice is always uncomfortable because we must face the ugliness of our world and our part in it. We are forced to face the horrors that human beings can inflict on one another and that is never easy. But, we can do the hard things. We can stand up and refuse to bend.

We can purge the saying "boys will be boys" from our vernacular. We can rid our young men of the thought, even for a moment, that they have no control over their bodies and their minds. We can raise our boys to be men of honor and respectability. We can expect our men, young and old, to understand that when a woman says no, that means no. We can expect it.

Here's to hoping the truth about Bill Cosby comes out. And if he didn't rape those women, then I'll apologize for siding with the 92% to 97% of women who do come forward that are telling the truth about men who forced sex on them against their will. For now, I'm gonna go with the stats. 

And to all you women out there (studies say it could be as high as 1 in 6 women) who didn't come forward:  I'm sorry that even for a moment you were ashamed of something that wasn't your fault. I'm sorry that some broken man took something from you that you didn't want to give him.

I'm sorry that you believed no one would hear you, believe you.  I'm sorry.  YOU are the victim and I'm sorry.

We are raising two girls who will one day be women and this is what we're teaching them in our home:

Women don't get their value from men. Women don't get their value from their children or their parents or their brothers or their church or their job or anything else on this planet.  Women get their value because they are made in the image of God.  They get their value because they are breathing.  Period. 

It's time that we stand up and demand that the assaults on women stop.

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