My day is off to a great start this morning, and it’s all because of this campaign. How heartening it is to watch this video, of men whom we admire the successes of in their various careers, speak out against the crimes facing their sisters, daughters, wives, friends. The use of language is measured, it’s delivered with diction; there is no haltering over the words. The word “rape” doesn’t fall naturally, but it is almost normalised in this video. Not normalised in a sense of ‘off-the-cuff’ commentary, but normalised in a way that says “yes, we know this happens, let’s face up to it and let’s stop it”.
“We have a big problem. And we need your help.”
The campaign may just be initially focused on girls aged between 16-24, and it may completely dismiss the idea that this does not happen to men (which I know many equalitists are going to disagree with; I myself disagree with it). But it’s a start. It is the first time I’ve ever seen the American Government admit that rape exists. And that really makes me enjoy my Cheerios a little more in a morning.
“If she doesn’t consent, it’s rape, it’s assault, it’s a crime. It’s wrong.”
And yes, in the future I would hope that they expand their target audience; that they realise rape occurs across all genders, all ages, all creatures. But for now, I am just extremely excited that this conversation is now officially open. May we use this crack in the door frame to push that door wide open and whilst they’re listening, tell them really what needs to be done.
“This is about respect. It’s about responsibility.”
It’s a start.
How Everyone Can Get Involved
Support all survivors regardless of their gender or identity. Listen to their stories without judging or blaming. Offer to go with them to seek resources and services if they want them.
Speak up if you hear comments that promote violence against women. Be aware of language that you use that degrades women and survivors of other identities. Don’t be afraid to be an active bystander and intervene if you believe violence is occurring and it is safe for you to do so.
Be a role model for healthy relationships. Always treat others with respect and expect the same from others. Mentor and teach younger people to also act as role models.
Join an organization that is working to end dating violence and sexual assault. Don’t have one in your community? Start one!