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Changing Perspective

by Sarah Cook 4 years ago in feminism
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300,000 reported rapes a year in the US alone. Let's break that down.

We all see the statistics of how many women report being raped, assaulted, and harassed each year. But what we fail to recognize in this verbiage is that for every one woman who got assaulted, there's a (statistically speaking) man COMMITTING assault.

Ninety-one percent of sexual assault victims are women. Nine percent are men.

It is reported that 96 precent of people committing sexual violence each year are men. Four percent are women.

Yearly, it's estimated that 321,500 people are sexually assaulted.

We report this VERY passively. Let's look at 91 percent of that number: 292,565.

This is how it's reported: approximately 292,565 women are raped each year. See how passive that is? It's like saying "300,000 people got a migraine this year." Like it's just a thing that happens.

So, let's take away the four percent of that number who are women sexually assaulting other women and focus on the 96 percent of assault that's done by men. Now we're at around 280,859.

Now, I clearly have NO way of knowing how many of these cases are repeat offenders or just one-time things. But let's just assume every man in that group slipped up ONE time and let's report it that way.

"280,859 men assaulted or raped women this year."

Which one makes it seem like a problem that's serious and can be changed? And which makes it seem like it's just a thing that has to happen to women? (Also, remember that's YEARLY. So, in my 34 years on earth, I could say, "9,549,206 men have raped women." Again, that's assuming it's only one assault per man who does it. But just think about that. Nine million REPORTED in my lifetime. In AMERICA. This isn't taking into account anywhere else in the world)

I love men, I know men, most of my very favorite people in this entire world are men. The VAST majority of men aren't like this. This is in no way trying to take away the pain of men who have been assaulted, nor is it trying to lump all men into the same category.

But, if you have been paying attention lately, I'm sure you've noticed all of the "Me Too" posts. Take a look. Then look at the comments on your friend's pages. Take a minute to look at the sheer volume of them. From women just like me and from women who are NOTHING like me.

Women who are smart, and capable, and strong, and funny, and irreverent, and boring, and silly, and stuffy, and stupid, and educated, and ignorant, and observant, and rich, and poor, and black, and white, and Latina, and Asian, and every race possible. Straight women, gay women, Christian women, Muslim women, Atheists, Pagans, Wiccans.

I could go on and on and on. It is a problem. It is an epidemic. It's not about Hollywood, and it's not about D.C., and it's not about boardrooms, and it's not about retail stores, and it's not about safe spaces, and it's not about hiking trails. It's about real women, from every walk of life. It's about practically every woman in your life who heard the news of Weinstein that brought this to light and thought, "Well...yeah. Duh. Why are men acting surprised?"

Instead of support though, I've seen, "Well, why didn't you say something sooner?" or "Well what about so & so who did this too?" or "I don't do this so there's no way I can believe it."

Men, it's not a political thing. It's not misandry. It's not a witch hunt to take down men. Some of the most supportive people in my life are strong, funny, intelligent, kind men. And you guys can make a change. Not by changing YOUR behavior. But by opening up to see what goes on all around you. You can change by supporting women who have been through this. You can change by calling out your friend or colleague or stranger on the internet. You can change the ENTIRE conversation by not turning it into a political thing. By not saying, "You shouldn't have been in that room with him." You can change the discourse by shutting it down when you see some jackass start deviating from the fact that men, by and large, are THE biggest threat to women.

Stop saying, "Women get raped" and say, "Men rape women." Change the direction. We can do it on our own, but damn, we sure don't want to. Protect YOUR gender by shutting down those who sexually assault women (and other men). And please, help me protect my gender. Not because you have a daughter, or you respect your mother, or because you'd hurt someone who did this to your sister. Just do it because we're human. And we deserve it. And so do you.


About the author

Sarah Cook

Florida native. Wine Drinker. Beard Lover. Dachshund Obsessed. Swell kind of gal.

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