Last month, one of my favorite authors – Shannon Hale – brought up the sensitive but pertinent topic of rape culture in our country. She says ” Rape culture is an environment that is conducive to rape.” She talks about how if an upstanding woman gets ambushed and raped, there’s no question that is rape. But things like date rape turns the definition into a gray area. The victim often has to fight just as hard (or harder) to prove herself innocent and the perpetrator. If the woman was drinking, well then she was obviously asking for it. And if she’s married to him, than it’s her duty – not rape. It all stems from the attitude that women are objects there to please men.
Her next post goes into detail on the difference between sex and rape. It boils down to consent. Shannon says “Consent isn’t the absence of a “no;” consent is an unequivocal and enthusiastic YES.” Rape is about power and control, consent is optional. Sex is about an intimate connection. There is a huge difference between the two!
In her third post she goes into more depth about consent. She had some comments debating an enthusiastic yes was needed for consensual sex. If everyone followed her definition, maybe we wouldn’t have the term date rape. I love her point about when a husband wants sex but his wife isn’t in the mood. If he disregards her desire, her voice, because he wants her body – that’s unhealthy. That’s abuse. What does it say about a person who is OK having sex with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with them?
This is an important discussion we should be having with our children, both our sons and daughters. Education is the key to changing behavior and our culture.