So I was listening to BBC radio station one morning and the was a show on discussing the recently surge in kidnappings and killing of women in Jamaica. There was a girl that contacted them through WhatsApp, who was sharing her story and opinions on the issue.
She went on to talk about being terrified to leave her house and how in the back of her mind everyman she goes on a date with might be a potential rapist.
Now I’m screaming at the radio, as she mentions the aggressive nature of Jamaican catcalling, and how they tend to escalate into worse without even she giving them any attention or her addressing them and no one steps up and says anything in condemnation or protest, which I’ve noticed as well and that someone is me at times.
She went on to state percentages and ratios of 7 out 10 friends she have, had been raped.
But she admitted to not having this conversation with any of her male friends, only casually as a news story would present itself.
Now having not being a victim of rape, giving or receiving I set out to get my own insight and figure out the term “rape culture”
The definition of culture based on a google search of which I found two definitions that i would consider close this title;
“…the cultivation of bacteria, tissue cells, etc., in an artificial medium containing nutrients, maintained (tissue cells, bacteria, etc.) in conditions suitable for growth.”
“…the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group.”
This brought me none closer to an comfortable understanding, so I did what I’ve done over the years…I polled my friends, on WhatsApp this time.
I asked Females:
“So…I have a question that might be hard to answer…and it has no personal bearing other than you are a female friend of mine….
Have you ever been raped?
Or anything that could be classified as such??
Do you think we have a rape culture?”
For research and a potential uncomfortable question….Have you every raped or felt you raped another before or after you felt you were in a “rapey” situation?
Do you think we have a rape culture?
I received various answers that lead to some interesting discussions. Some of these answers were unexpected as well as expected, as most of the women did answer yes, they think we do have a rape culture in Caribbean.
These instances would happen whether through a lack of understanding of the consequences of being “sexually persistent or aggressive”, by having some sort of entitlement expected at the end of a date, some were molested as a young child and then there was the situation of being the victim of malicious intent, men preying upon the weak; the premeditated, can’t rationalize, no gray area rape!!
Most of the guys answered in the negative, stating that we don’t have a rape culture…per say but they went on to term it as an “expectation” “persistence” “being a galis” “sexually aggression” “male power culture”…
Here are some of the situations and scenarios that came out of my whatsapp research group;
“Are there more “premeditated rapes” or more “situational rapes”, situational would be where you and a girl are making out and theres an expectation of sex… or consent was given before you’ll start having sex, then during it was rescinded, but he dismissed it as sex talk… or a guy had sex with a girl and for whatever reason after she felt that she was raped or felt that she had to give consent because she was afraid of what would happen if she didn’t .
“What happens to the guy in the situation? Does he continue his life long “raping” spree until he “rapes the wrong girl”, ends up in prison or does he finds redemption by accepting accountability for his actions?
“Do we really talk to girls about how not to get sexually assaulted more than we talk to boys about how to read situations, giving good reasoning about what consent is and that body language is not consent…and to be in control and not ruin two lives…maybe three?
How do we view rape…really??
Can a teenager tell the intricate complex dance… well It can’t be a dance because that would mean some one lead and the other gets dragged around.
Is it more like two advancing armies, where both have things valuable to protect but the value is placed on two totally different things. Do we even have proper conversations about sex and sexual relations as adults much less as teenagers.
When trying to find a mate other than being a “overall nice guy” there’s another criteria I have to fulfill, I have to past the I’m not a “rapist” test??
It seems to me, if I’m being honest that a lot of people have been in some sort of sexual assault/abuse at a young age and either try to figure things out, try to right the ship or protect themselves from being in that situation ever again as they get older, yet people can’t have an honest conversation about it until it’s gets to the extreme.
Now I purposely used the word rape not desensitize but to open the dialogue, with everything in life its never black and white, they are gradients…shades and tones Blood pumps from your heart to different areas of your body through veins and networks and all this is run by the brain, which one you give the most value to, which one you can live without.
I’ve been in situations when I was younger where I felt “rapey”, not to the point of holding down anyone but being with 14year old at 16 and I felt uncomfortable after that I vowed never to be near that awkward uncomfortableness, since then I’m very aware resistance playful or otherwise I’m stopping. I had a girlfriend accused me of not loving or wanting her enough because I wasn’t always trying to sex with her.
I set out to figure out just a term, that I’m still not close to figure out, but I’m left with an understanding yearning to know more about what goes into fixing things, is it as simple as just speaking out…to who it matters most?
Can we start the conversation,
Hi my name is Andre, have you ever been raped
Hi, my name is Suzy bland, are you a rapist?