Rape not victim’s fault, issue of sexism, equality

Ashley Hardwick and Ashley Hardwick

Steven M. Meeks II was found guilty this past week for the rape of two girls, one a 14-year-old and the other a 19-year-old.

After a combined trial, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Reading this article, especially since it happened in my hometown of Canton, I was appalled. However, it was not until I saw a stream of comments on Facebook that I began to address an even greater issue.

The comments made by some of my former classmates defend Meeks, point] blame on the victims and are disturbing.

One guy posted, “Girls do this … all the time. Some girls are attention-whores. They are just as guilty as him, so yeah, they don’t care about ruining someone’s life if it makes them a social butterfly.”

This comment received five likes and instantly my stomach turned.

I assumed the definition of consent was clear, but after reading the remarks by my peers, it is evident that it is not.

The definition of consent is a voluntary, positive agreement between two participants, according to Northwestern University’s Women’s Center.

Let’s simplify this: if someone says “no” once, it’s rape. If alcohol or drugs impair someone and their inability to give consent, it’s rape.

It is never anyone’s fault that they are a victim of rape. That ignorance is a reason many rapes go unreported, and why we’re still fighting for equality today.

It took a lot of courage for the victims to come forth, yet they are being ridiculed and will live with the trauma for the rest of their lives.

Assistant Professor in the sociology department Danielle Kuhl said victim-blaming from the community and peers will result in more psychological effects for the victim.

Not only were the victims put to blame, the courts and the female population were as well.

One student said, “If you’re a dude, you’re screwed. We do not live in an equal world. Guys are second-class citizens.”

Another comment said, “There is a golden egg in the legal system … and it is a woman.”

Kuhl said that in rape cases, the legal system is more in favor of the offender, which is most likely a male, because of the numbers of rapes that go unreported.

According to Rape, Abuse and the Incest National Network, 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported, nine out of every 10 rapes involve a female victim and 97 percent of rapists will never spend time in jail.

Besides these statistics, the individuals are defending a rapist, excusing his actions and saying women “get away with everything.”

Quickly this thread became an issue of equality and sexism and even more quickly, I became outraged.

I was told “these are just opinions. Nobody is right here, nobody is wrong.”

If we lived by this statement now, we would still have slaves, child abuse would simply be a matter of parenting and women would not have the right to vote.

If no one ever spoke up about their opinions or beliefs and simply ‘turned the other cheek,’ nothing in society would ever get accomplished. Nothing would ever change or improve.

Congratulations on putting us three steps behind gaining equality.

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