All these people saying that rape culture doesn’t exist makes me so very, very angry. Like I see it everywhere, tumblr, the media, ect. It makes me mad because I experience it myself, in real life. They ask for evidence, but your evidence is never enough.
I saw other people posting about their experiences on tumblr, and I just don’t understand how they can just gloss over all these examples.
They want examples? Fine.
When I was twelve, I was standing with my dog outside the pharmacy while waiting for my mom to do some shopping. It was late at night, so I stayed close to the store. A van pulled up infront of me, and the passenger’s side window rolled down. The guys in the car asked me for directions to a street I didn’t know. They asked me to come closer and didn’t want to wait for my mom to come out of the store. When she came out, I pointed her out and they took off. To this day, she doesn’t believe me, despite seeing the car and how shaken up I was on the way home when I realized what had happened.
I’d go to my boyfriend’s house sometimes when I was younger, sometimes when I wasn’t feeling so well. I used to feel safe there because my home wasn’t. I told him I was tired and unwell and didn’t want to, but he still forced his hands down my pants. I didn’t know it was rape because I was always told that it has to be penetrative to be rape. He made me feel small because he said ‘I only have a portion of his heart’ because he still loved other girls who never gave him a shot, and I thought he was the best I could get after being bullied by my peers all throughout my life.
He broke up with me because I was suffering from depression and ‘needed to sort out my issues’ and that I should call him when I had them sorted out. I told my mom, and she said he only touched me because I didn’t see him often and he deserved access to my body. She tried to make me go back to him and would trick me into picking up the phone when he called me to try and get me to talk to him. It took her a year to finally stop telling me to go back to him.
Now, that, unfortunately, isn’t the only personal example I have. I went to a DnD campaign with my brother, his girlfriend and two friends. We were campaigning in a public place, so I thought nothing of it. Mid-way through the session, I decide to be cheeky and roll to see if my Orc might be able to successfully flirt and engage in a consensual relationship with an NPC, as there was next to nothing going on. Emphasis on consensual.
Then, one of my brother’s friends chimed up. He asked to roll and see if his character could rape someone. Not find a willing partner. Rape. We told him no and not to say things like that. A few minutes later, he asked to roll to see if he could rape and eat an NPC who was about the size of an eight year old child. Again, we said no and asked him not to say things like that. Later on, he asked for mermaid jerky, and we said no. When he left for a break, I confronted them about why he was even there. They said that ‘he would stop if you ask him to’ and that ‘you get used to it’. I left after that.
I also have a problem with someone calling me. I have no idea who he is, but he spaces out his calls each year. He will call me and ask me the same sexual question once a year around the same time (early February). I have no idea who he is, but he knows my name. For four years, my mother scared me into not calling the police. This year, I called Bell and told them what was happening. They would do nothing because his number was private. I called the police and they would do nothing because his number was private. The officer was so concerned with my safety that she gave me her personal number to call in-case something happened.
My mom found out and she yelled at me. She refused to acknowledge that I was afraid, she refused to change the phone number because it ‘would be a hassle’. My dad didn’t even come out of the other room, he had no comments or consolation to add to the situation. They didn’t help me. They told me I was being irrational and that there is no way this stranger would ever hurt me, not because I was protected, but because strangers never hurt people. That it was okay for this to happen, because he only called every so often.
I got a knife. It is a pocket knife and it is legal in my country to carry. My brother saw it on my desk and took it away from me, holding it out of my reach. Not because he offered any sort of protection himself, but because he insisted that it was illegal and that I could get arrested for carrying it, despite it falling within every definition of legal in my country.
He knew why I was- and still am- scared and he still tried to take away my protection despite my valid reasons for carrying it. I told him that if the police couldn’t protect me, I wanted a tool to protect myself or to escape with. I wanted a knife on me to fend whoever this guy was off if he went beyond phone calls or to use to escape if someone got me. He only gave me my knife back when I told him that I would tell my mom that he’d skipped school.
This is rape culture, these are examples of how it affects people personally. These are examples of how it conditions mothers to excuse rapists and sexual predators, how it convinces mothers to deny what they see themselves and to call their daughters liars. Rape culture is why I have to carry a knife to feel safe when I leave my door, it is why I feel sick to my stomach when I answer the phone to a private number knowing that I have to because it might be someone else, it might be important.