The title of this post is a tongue twister, I know! Well, to simplify, this post is about rape and most people. Most people know that rape is bad. Most people probably have no plans of raping anyone either. Most people, like most of us, are just bystanders. We have nothing to do with heinous crimes like that. Well, think again. As long as we belong to a society where things like these happen, we can do things that can affect other people.
To Intervene or not to Intervene
We often take for granted that bystanders can have a major role to play. The following video I first saw on Upworthy shows scenarios of men trying to pick plastered young women at a bar. People react differently, but see the difference it can make to a person’s life and family.
Standing up can take a lot of courage. In this video, what I find really amazing is the part where people started cooperating with each other after a few women started responding to the scenario.
Blaming the Victim
But more often, we aren’t even there when it happens. Still, even our perceptions play a major role.
I know someone who was raped in her friend’s car. She didn’t want to report the incident to the authorities because she felt that she will subject herself to further shame and judgement if she did so. People will just ask her why she was in the guy’s car in the first place.
This dilemma is very unfair to women. Rape victims are often doubly victimized. And we “bystanders” can play a role in rape victims’ double victimization–victimized by their rapists and by society that often looks negatively upon them. Rape, sex without consent, is never the choice of the person who is without consent. Nothing–looks, behaviour, demeanour, nor clothing–can ever be an excuse for violating someone. I totally agree with this poster:
(There are some guys who may say that it’s not their fault that they are tempted either, and I agree. Being tempted isn’t a choice a person makes. However, what a person does regarding the temptation is a decision.)
The overpowered need empowerment. Rape victims are more than what has happened to them. I hope we could have a society that can help them believe in that.