#EndRapeCulture: The Manifesto
Oftentimes, you are ridiculed. Oftentimes, you are told to “protect yourself”—to not wear those shorts or that dress even when the weather is too hot; to not show “flesh” because it’s a sin—and because you’re tempting the people around you; to not look and feel beautiful—because it seems like you’re trying to flaunt, to show yourself to the world.
Oftentimes, you are told what to do. You are told not to do this, or that. You are told that you’re meant for “better” things, even if better only means safe; even if it does not stir your soul.
Oftentimes, they shame you—tell you you’re being a know-it-all. They say you don’t even know what you are talking about; they say you are living in the past; that you have to move on; think of the “future”; think of this or that—but never yourself.
Take it all in. Take it all in—but do not tolerate.
You do not deserve the BS. You do not deserve this way of thinking. You do not deserve to be someone other than who you really are. You do not deserve to be told what to do. You do not deserve people who do not believe in you.
It is a dangerous world that we’re living in. Politics is even worse. It is not about supporting a candidate, and hating on the other. It is not about “making things big”. It is about seeing the real problem—and it is the fact that we are so ignorant of rape culture. It is about seeing how flawed the system is. It is about understanding that words are weapons—that they can hurt; that they can stir the minds. And if you refuse to see that, then you are part of the problem yourself.
Even if you have not been raped, put yourself in their shoes. Understand that it is not—and never will it be—a joke. Understand that each day, most of us go through the shame of being ridiculed; of being objectified. We walk the streets and some people look at us as if they want to strip us naked—and other people would make us feel ashamed for it. We post photos of ourselves, being confident about it, and some people say we’re being too much—that we should cover ourselves up. Sometimes it comes from women themselves.
Slut-shaming is another problem. Some women feel they are better than others when they have themselves covered up; when they go to church all the time; when they feel like they have earned brownie points for the Lord.
People, in general, use religion as a means to justify things: That we should all hand it over to the Lord; that we often should pray—pray for this country, know that this candidate is whom the Lord wants, know that it’s our duty to “protect” ourselves, to not tempt others.
But, is it, really?
Why are we so keen on using religion as a means to cover the real issues? And furthermore, why do some people use their religion to say that the reason why our country is in the slums, and why women are being raped, is because the Lord is trying to teach us a lesson? That we are not prayerful enough?
Why are others so keen on calling other people stupid just because they do not support the candidate they want? Why do we feel obligated to go with what the society says? Why do we feel obligated to join the bandwagon?
So many people are scared.
So many people don’t know how to speak up—and it’s not hard to understand why.
So many of us have lost the ability to think; to stop being chained to a certain sect of society, to a certain religious belief. So many of us have lost the ability to think for ourselves. We go where people go. We do not create our own paths. And those who do are ridiculed—because they challenge the beliefs of others; because they cannot be “tamed”.
Wouldn’t it be good to live in a world where you would no longer be shamed for what you’re wearing? To tell your children that it isn’t their fault; that they can think the way they want, and dress the way they want, even if it’s what not society says.
Because amidst everything, it’s not just about politics but about the way we think. It’s about how we let the thought of “religion” rule our lives, without even having faith. It’s about perpetuating rape culture—even in the simplest of ways.
Don’t shame. Don’t trivialize it. Do not justify what’s wrong. The end does not always justify the means.
Do not coddle this behavior. Remember that this is bigger than you; that this is bigger than the elections; bigger than your pride.
Do not let others tell you that you have to be ashamed of yourself when you do not believe in them; do not let others stop you from trying to open up others’ minds, and for simply getting the truth out.
Speak up—in any way you can.
Because if you really want to think about the future, you have to start today.
And you have to start with yourself.