Yea son, I get it. It’s crazy, right? Everywhere you turn from your timeline to your favorite news channel there’s another man getting accused of sexual harassment or rape. Stories like:
“He groped me!!!”
“He said ***insert comment*** to me
“He pulled his penis out in front of me!!!”
The last one for the life of me I cannot understand why it’s the most popular but unfortunately these stories are real. Real like when your mother came home from work pissed as hell but wouldn’t explain to you why type real.
Yea see, it’s probably hard for you to still understand because if you’re like me and was born before the year 1988, then my friend you have been raised in what is called “Rape Culture.” What is rape culture you may ask? Here you go according to Webster:
noun: rape culture
- a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.
Yea I get it homie, I truly do. To place your own name anywhere in the same sentence as “rape” is a pretty heavy concept to accept. Since childhood we as young males were raised to believe that the term “rapist” meant “lame no–sex getting homeless crazed pervert who stalked women in dark alleys.” Plus the word “sexual” was something you watched on Cinemax after midnight and “harassment” was the annoying Aunt who came to visit for Christmas.
Now see, I can feel you getting tense, uneasy, defensive, angry and some of you a bit shook but trust it was hard for me to grasp also. There were actions that I myself if not participated in then most definitely celebrated or turned a blind eye to.
“A yo, let’s get these hoes drunk tonight!!!”
Son, statements like these are all types of wrong! I personally lost count of how many times in college on a Friday night on campus I walked passed a group of dudes on their way to the liquor store for that purpose. And yea, I get it, in college or any place we all love to party but purchasing alcohol for the single purpose of taking advantage of someone is a heavy contribution to rape culture itself, Hell it IS rape!!! Of course the common reply then and now has always been:
“I mean them chicks knew what they were getting themselves into!!!”
Are you sure about that my G?!! Was she coherent enough to give her consent? Was she truly in control of her actions? Think hard about it. Were you overbearing in your pursuit that night to the point where she might have given in over fear? Did you hide a camera without telling her? Did you allow your man to go into that room knowing she was unconscious? You see, these are the type of actions that as men we should never have to ask afterward and should have been educated on the evils of this type of entitlement but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
For the clueless or totally not hip, I’m not talking about AmTrak or the local subway. I’m talking about that way too popular physical activity where there’s more than one guy engaged in sexual intercourse with one woman. I could never myself get with Trains because the idea of getting naked in front of another dude was never the sexual experience I wanted to have in my memory but I judge no one on how they get down…..if it’s all consensual!!!. However; if afterward, you said key statements like: “It was dark and I forced her head down while my mans got it from behind with her not knowing blah blah blah…..” then son, you wrong as fuck!!!
I know you’re thinking “Damn, ain’t nobody doing all that.” Well, maybe it’s a tad lighter, like when the woman would get champagne poured on her without knowing or getting her bra snatched off in any Dr. Dre/Snoop/Roc-A-Fella video. Yea cousin, those songs might have been classics but the imagery of what they promoted contributed to rape culture heavy. Trust me, as a hardcore Hip Hop advocate who has always and will forever promote freedom of expression that still doesn’t take away from the effects of those freaknik Uncle Luke vids. Classic comedy movies like the frat classic Animal House, where a character in the movie has the devil and angel on both shoulders and he’s strongly considering having sex with a drunken girl who was CLEARLY passed out was the highest level of rape culture.
On a personal note revelation was a struggle because I have had close friends who’re lives were ruined because of allegations of sexual misconduct or rape, some were even innocent(I know this from the accusers themselves, but that’s another story for another time) but it doesn’t negate the fact that accepting negative behaviors should never be normalized. My earliest memory of teachings with young girls was to “smack them on the butt so they know you like them.” Now think about that for a second, in order to show affection I must grab this young girl in a private area that does not belong to me in order to show my affection. As a youngster, if by chance I did not want to grab the young girl’s butt then I would be considered “gay” and would have to face the wrath of an already homophobic black community. Our entitlement was nurtured from birth while some of us acted on it while the rest ignored and accepted the actions of those who did.
When your female friends tell you about Rape Culture, do yourself a favor and listen. I don’t care how woke you claim to be; listen. Doesn’t matter if you have never been in any situation that you feel was reckless, still, listen to her story. Trust, I get also as a black man who has faced countless racism that it may be hard to digest the fact that you have had any privilege in a country kills you for wearing a hoodie, however; there are still levels of discrimination that we have been excluded from because of our gender. Even if you’re a proud progressive like myself, swallow your pride and open your ears with positive intention to learn how to do better for the future and not live out our past.