For the past few months I’ve been struggling with the right way to write a blog post about this topic. I mused writing about the historical significance, about society’s views on rape, and even about writing my own experiences. Then yesterday I read four words that have made me more disgusted than perhaps anything I’ve ever read: “her rape went viral.” What kind of society do we live in that this would be even remotely okay? I’m referring to the events that surrounded 16 year old Jada who was not only raped and that rape posted all over the internet, but people turned that rape into a joke.
Rape is NEVER a joke. There is no part to any person’s violation that is funny. There is no variance, no grey area here; it is black and white: NOTHING about sexual assault is funny. If you think that it is then you are what’s wrong with society.
The amount of women in my life, including me, that have been sexually assaulted is staggering. These are women of every ethnicity, age, religion, and creed; all who have been victims of some version of sexual assault. As I said above though, there is no grey area; there is absolutely no scenario where sexual assault is justified. Yet we live in a society where a rape culture is alive and rampant. Remaining silent about rape culture, ignoring it because it makes us feel “uncomfortable” is doing a disservice to the women who have been assaulted. (That being said, I know a lot of women out there who don’t share their assaults for their own personal reasons and I respect that.)
There was a part of me that thought putting this on my anthropology heavy blog wasn’t the right avenue. The reality is rape culture has everything to do with anthropology which at its core is the study of people. If we teach boys from a young age that women’s bodies are not objects, that you can’t treat them like garbage then we can eliminate this rape culture. Yet here we are talking about a 16 year old who had her assault splayed out on the internet and instead of people taking it down or reporting it, they shared it and made fun of it.
Jada though didn’t ignore it, didn’t just retreat into herself (like I did), she stood up for herself and shared her story with the world. That’s when the movement started to #standwithJada. This young girl is braver at 16 than I am at 24. No more though; no more will I simply keep my mouth shut about what happened to me 5 years ago. No more will I allow my experiences to scare me into thinking that I did/am doing something wrong by talking about it. I will stand with Jada and all the other women/girls out there who have had to go through this.
Image part of the #jadacounterpose hashtag on twitter from user @taasa
Samantha (Sam) Curtin is a Geospatial Information Science Graduate Student at University of Maryland and a Penn State Anthropology Alum. She has a passion for horror, dark fantasy, anthropology, technology, and religion. By day, Sam is a technical editor for the federal government. Her first books "Dark Cell," "Deal with the Devil," and "Summer's Hollow" are available on Amazon.com. All are published through her publishing company “Behind the Curtin Publications.”