What Happens When You Speak Up About Rape Culture

This week I spoke up about rape culture and in specific three incidences of sexual violence that happened at the college I formerly taught at. I didn’t know facts yet. All I knew is something happened and I inquired to the powers that be to find out more. I wanted to know all the facts. I also wanted to know what the college was going to do about rape culture at the campus.

I guess had it not been the first time a woman was threatened on that campus I may have given the college the benefit of the doubt. But it isn’t anywhere near the first time in eleven years that rape culture has reared its ugly head. It’s common place. And maybe since it’s common place the message is we women should just accept the culture as is.

For questioning them about their response to rape culture? They disabled my email that I used to question them. As if silencing weren’t a rape tactic in itself. I know quite former employees whose accounts are still open. Clearly, it was retaliation.

It disturbs me to my very core to know that last Saturday when my daughter’s gymnastics team was having their final performance as the half-time show at the football game that somewhere within a few feet of me was a rapist who won’t be reprimanded and therefore might graduate unscathed. He’ll just think that’s a normal thing to do–and why shouldn’t he? Rape culture has told him that’s perfectly fine.

It disturbs me that rape culture and its apologists can determine the experience of college for women students. I’ve already heard people say things like ‘was it a date?’ ‘was it physical rape’ (what does that even mean?). It reminds me of when the kid went ballistic in my class and I was questioned of how I perceived it after the administration talked with the thug who threatened me. “His story was radically different.” Well no shit. Of course it was radically different. There’s two parts to sexual violence and harassment. There’s the physical and/or verbal act and then there’s the reaction or non-reaction of the people in power to do something about it. And often the pit in your stomach for dealing with rape culture and its apologists is exactly the same as dealing with the physical violence. They both feel shitty and alienating.

My family of course wants me to calm the f^&k down and I want to too. I don’t have answers. I know virtually nothing about what happened. All I know is that people need to find out what happened. I know the students in this county deserve better. They deserve a culture without rape or rape apologists.

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Since originally writing this in September it’s come to my attention that a number of sports players have been sexually harassing various female employees and helpers at the football games and on other campuses when they’ve visited for games and potential transfer. When, will they get it? Never as long as there is an administration that’s okay with things as they are.

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About margaretelysiagarcia

Margaret Elysia Garcia primarily writes fiction, essays and poetry from a remote corner of the Sierra Nevada. She's currently working on a non-fiction book about plus-sized modeling. She's also searching for a publisher for her new collection of stories? Mary of the Chance Encounters. Her short story collection Sad Girls & Other Stories out now on Solstice Literary Press. She blogs here and at Throwing Chanclas and Girl Body Pride. Is a contributor to Hip Mama Magazine. She writes the zine The Adventures of Sad Girl with her daughter, Paloma. She’s a three-time director of the national Listen to Your Mother Show in Plumas County (www.listentoyourmothershow.com). She has an alternative women’s music show Milkshake & Honey on Plumas Community Radio (www.kqny919.org).
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