I just have a few questions about rape culture. . .

Women are obliged to ask themselves many things in a world controlled by men

Protest signs at the commencement ceremony at Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California. Photograph: Getty Images

Protest signs at the commencement ceremony at Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Why are cases like that of Brock Turner still happening so frequently? Why do his statement and his father’s letter make me so angry that I can feel my blood boil? Why is this attitude entrenched so deeply in society? Why are “rape culture” and “victim-blaming” buzzwords in 2016? Why has the word “feminist” become dirty and insulting? Why is “misogyny” part of our vocabulary? Do you know what “misandry” means? If not, why not?

Why can we not scroll through our Facebook feeds without seeing yet another story where empty excuses are presented by powerful lawyers to justify brutal harassment, assault and rape?

Why is it normal for me to feel so relieved that the evenings are now brighter, so I can stay out and walk home later?

Why have I spent hours trying to decide which item to spend my money on: a pretty customised rape alarm? Pepper spray? Both? Why do so many of my friends think these items are a brilliant idea and are planning to buy one?

Why do I walk with my keys jutting outwards between my fingers? Why does my heart start pounding in my ears and my breath catch in my chest every time I see a figure approaching in the dark? Why do I wish that the lights were brighter in my estate? Why do I secretly wish I could carry a gun to defend myself?

Why am I so self conscious that the writing on my T-shirt is stretched across my chest? Why is it considered acceptable for a waitress to be asked by a group of men; ‘do you run?’ Why did they laugh and say ‘good’ when she said she didn’t? Why did she find herself pressed up against the wall of a nightclub by a man who was exposing himself to her? Why did his friends gather around and laugh? Why is it considered funny when a man shouts across a bar in the middle of the day exactly what he would do to me if he brought me home?

Rape prevention

Why do my friends and I spend hours poring over these questions and imagining an alternative world? Why do we tell each other we are jealous of the power, privilege and priority men hold? Why are we told by everyone, starting with our parents, that “it’s just the way the world is”?

Why are there not more men coming to the defence of women? Do they not have mothers, sisters, daughters, wives? Why do a lot of men dismiss us as man-hating, whiney, over-sensitive?

Why is the experience of being a man so many worlds apart from being a woman? Why does the idea of bringing a daughter into today’s world terrify me? Grace O’Shea is an Irish Times reader

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