Recently, the problem of rape has gained a lot of traction in society and the media. Rape has always been an issue, but the Steubenville rape really brought it out into the eyes of a much wider range of people. While the media has reported on the different angles of the story, albeit a few awful ones, it doesn’t venture much outside of the story itself. Sue Kerr and Ian Finkenbinder argue that rape is a human issue and that it also affects the LGBT community, none of which the majority of media speaks about. We, as a community that is affected by this problem, “should be on the front lines in the army of allies to survivors.”
The first argument the pair makes is one about society’s view, in general, about rape. They argue that we live in a society that “tolerates the atrocities that took place in Steubenville.” This is more widely known as “rape culture”, in which it is normalized and excused. This can be seen in the media and all around. One such instance was Poppy Harlow, a CNN reporter. She, like so many others, commented on how devastating it must be for the two young men who raped the girl and how their lives will be forever ruined. Perhaps it was taken out of context or she wasn’t fully aware of what she was saying, but what is the excuse for the rest? When did this even become acceptable? Why is it still?
The numbers that Kerr and Finkenbinder report are astounding. About 47.4% of bisexual men and 40.2% of gay men experienced sexual violence, not to mention the other categories. The numbers should be nowhere this high. In fact, it should not even exist and rape should not be a problem. What bothers me most, though, is that it is just now gaining attention and the attention is focused on only one case for the most part. There have been countless other victims and victims of all sexual orientations, but there is barely any public wide knowledge on that.
The two argue that “we shift the blame away from rapists and further traumatize the survivors involved” in these situations and I fully agree. It should not be about what someone is wearing, that they were drinking, that they were under the influence, or anything of the sort. It should not be about the end of promising careers.
It should be about the act of rape itself. It should be about teaching the populace that rape is not and never will be okay. It should be about the media taking the right angle or at least the objective stance. It should be about society understanding that this could happen to anyone. It is a threat that we should all fight against, regardless of sexual orientation and political standing.
There are many instances where a fine line and gray area exists.
This is not one of them.