By now, it is clear that we all can hear the deafening sirens of rape culture blaring through our neighborhoods, communities, sidewalks, and city streets, spilling over into our local schools, college campuses, corporations, and even churches. Yet, sadly, women, who are statistically more apt than men to be sexually assaulted, are dismissed as if they “asked for it” like some bizarre, rape-fantasy coin-operated provocateur or ignored altogether as if their emotionally and physically traumatic stories are annoying late night informercials appealing to our emotions and pockets, but offering nothing of consequence.
What does it say about a society that is more reactive than proactive? What kind of future are we leaving for our progeny if we are only willing to stand up for the rights of women when all other preemptive options are exhausted, and when we are then forced to reluctantly save face or continue to lose millions of dollars of revenue?
Is that our only recourse? Do we not have any more respect for women than that?
A few days after Aretha Franklin’s highly publicized funeral, I’m still reeling from what, based on Ariana Grande’s body language and awkward laugh, had to be one the most unnerving experiences for her as she stood in front of a mega church while being held, what I like to characterize as, captive. All because a man felt the need to clutch her body close to his body and then proceed to crack a joke that really no one should ever say especially in light of the flames turned wildfires of xenophobia being fanned by intolerant bigots and fear mongers.
Men, we can do better than this. We have to do better then this. I’ve told my fiancé, a beautiful Latina and Black woman, before and often remind her, not because she doesn’t know this already, but more so because I want her to know exactly how I feel about her, that she is a sovereign human being who has full power of her being, her body, her mind, her spirit, her beauty, her sexuality, her voice, her everything. Just because we’re in a relationship, it doesn’t mean I own her. Nope. All it means is that we’ve verbalized agreements to one another, agreements that are, in essence, renewed daily barring any termination of said agreements whether directly or indirectly.
I am a man and a feminist in the sense that I believe that all women should be treated equally and equitably as men.