On Rape

At this point in time, the following links can discuss this more eloquently than I can. Please take the time to read these excellent posts. Rape, and all forms of sexual assault, are extremely serious acts that can destroy lives. Sadly, there are countless myths, stigma, and misconceptions about rape, rapists, and victims of sexual assault. This has led to a society in which rape is material for entertainment, jokes and derogatory slang, a world in which victims are blamed or accused of lying while their attackers go unreported and unpersecuted.

From Melissa at Shakesville: Rape Culture 101. http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/10/rape-culture-101.html

(In contrast, to see how rape culture and victim blaming can be perpetrated and affirmed by a high-profile journalist, see Margaret Wente’s article on the Slut Walk).

On rape jokes, and why they are never funny. From Harriet at Fugivitus.
http://www.fugitivus.net/2009/06/24/a-woman-walks-into-a-rape-uh-bar/

Canadian statistics on rape:

    • One of every 17 Canadian women is raped at some point in her life
    • A woman is sexually assaulted by forced intercourse every 17 minutes in Canada
    • Girls and young women between the ages of 15-24 are the most likely victims
    • 80% of assaults happen in the victim’s home
    • 70% of rapes are committed by a perpetrator who knows the victims (relative, friend, neighbour, colleague, or other acquaintance)
    • Approximately one half of all rapes occur on dates
    • 62% of victims are physically injured in the attack; 9% are beaten severely or disfigured
    • Statistics Canada has found that one in four girls and one in eight boys have been sexually abused by the time they are eighteen

The above statistics have been taken from various studies across Canada.  While the numbers can never been 100% accurate, a few key  generalizations can made:

  1. Sexual assault is far more common than most would suspect. If you think you can get away with making a rape joke or using rape as a derogatory slur because no survivors of sexual assault are nearby, think again.
  2. Relatively few incidents of sexual assault are reported to the police.
  3. Young and otherwise vulnerable women are most likely to  be sexually abused.
  4. Most sexual assaults are committed by someone close to the victim, not a stranger.
  5. All people are potential victims, regardless of gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, education or physical description.

On Consent

Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention.

If you are in a situation where you are giving or asking for consent, remember the following:

  • Consent is not transferable. It must be given EVERY TIME you engage in a sexual act with a partner. Just because they said yes last time, doesn’t mean they want to this time.
  • A partner may consent to one sexual act, but not to another. Don’t assume what another person is willing to do – ask every time.
  • If violence or threats are used to gain consent, the consent is not valid.
  • If the person giving consent is intoxicated, the consent is not valid.
  • NO MEANS NO the FIRST time. If a partner says no one time, stop asking.

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