A Consequence of Rape Culture
In a shocking turn of events, AK writes about a men’s rights issue
I’ll go ahead and warn you this article has graphic mentions of sexual assault and some strong language. The rest of the article appears under the picture of this cute whale shark.
Many of you may have heard actor Shia LaBeouf’s claim that he was raped during his #IAMSORRY performance earlier this year. For those who do not know, #IAMSORRY was a five day long exhibit where he sat motionless in a chair in a room, with a table covered in props. Visitors were allowed to do anything they liked to him during the performance. You may have seen photos of him with the now iconic “I’m Not Famous Anymore” bag over his head, as shown above. That was a part of this campaign, which he considered penance for plagiarism.
According to LaBeouf, during the performance a woman whipped his legs, stripped him of his clothes, and raped him.
Sadly, the support that the actor deserves has not been awarded to him. Piers Morgan, a journalist and tv personality, tweeted some very terrible things in regards to the incident, seen left. According to this article here, he is also quoted as saying “People are actually defending Shia LaBeouf. The world’s gone mad. He’s invented a supposed ‘rape’ for cheap PR – utterly shameful” in response to fans coming to support LaBeouf.
You may be asking yourself, well why is this such a big deal? You’ve already written an article about rape, how is this any different? The answer comes from a Huffington Post article on the same topic.
One thing you’ll often hear feminists talking about is the existence of “rape culture”. This simply means that we live in a society that benefits the attacker and shuns the victim. Parts of rape culture include victims being encouraged not to come forward, attackers not being prosecuted, the idea that rape is a result of scandalous clothes or too much alcohol, and the idea that men cannot be the victim.
What I mean by that is the fact that our culture is designed for men to be the “alphas”. They are the aggressor, never the victim. As the author of the Huff Post states, “this deeply embedded narrative tells men that they always want sex, from anyone, at any time. And if they get taken advantage of… well aren’t they a lucky one!” So when a male victim comes forward, they are often treated as a joke. What man wouldn’t want spontaneous sex from a willing woman? The dichotomy also works in other directions as well. For instance, a male victim of a male attacker may be taken more seriously, but less than seventeen percent of all male rape victims were taken advantage of by another man.
As a culture, we need to move away from this idea that men cannot be the victims of sexual assault, as well as the idea that women cannot be the perpetrators. My heart goes out to LaBeouf and his girlfriend, who was in line for the performance when the events supposedly took place on February 14th. As Frances Black states, “Shia LaBeouf’s rape claim is a startling reminder to all of us that we must allow male victims a voice, and we must listen.” Those making statements similar to Morgan’s are perpetuating the existence of this rape culture, and those who support the victims and wish to end the silent suffering must be louder than those who wish to uphold the status quo.
I encourage you all to research the ideas of rape culture a little further on your own, and try to understand the harm that comes from it. Hopefully in the future we will not see these gender based stereotypes, and victims will be encouraged to speak up sooner and get the help and justice they deserve.