6 June 2016

20 minutes of action

(Trigger warning: Themes of rape and violence)

A 20 year old man rapes a woman while she's unconscious, sticks something up her while she's unconscious and assaults her.

Even putting aside the bullshit conviction the judge gave him because it might ruin his life (I honestly couldn't even start to say how insane that is as a reason for not convicting somebody properly for rape), the fact that his father laments that "twenty minutes of action" have more weight than the rest of his twenty years has almost rendered me speechless. Or perhaps more aptly, incoherent with rage.

It only takes a moment to king hit somebody and kill them.

It only takes a moment to pull a trigger and kill somebody.

It only takes a moment to hit a woman and break her nose.

It only takes a moment to shake a child badly enough to give them brain damage.

It only takes a moment.

Twenty minutes is a long time. A very long time. It's a lot of moments. A very big lot.

The fact that his father explains away RAPE as "twenty minutes of action" is one of the most fucked up things I have ever heard.

Rape is a deliberate act of violence.  A very deliberate act of violence.

You can't accidentally rape somebody. You just can't.

Whether people like it or not, every time you explain away something as "boys being boys", "it's just what lads do", "they meant no harm by it", "he finds it hard to express himself so he hits", "he did it because he likes you" (and every other bullshit explanation we use to frame boys and violence in a way that is publicly palatable) you are wiring the brains of the boys that become men.

Throw into the mix a society that still likes their men manly (read unable to express emotion, discuss insecurity without judgement, talk about their challenges, profess to emotion, practice kindness and gentleness) and you end up with a bunch of men randomly 'proving themselves' through violence rather than using their words.

Not always violence against women, but often. Too often.

Rape is not "twenty minutes of action". It's a violation of a person's body without their consent. It is ugly. It is painful. It's a criminal act.

I totally get that we make mistakes. That we choose a course of action that we may later have cause to regret. That we do or say things we can not undo. I get that twenty minutes of a life does not fully encapsulate all that you are as a person.

But if in that twenty minutes you RAPE somebody - you are a rapist.

You will always be a rapist. You may be a reformed rapist. You may be a remorseful rapist. You may be a 20 year old male who was hopeful of attending the Olympics when you raped somebody. But you are a rapist.

Rape is not "twenty minutes of action". Twenty minutes of action is when you have consensual sex in a nightclub toilet. Twenty minutes of action is when you consensually shove your tongues down each others throats before parting ways. Twenty minutes of action is soccer or netball or a the filming of a movie.

It's not fucking rape.

And we need to stop telling ourselves that we can't raise rapists. We can. Not deliberately of course, but every time we explain away violent behaviour or reinforce a behavioural response on the basis of gender, we are providing a context to violence that normalises it and which is the reinforced continually.

Rape. Violence. It's not okay.

It's not. It's never okay. At any age.

Ever. Ever. Ever.

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