In the past few months we've had a whirlwind of scandals:
2. Nick Carter
The question is: Why do we continue to nod silently at this issue, instead of finding real plausible solutions to punishing those involved severely, getting them help, and preventing these instances in the future?
I'll tell you why.
It's because we don't like to hear about it or know about it. It's traumatic and disheartening. It reminds us how little control we have over our environment. In addition the damage has already been done, and many of us have no idea how to implement real strategies to keep our own communities of women safe. At that point, many of us choose to ignore it.
The first step is awareness. We cannot heal what we refuse to reveal.
There is power in words. Another part of the reason we don't address it has to do with our desensitization to concept as a whole. We use the word rape to refer to mildly unfortunate events in our day to day life, see this article here, as if we do not have other more appropriate words in the dictionary to describe these scenarios.
Then when it is time to use the word rape in proper reference, we use words like sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and unwanted advances to help the idea remain as ambiguous and easy-to-swallow as possible.
We keep smoothing it over as if it is going to go away, and it is not.
So let's call it what it is. It is rape.
It's not a mishap, a misunderstanding, or an unfortunate circumstance. It is rape.
It is a change in livelihood. It is a person who has been killed and left to walk around in the remaining body. It is a person who has to rebuild after their safety net has been shattered. It is a woman looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life. It could turn into PTSD. It has the possibility to prevent the survivor from enjoying any other romantic experience with the man she loves.
Do I have your attention now?
So now that you're aware of the damage that it leaves behind - use the word when necessary and only when necessary so that it pushes us to bring change to our communities.
The word rape brings alarm. It increases heart rate and adrenaline. It calls for action and movement on all of our parts.
Aside from using the word rape in the proper context- we need to listen up to our children. Do not ignore the warning signs. If you don't know them this article explains them clearly. If you think something has happened to a friend you need to speak up. If you see something happen at a college party, you need to speak up.
It's time to make our communities safer for the future and break these horrible patterns.
Because it is rape, and rape is a horrible thing that we have to stand boldly against.
Gabriella Payne is an international motivational speaker, confidence expert, and team building consultant. She works tirelessly to build confidence in girls and women by transforming their mental thought patterns and teaching new, healthier habits. She is also an advocate for the prevention of domestic abuse and teaches a series called "See It Coming".