Some people are born to change the world. Others change the world by a twist of fate, forcing them to step into the spotlight and speak for those who for any number of reasons, cannot do so themselves.
Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement, by #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, was published last month. Born in the Bronx, Burke was sexually assaulted as a girl. Believing that she was at fault, she let the shame settle into her emotional bones and change her. She thought it could be simply hidden away and life would simply go on. But the experiences would force her to not just confront her own past, but how other women have lived with similar traumatic experiences. She specifically explores how those responsible for such heinous acts are often given a free pass. At the same time, their victims must live with the scarlet letter that is forced upon them for something they were not responsible for.
This book should be on every must-read list of 2021. In telling her own story, Burke speaks for the millions of women across the world, past, and present, who were called all sorts of names simply because some man thought they were there for his sexual pleasure. By calling out those who would shelter sexual predators and supporting those who have suffered, she is challenging all of us to break the status quo and make assault/rape the criminal act it should have been all along.
Cancel culture is the rage these days. Depending on who one speaks to, it has either gone too far or not far enough.
The latest target is Pepé Le Pew, the overly romantic French skunk from the Warner Brothers cartoon whose passionate overtures always fail. The claim is that he encourages rape culture by forcing himself on whatever female character is nearby, regardless of whether or not she is looking for love.
I am all for dismantling rape culture. Frankly, it should have been gotten rid of a long time ago.
However, for once, I have to disagree in regards to the cancellation of this particular character. Any adult watching this cartoon knows that it is satire. We all know how it ends. His attempt once again backfires more and it is onto the next potential partner.
From a parental perspective, I understand the concern. If that is the case, it is up to the adults to sit their children down and explain why this behavior is wrong. Cancelling everything that is outdated or disapproved of will not change things. That requires open conversations and the difficult task of taking an honest look at the darker aspects of our collective histories.
This book is brilliant and a must read for anyone, regardless of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. It throws off the old ideas of about women and the misconceptions of our sexuality. By throwing off these ideas, it forces readers to take a hard look at how women’s sexuality is viewed and what must be done so rape and sexual assault becomes a thing of the past.
Rape culture is an ugly, pervasive part of the human culture.
The new book, Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, edited by Roxane Gay, is an anthology of stories about rape and sexual assault. While there is a diversity of contributors (including actress Gabrielle Union and writer Amy Jo Burns), the message is clear. Instead of being heard and those accused of sexual assault given their days in court, the contributors were shamed, discredited and bullied in response of being raped and sexually assaulted.
This book is nothing short of amazing and a must read for every adult. It brings the truth about rape and sexual assault into the light in a way that is unflinching, hard-hitting and in your face. It forces all of us to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we will continue to allow such horrific acts to happen or if we will finally, as a culture, do something about it.