Our world is obsessed with RAPE
"Rape is forced, unwanted sexual intercourse"
- Recently many people have been discussing the brutal 6 person gang-rape of a women on a public transit bus in India who was also assaulted with an iron bar andsuffered severe internal injuries that eventually proved fatal.
- People are discussing the incident in Thunder Bay Ontariowhere a women was raped by 2 men, beaten and left to die in the cold. There are suspicions that this particular case was a response to the world wide Idle No More movement. Whether that is true or not violence against aboriginal women in Canada is nothing new, simply look at the action of Families of Sisters in Spirit and the countless vigils that are held within the Aboriginal Community.
- In California…I’ll let the article opening paragraph speak for itself “A California appeals court overturned the rape conviction of a man who authorities say pretended to be a sleeping woman's boyfriend before initiating intercourse, ruling that an arcane law from 1872 doesn't protect unmarried women in such cases.”
RAPE is SEXUAL ASSAULT
Rape is categorized as sexual assault. To me, it is one of the worst kinds of violence as it negatively impacts a very intimate and personal part of our lives. But why…why does this happen? Why is sexual assault inherent within so many of our institutions (the notorious cases in Indian Residential Schools and pedophile priests in the Catholic Church to name a couple)? This is serious. This is deadly serious. When I type "rape" into google, one of the four drop down suggestions (which I assume they drop down because they are the top search terms that begin with that word) is ‘rape jokes’. Let me assure you, this issue is no joke.
LETS TALK ABOUT SEX
We need to discuss what is at the root of this problem: SEX. It is considered a human need in Maslow’s Pyramid and is at the base, along with food and shelter. If it is a need, then sex in adults is an inevitability. If it is unavoidable that adult humans have sex, then we have to think about how we talk about sex in the first place, how we educate our young people as they physically grow into sexually capable adults. This sexual deviance and violent behaviour is a global problem. Many tie this issue with patriarchal government systems enforcing male dominance and belittling women. It could be a result of the shaming, blaming and glorifying of sex in the media. It could be the influence of Hollywood or musicians that promote hypersexualized images for all of us including our children to consume, but especially for our women to mimic. The point is, by not having this human need met, people act out in deviant ways. We have to find a way to address the core issue somehow.
WHAT IS THE RESPONSE?
In my experience, the people I have spoken to on this issue agree that rape is horrendous. Even more horrendous are communities/laws that stand by and allow these types of attacks to continue. To me, the root of the problem isn't that rape is happening, its that there are very few hard lines drawn in the sand from public laws/officials or our media that address the glorification of hyper sexuality and lack of appropriate legal responses to these crimes. Letting rapists off the hook because of a law made about unmarried women in 1872 is not the answer. In India, the response being talked about includes “tougher laws, including the death penalty and chemical castration for rapists”. In Canada, some people have called for the legalization of prostitution and stiffer penalties for those convicted of sexual assault. I am in favour of stricter legal penalties for individuals who perpetrate these types of crimes. The fact that rapes continue to happen and our legal system is constantly failing is sending a strong message to these particular criminals that it is acceptable or ok to behave in this way and there will be no significant consequences.
Raping Your Mother… is not ok
Not only do we in Western society, perpetuate and encourage this concept that RAPE is acceptable on an individual to individual level, but through our government and our natural resource industry, promote the raping of mother earth. People are uncomfortable with this term but I must call it like I see it. When big machines rip up natural habitats, pollute water, and leave huge open-pit excavations in previous wetlands or caribou habitat with the purpose of penetrating and extracting 'wealth' from our Mother earth, is rape. This is happening with no long term consideration on the environment, our water or our animals. Raping a women is wrong. It is wrong because our women are our life givers, our mothers and our sisters. I truly feel it is my job as a man, to stand up for our life givers and protect them from violence, especially sexual assaults and rape. But as a citizen of the world, I acknowledge the greatest life giver: mother earth. With natural resource projects, local and foreign, becoming part of the ‘Canadian Dream’ according to Stephen Harper, Canada is set to become one of the energy super powers of the world.
Sounds awesome right? WRONG!
If we continue to disrupt our lands and waters with natural resources soon our water supply will be in even more jeopardy. If we continue to eliminate the natural habitats of our animals like caribou, the livelihood of many Cree people and communities is left no habitat in which they can survive. In Alberta, the Lubicon Cree have 2 oil wells in existence per Lubicon person. There are talks right now now of a large scale natural resource project in the Arctic, from a Chinese corporation before the Senate. Seeingtheir attitude and commitment to protect the environment is dwindling with eachnew bill (CLICK HERE) I see more and more opportunities for the raping and pillaging of mother earth to continue.
I will not allow this
I will not stand by while women in our communities are falling victim to violent sexual assaults. Its not ok here, its not ok overseas, and it certainly isn’t ok when we do that to mother earth either. I'm getting involved with young women in my community to talk about how important their safety is to me, and meeting with young men and women to talk about healthy sexual relationships. I am going to keep an eye on the cases that are currently in the public eye, raise awareness on the issue where I can and react in cooperation with women and young people to take action. I am getting involved in Idle No More because I do not believe we should be legislating even more opportunities to rape our mother earth for the sake of money. Money cannot be eaten, it lacks the nutrients our bodies need to live, true story. If you choose to get involved in protecting our life givers after hearing what I have shared, I say Biindiigen (welcome).
I am standing with our women, and with mother earth. Where are you standing?