Ever read a tweet that makes you want to shout, scream, cry or punch something/someone quite hard because it has made you THAT angry? Yeah … me too.
But what do you do when that tweet is one you yourself have published?
All of the above, and then apologise. Which is what I did and am doing now.
On Wednesday I delved into reading the latest hashtag that was doing the rounds on my timeline – an incredibly powerful and painful one to read but incredibly important too. It was ‘#rapecultureiswhen’ … started by @ZerlinaMaxwell
I had seen it the day before, but struggling with some serious health issues, and having had a seriously bad day sickness wise I was not strong enough to read it then. But by Wednesday I was. And I did. And I wanted to contribute to it. To the hashtag.
As someone who has been raped. As someone who knows. As a women who lives within a society that enables a rape culture to exist. And as someone who tries to speak out against male violence against women and the myths and perceptions that exist regarding it.
So, I contributed. I tweeted. And then as soon as I had hit publish I realised. Realised that the very tweet I had sent out, wanting to highlight and speak out about what rape culture is was actually participating in it.
I tweeted just two of the many ill informed things that I’ve had said to me over the years, since I’ve started talking much more openly about my experience. But then I felt I needed to add something to the end of it. I felt the need to add on ‘I had on jeans and a hoody’.
Why did I feel it necessary? I guess I wanted to try and speak out against the perception that it is women in short skirts or scantily clad clothing that are raped. That it is not only women in high heels, or revealing clothing. That I was raped and I was wearing jeans and a hoody.
But, as soon as I tweeted it I regretted it. Because why am I even discussing what I was wearing? Why was I ‘trying’ to speak out against perceptions of different types of dress making a difference to whether women are raped or not. Why was I making it about clothing? When it quite simply is not?
LETS BE CLEAR HERE – RAPE IS NOT ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE WEARING.
So immediately after the first tweet, I sent this …
#RAPECULTUREISWHEN – in trying to speak out against it, you inadvertently find yourself speaking INTO it because the views and thoughts that allow it to continue are so ingrained in our culture and society that its hard not to be affected, sometime, somehow, someway.
If you don’t know what rape culture is, I have demonstrated it perfectly for you. And it is worth checking out the ‘rapecultureiswhen’ hashtag.
I am horrified, gutted, angry and sad with myself for actually contributing to that culture in my effort to speak out against it.
And I am deeply sorry.
I think inadvertantly your tweet and this post is doing way more good than harm. Culture is pervasive. It becomes norm. I don’t see that you bought into it, but rather were influenced by the messages around you all the time.
I don’t what we do to turn this around, to make rape about the rapists not the victims, or likely victims.
But I do know it isn’t through beating ourselves up when we get influenced by those messages all around us.
You have very bravely set out how much rape culture is ingrained within each of us and how pernicious it is. Being a feminist does not make us immune to that damage. Be easy on yourself, sister xx