Up until this point GrimmGirl has been focused on anime/manga and ethical makeup/fashion but today I will add a new page titled Personal Grimmiore. This page will basically be a space for me to write about things that are more personal to me.
Normally I am pretty tongue in cheek about the things I write about but this post will be serious from start to finish. One thing that I feel very strongly about is ending rape culture. No matter where you live you should never be afraid to report a sexual assault. Our current rape culture creates fear in the women and men who have been sexual assaulted and helps to cause their inability to report the crime or begin their long journey to any sense of recovery or feeling of safety in their own skin.
Rape culture is created when instead of blaming the rapist we blame the people he/she forcibly assaulted. This is not the type of world I want to live in or raise my family in. We can all change this by being mindful human beings. By being aware and spreading awareness. By speaking out with whatever platform we have available to us whether that is through social media, blogging, writing articles/letters, or having discussions with others. We all have voices.
Recently I came across an article that is the perfect example of what rape culture in America currently looks like. This article published in the Lacrosse Tribune paints a story of how hard life after rape can be… for the rapist.
I’m not making this up.
Read the article here to see exactly what I mean.
Scott Erickson was convicted of rape at the age of nineteen when he chose to rape this woman.
He justifies his actions stating, “At that age, and the way I was thinking at the time, I only knew one way of trying to gain control,” Erickson said. “I wanted to see my daughter and basically gave (the woman) an ultimatum.”
So his ultimatum was, “let me see my daughter or I will rape you”, and we are suppose to feel bad for him because….?
Don’t worry the tactful reporter of this article tells us exactly why. According to the reporter,
“Twenty-five years later, the shadow of the incident still darkens his life. Being labeled a sex offender has hurt his relationships, employment opportunities and caused him deep despair.”
This is a direct quote from the article! Notice how the reporter uses the word, “incident” instead of what it really was, rape. Trust me, the article continues to get worse and worse all the while trying to drum up sympathy for the poor rapists in the world.
This is disgusting and can no longer be tolerated.
After reading this article I promptly figured out how to write a letter to the editor of this newspaper and wrote the following:
To Whom It May Concern,
I recently read your article titled, “Wisconsin sex offenders branded for life” and I am both disappointed and frustrated on how you chose to present this article. First of all I cannot believe that you let this woman’s convicted rapist tell his story and not allow the same print space for her. At no point in this article does the journalist discuss how the woman Sean Erickson raped has been affected. No we are simple told of her rapist’s “sad life” after the incident. Your use of the word incident illustrates my point. It wasn’t an incident it was RAPE.
If you wanted to write an article on where sexual predators should live after they are released from prison you could have chosen to write it as a cautionary tale. Don’t rape people because not only do you destroy a persons life and go to prison but you also face harsh consequences after you are released, like people not wanting you in there neighborhood.
You have this platform to help end rape culture and instead you use it to perpetuate it. Why? It is hard enough for people to report a rape as it is with the nonstop victim blaming but now you’re going to add that these men and women who have been assaulted should feel guilty for making their rapist’s lives harder once they leave prison? Are you serious?
As the leading newspaper for your area you have great influence on how this community views issues. Are you truly comfortable using that privilege to further enforce our current rape culture? I think that as a company you need to have a serious discussion on how you are presenting articles dealing with rape. This was unacceptable to me.
I am sharing this letter because I want to remind everyone who reads this that you have a voice. You have a voice and you can use it! You can use it to write to media, corporations, and politicians to express your views and to remind them that they have a duty to be ethical in how they present themselves. To often we forget that we can create change.
This is me using my voice. I hope you are all able to hear it.
UPDATE: I just wanted to let everyone know I did receive a response email back and you can read all about it in Part Two of this series by clicking here!