By Lucie Ganz & Emily Kahle
Special to The Dialog
Movember! Most of us know it’s a campaign created to fight against prostate cancer. How many of us are aware November is “Woman Abuse Prevention Month”? The month is almost over and we weren’t aware of this campaign and our guess is that we’re probably not alone in our ignorance.
We spoke with Tina Garrett who is currently the Equity and Campus Services manager at the Student Association of George Brown College. She also worked for seven years at the Peel Rape and Crisis Centre.
She says passionately, “It is my job to stand in solidarity for those who can’t”. Garrett has worked with countless victims of rape. She told us about a Muslim woman who at the age of 15 who was raped repeatedly and assaulted with objects. Her attack was posted on YouTube to be seen by her family, friends and peers. The perpetrator only got two months in prison.
We live in society that’s riddled with jokes about rape, sexual harassment and violence. We’re constantly witnessing the degradation of women in music videos, TV and in video games. In the blog Feminism / Popular Culture written by Cortney (no last name given), who has a master’s degree in Women’s and Gender studies, she responds to the popular video game Grand Theft Auto, saying that she is “scared to live in a culture where this is a viable form of entertainment. The protagonist fucks women, seemingly all prostituted women, and then brutally murders them immediately afterward if he so desires.”
This game, in comparison, is as casual as saying, ‘that test raped me’. The compilation of all these small aspects within the very fabric of our culture add up into a tsunami of what is known as rape culture.
The problem with discussing rape culture is that the word ‘rape’ is a faux-pas. It’s a dirty word and is usually replaced by words like ‘attack’ or ‘violate’. Let’s call it what it really is, by not silencing the word itself. The casual language around rape needs to be flipped around; instead of carelessly making jokes about rape, people need to be more open about actually discussing rape. We need to educate ourselves on the severity and the frequency of rape and confront what should be considered an epidemic.
Any unwanted touching or usage of language is assault and is inexcusable. Nobody asks to be raped! Garrett put it plainly, “Take a look at your mother, your sister, your auntie – pick two that you don’t care about because every two out of three women will be raped in their lifetime”.
With files from Ashley Miller
Dealing with sexual assault or harassment?
Visit the Constituency Community Centre, Room 165B. St. James campus. Room E130 Casa Loma campus.