The fight for safety; more than taking back the night

Rape and other forms of violence against women are issues that continue to be relevant in both the U.S. and the Middle East. In all of these countries the fight continues for women to feel safe walking home alone at night or in some cases just being seen alone with a man. These are not only women’s rights, these are human rights. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community, without fear of being attacked based on their gender, sexual orientation, or other affiliations.
In some countries, such as the U.S. (not nationwide) and Israel, there are some laws that are supposedly enforced to protect women against rape and other forms of violence. While in other countries, such as Lebanon women are still fighting for these “guaranteed” rights. I say guaranteed with quotation marks because these rights are supposedly a given in the U.S. however there are numerous examples that prove that that is not always the case, likewise for Israel. In the United States there is this concept of a “rape culture,” meaning we live in a culture that enables or tolerates rape due to stigmas attached to being a victim of rape etc. These include ideas that the rape occurred due to something that the victim did, said, or wore. There are similar stigmas attached to rape victims in other countries.

Another huge issue in these countries is the idea of spousal rape. This is such a controversial topic because in U.S. culture and Middle Eastern culture oftentimes husbands are seen as legally having “conjugal rights” to copulate with their wives. There are fortunately laws against this in both the U.S. and Israel, however, these countries face similar issues in that these types of crimes are not always reported and the legal system doesn’t always come through for these women.
Recently, however, there has been positive news in regards to battling this issue. In Israel reports are showing that the numbers of reported rapes are increasing, showing that women are beginning to feel more comfortable and less ashamed about coming forward.

The issues of rape and violence against women are ones that will not soon disappear from our societies. However, the ongoing dialogue is proof that progress can be made and that people will continue to fight for equality. It is often difficult to pinpoint the reason for such issues in our societies but ultimately it comes down to culture and what has been trivialized in the past. Culture is a mechanism of our societies that is capable of changing but it will however be very slow moving.


6 thoughts on “The fight for safety; more than taking back the night

  1. Rape is one of the crimes that does not need to be justified as who, where, and why, it is simply unacceptable. It’s the most hideous form of crime that crosses limits and lines, it certainly breaks every human right law ever present. I think the key point here is to help our women feel more accepted and credible when reporting such an incident. We want our women not to lose self-confidence and not to feel as a guilty victim. Rape is a crime that can not be justified for whatever reason, nothing a women or a man does gives the other part the right to feel he/she can cross the line and forcefully have physical contact with the first part. It’s very sad that in Lebanon women who get raped rarely ever report, that is because they might not be believed and because the society blames the victim. This is something to spread awareness about, no women should ever feel the guilt of what another person did. Awareness should start from schools to work institution to specialized organizations and campaigns. It is important to have educational courses concerning such incidents, because everybody is exposed.

  2. Rape has so many dimensions to it within American culture. When looking at views of rape from not only the United States standpoint but also different countries, more levels are added to this complex issue. Viewpoints, women’s roles within society, gender difference can all play a remarkable role on occurrence of rape and “acceptability” of it.
    Rape, whether it occurs in the United States or abroad is not ok. It is a horrible crime that should not go unpunished. From my experience (in terms of Ohio University not nation wide), most reported rapes in Athens occur when women are walking home alone at night. Instances like these seems vastly different than the spousal issues in the Middle East (is this valid Lynn?…)
    Overall no matter the country, I feel that most victims this happens to are afraid to speak out due to the fear of social stigmas attached to the issue. I agree with your point Lynn that education about rape; consequences and awareness should start young. It should not be a social taboo until it occurs, it should be discussed, and more prosecution of perpetrators and the victims should not feel pressure to hide.

  3. I must say that spousal rape is common in the middle east, but it remains unspoken about, because according to how they twist religion, it seems very acceptable. I am totally against it, and i think it is disgusting for a man to force his wife on such an act.

  4. I concur that change needs to take place to eliminate the rape culture and what the ‘standards’ of rape are today. I believe that the biggest issue with rape other than the blatant act itself is the automatic associations that go along with the term. Speaking in regards of the American view, often when the unfortunate act of a rape is discussed, one initial response tends to be the questioning of what ignorant act the female (or male) did to put themselves in that position. Many times people automatically assume that the victim did not take the necessary precautions in order to prevent the act (walking alone, walking down back alleys). This partial assumption is a terrible judgment for anyone to assume. Even if the precautions were disregarded, rape is never justified. I agree that educating the public on precautions and the importance of them is the next step to help lessen the frequency of occurrences. As individual citizens of this global community, we can all take steps to break the rape culture that has emerged. Fighting the assumptions, empowering the victims, and giving a voice to those who think they have none are vital to making this difference.

    1. My years as a journo helped me meet women from all walks of life all cutures. Its imperrative that before seeking solutions we UNDERSTANDING RAPE

      Rape is like a violent storm that cuts a swath through the lives of victims and those who love them. Left in its wake are complex feelings of grief, anger, confusion, fear, helplessness, isolation, uncertainty, injustice, and a profound sense that one’s world may never be the same again.

      For many victims, rape is a defining moment that divides in their lives . . . life before the rape and life now. In some measure, the same is true for those who are closest to the victim including husbands, fathers, brothers, and male companions. For all, one consequence of rape is that it can shape peoples’ perceptions of themselves and their interactions with others. In particular, it seems as if many of the rules that govern how victims and their loved ones conduct their lives and relate to one another are changed in the after­math of rape.

      How does a victim of rape regain control of her life? As a man whose lady love gets raped as a father who loves her, what can you do to help her recover? How can you preserve and strengthen a relationship with someone you love if she is raped? To answer these questions, you must first understand what rape is.

      Rape is an act of sexual violence that is usually perpetrated by males against females, which is accompanied by threat and intimidation, and which is imposed upon a victim against her will. Rape is about power, control, and domination. Rape is not about sex, though it is a violent crime that is expressed sexually. The victim has not “asked for it” and does not enjoy it. The victim was forced by someone who overpowered her, and possibly terrorized her with a weapon and threats of extreme bodily harm. Rape is life-threatening and life-altering; it severely traumatizes the victim.

      Rape is a disturbingly frequent crime that occurs thou­sands of times each year. Rape is one of the least reported crimes, in part because many victims fear how they might be treated if they divulge what has happened. By choosing to remain silent, many rape survivors are also trying to protect others from the consequences of their victimization. It is an act of courage and trust for a woman to divulge to another that she was raped.

      Most of the resources of rape-crisis centers and counseling facilities are directed toward providing immediate help to the victim. But others also are in a position to help, including men. Because of the violent and sexual nature of rape, the husbands, fathers, brothers, and male friends who are important to victims may have a difficult time coming to terms with what has happened. Many are well-intentioned and want to help, but do not know what to do. Yet these males often have the greatest impact on her recovery — positively or negatively — depending on what they say and how they act.

      Although most males want to help, many are ill-prepared to respond constructively. This may be because they think of rape as a “woman’s problem.” They have little understanding of how rape will affect their relationship with the person they love. To make matters worse, myths about rape compound the difficulties of recovery for victims.
      If your wife, daughter, sister, or friend is raped, Seek counselling – You will learn what happens to her in the aftermath of an assault. You will learn what you should and should not do. It will give you the tools necessary to maintain a healthy relationship with the person you love.

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