*Trigger Warnings: Domestic abuse and sexual assault*
Today I’m angry.
I read an article about the correlation between masculinity and aggression and how it’s brought into pro-football. This article was written in 2014 and it referenced some incidents of domestic abuse by football players to their girlfriends, fiancés, and wives from 2005, and all but one incident had some sort of consequence.
The author went on to discuss how when Ray Rice, a football player, hit his fiancé in 2014 in an elevator and dragged her out, people started to realize that some football players are guilty of domestic abuse.
She talked about how when people saw it, they could feel it, and it became real to them compared to the other incidents that were only “allegations” since they weren’t seen or caught on tape.
When I read this, I got angry. I realized that being in a position of power (pro-athlete) and being a man, is basically a get out of jail free card. And yes, not all men, but that’s not the point here.
When someone commits an act of domestic abuse or sexual assault, there NEEDS to be consequences.
We live in a society where the consequences are so insignificant that instead of shutting down violence against women or rape culture, we are helping it grow.
I saw a post a Facebook a few minutes ago talking about a “Behavioural Contract” at Brandon University that a student who was sexually assaulted had to sign. The way the contract is written is clever. It sounds like the university wants to protect its students, respect them and educate them about issues on campus.
But really, it’s making the victim sign a contract to keep her mouth shut about what happened unless she talks to a counsellor on campus. I don’t know if the abuser has to sign the contract too, but from what I’ve read and from what my understanding is, is that this contract protects the abuser and silences the victim.
I feel like people have been fighting for justice around domestic abuse and sexual assault for a while now. I can’t comprehend why society continues to turn a blind eye towards these issues.
Change the criminal laws to make these real crimes with real consequences. Change the stigma from blaming, shaming, silencing the victims to listening and not passing judgement onto them. Instead of assuming victims are lying and the abuser is innocent, believe the victim and question the abuser and the situation.
I also think it’s time for society to understand, acknowledge, and learn that how victims relate to trauma varies and there are many ways for people to deal with it.
Today I’m angry and I feel something burning in me. I feel connected to my activist and feminist side. I couldn’t read these pieces and not write about them.
I’m writing this piece in solidarity with victims and the women, men, and anyone in between that have not gotten justice and/or continue to struggle to find peace and acceptance in this fucked up society.
I believe you, I support you, I will fight with you.