The feminist fight for equal rights is a tough hill to climb. There are still people who blatantly ignore the issue of sexual abuse, spoken and emotional, the psychological impact of which is overwhelming. In a court of law, no quantity of reparations, whether it be jail time or a fine, could simply make the act of sexual dominance better.
When I approach this topic, I am perceived as an angry person- but, on the contrary, I am a passionate feminist. I would like to see less youth and woman abuse in my lifetime, and I will do just about anything to make it happen.
It is a privilege to be interacting with you on this topic, because I fear that the quieter members of society are set in their ways because they may be a victim of abuse themselves.
The following disclosure is important when dealing with victims of abuse; the circumstance is never an excuse. An imposition of sexual dominance is never as a result of self defense.
I believe that the offenders of such absurdities could very well be on their way away from the meaning of trash and how it hurts them personally. I do not believe that all men are trash, but I do believe that men that are trash can hide behind the ‘not all men’ banner, comfortably. The worrying parent of a daughter, when she voyagers to her friend’s home at night, is the innate feeling of trashy men being out there.
Toxic masculinity is the damaging lense through which we view what men should be in society. It is these traits of unemotional, undue strength and dominance that is imposed and can encourage unhealthy relationships within loved ones, I am not illustrating a world where only strangers are capable of imparting dominance. A patriarchal human, is a person that demands authority, but in a way that confronts your personal space. Ps. This can be in the form of words. A father that oversteps his parenting in demanding to be served food or a boss who verbally abuses her staff. I am depicting ordinary members of society, perhaps you and I included, that use aggression as a means of communication.
And so, we are getting closer to the problem and thus, closer to the solution- that I need your help to enact. The problem is that the act of an authoritarian figure is well steeped in our culture.
Imagine a cup of tea that someone forgot the teabag in for a week. Nay, one single day, 24 hours – that tea might be bitter. The undue imposition of power could be present in that cup, with the water struggling to get a word in, and the teabag unable to stop its dissolving.
At the core of this issue is an assault that is not comparable to a cell phone being stolen. An assault that effectively murders the spirit in a soul. Rape Culture is rife in the 21st century. The way in which a man reacts to a rejection, in his advance, is not always graceful. A key element of patriarchy is that a bruised ego often leads to a bruised women, at the price of her free will.
The idea of rape is kind of thrown around today, almost desensitized. Students may often hear the phrase- ‘That exam raped me’. Even when these words are uttered from a female, a feminist should say no; that is not a sensible metaphor.
A blind eye is being turned to the victims of sexual abuse, and the offenders who may require psychological help. I am noticing a clear lack of empathy in the way 21st century society is spinning the worldwide epidemic of violence into a joke.
Statistics does not do this article justice because there is no clear way to define abuse, or assure that each person inflicted reports on it. They may not even consider their treatment abuse, in which case the tea continues to steep, unaware of seeking external intervention. South Africa has one of the most updated constitutions in the world over, however, is the criminal justice system doing enough for victims of abuse?
A victim of rape is called a ‘Rape Survivor’. The act is then theirs, declaring wherever necessary, ‘I was raped’. Helplessness and fear are symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
A victim may often experience flashbacks and denial, at which stage society, at large, take on a victim blaming tactic- wherein the circumstances of the act is used as justification. The human dignity is placed so far below when questions of circumstance arises. Which brings me back to my deceleration. The circumstance is never an excuse. PTSD tackles the aftermath of an individual being exposed to an event of abnormal human experience.
The act of psychological dominance makes a victim feel less valuable, and just a resource of human aggression. A rape survivor experiences low self-esteem and a rough sense of impurity. But most importantly, an inability to love, or be loved again. The fundamental certainty of everything real is under threat. The touch, a basic human sense, becomes inanimate.
*jingoist – bellicose chauvinist. A war-like patriotism of his/her profession of aggression.
– Sauda Haffejee