By Hannah Bundock
Rape is my responsibility. Now there’s a statement that’s going to make lots of people angry, but hear me out.
I’m not agreeing with the misogynistic people out there who state that if I dress a certain way I’m ‘asking for it’. I’m not someone who believes a woman must act demure and reserved if she wishes to avoid unwanted sexual advances. No, I believe that a woman should be able to dress how she like and be as flirty and fun as she pleases and still be safe. Hell, even if I’m butt arse naked and laying on a bed, it’s still my prerogative to change my mind. It’s my decision; no one has the right to take that away from me. One day I want to live in a world where men and women appreciate that simple concept and therein lays my responsibility.
You see, I’m a Mum, to a beautiful energetic, exhausting, infuriating little boy whom I love with all my heart and he is my responsibility. At the moment he is only little, but one day he will be a grown up. As foreign as the idea may seem to me, one day he will be a man talking to women and it is my responsibility to ensure that when that day comes, he knows how to treat a woman with respect and as an equal. It’s my job to teach him that he should not expect anything from a woman, just because she’s wearing a short skirt or because she’s kissed him.
Telling kids that they have to let people to touch them to avoid being rude is a dangerous message.
His lessons will begin before he even realises. If I am tickling him and he tells me to stop, I will stop. Simple enough, but it teaches him that no means no. If I continued to tickle him once he’d asked me to stop with the justification ‘but you didn’t really mean it’, what sort of behaviour am I teaching him? I wont make him kiss or hug people he does not want to. Telling kids that they have to let people to touch them to avoid being rude is a dangerous message. When he is older he won’t call girls in his class ‘slags’ without me rebuking him and god help him if he tries telling rape jokes. Grounded for a week!
Yes, rape is my responsibility because (as much as I hate to admit it) I’m an adult, and I am responsible for the next generation. We all are. They watch us and learn from us. I want the sickening statistic that 1 in every 4 women in the UK will be sexually assaulted to change, and that will only happen if we change. No more slut shaming, no more laughing at inappropriate jokes just to fit in, no more pretending it’s not to do with us. It’s on us guys, men and women alike. We are responsible.