This weekend, the call for women (sic, originals post was problematically gendered) to post “me too” on their Facebook page to indicate they had been a victim of sexual harassment or rape. The idea behind this was to demonstrate how widespread these issues are. Fine. Lots of people posted “me too.” Even more people felt demoralized by the number of people they know who had experienced sexual harassment and assault.
The problem is, there was no clear call to actions to change this in the future. Without clear, coordinated, and concerted efforts to move from rape culture to consent culture, in ten years nothing will have changed because of this.
Here are 10 things you can do today to stop protecting rapists and people who sexually harass others:
Stop voting for politicians who brag about rape and sexual assault.
Read Ask: Building Consent Culture by Kitty, Queen and Penny. This book provides a great guide to how to create a consent culture.
Implement the steps in Ask.
Demand that consent be a mandatory part of sex education in your child’s school.
Demand that judges who promote rape be removed from the bench.
Believe people when they tell you they were raped or assaulted. Quit demanding they prove the validity of their statement by recounting their trauma in detail for you.
Demand that the processing of rape kits in your state receive adequate funding to do this in a timely manner.
Call out your buddies when they brag of assaulting or raping people.
Quit making rape jokes.
Demand we create a national safe word.
Stop electing people who brag about assault and rape. It is pretty simple to vote for the candidate who isn’t a rapist. They may not be your first choice, but putting someone who acknowledges they have assaulted or raped someone in power empowers more people to rape.
Read Ask: Building Consent Culture. We have needed a guide for creating consent culture. Now we have one. The link about takes you to the Amazon page for the book. Buy it. Read it.
Implement the suggestions for Ask. Once you read the book you will have the basic tools to make a difference in your workplace, schools, and politics. Use these tools. If you just read the book and post on social media, that isn’t enough. We need systematic change. We need everyone to do this lift together to make systematic change.
Demand that consent is taught in sex education. America’s sex education leaves so, so much to be desired (pun intended). A large majority of states do not require sex education in high school An even larger majority do not require that sex education be medically accurate. Only two states, CA and NY, require that the idea of affirmative consent is taught.
The laws in both NY and CA for teaching affirmative consent leave a lot to be desires. You can read my commentary on the CA law here. However, they do provide a structure for other state laws to build on and improve. Understanding consent starts early. Requiring children understand their bodies belong to them and they have the right to protect it has to begin at a young age. It does not require teaching kindergartners about sex. It just requires that we teach kids they have the right to protect their bodies and do not have the right to other people’s bodies.
Remove judges who promote rape be removed from the bench. The judiciary has been steadily moving toward legalizing rape. In several jurisdictions, forcing oral sex on an unconscious victim or someone too intoxicated to consent is now completely legal. Two district courts have made affirmed that it is legal to take “upskirt” without consent and post them on the internet without consent. Judges who think this is okay should be removed.
Fix this. Write your legislature and demand that posting upskirt photos, revenge porn, and videos of rapes without the victims consent be made illegal. This isn’t about “freedom of speech.” Laws that allow these things to be posted without consent and without punishments for violating consent foster rape.