The founder of Scarleteen, Heather Corrina, a rape survivor, asks her, "What do you think young people, particularly, can do to help disable rape culture?" I love her answer. She says:
I think women can practice saying "No!" a dozen times a day--yelling it or not, but looking someone right in the eye and saying "No." Because it's hard for women to--I don't know, disappoint? Be seen as mean? Be unfriendly?--a very clear no is an important muscle to have to interrupt rape culture, which relies on women being polite and not trusting their instincts or believing they can have boundaries. I think we can talk to men about our rape experiences. One woman in the film tells her son about being raped; another tells her father. Being honest and inviting men to understand and sympathize will undermine rape culture, too, which is based on silence and no one thinking they know people who've been raped.
Why wear a shirt that says “I Was Raped”?
- Because wearing it lets others know that they aren’t alone.
- Because wearing it invites conversation about a silenced experience that so many women and men share.
- Because rape is a crime that someone did to you, against your will.
- Because, as Maya Angelou says, “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.”
- Because you shouldn’t be ashamed that you were raped; the perpetrator should be ashamed.
- Because being public shatters the very silence that enables rape to be so common.
- Because naming what has happened is the first step toward changing the reality of rape.
- Because legal redress is rarely served, so it’s crucial to find our own justice and acknowledgment.
~ Jennifer Baumgardner, “I Was Raped” project, 2008