No one’s ever told me not to rape.
That’s weird. That’s very weird.
No one’s ever said to me, “Hey, don’t rape anyone”.
I’ve been told not to touch the thermostat. I’ve been told not to talk to strangers. I’ve been told not to stare at people in wheelchairs. Not to touch the stove, not to eat before swimming, not to have more than one soda a week, not to hit my brother, not to hit my sister…, but never once, “Hey, don’t rape anybody”.
I think it’s weird, that I was allowed to grow up in a community with friends, family, parents, teachers, priests, bosses, boy scout leaders, the whole gambit of moral authority figures, and never once, did anyone tell me not to rape.
I think it should be said to young men and women. Explicitly. Don’t rape.
People often push back on this idea saying, “Peter, it goes without saying”.
I don’t think it does. If it went without saying, it’d go without being. But since it exists, I think it should go with some saying.
“But Peter, no one ever had to sit you down and tell you not to steal and not to murder”.
Are you kidding me? You just named two of ten laws I had to memorize as a child. I was sat down and told not to murder, not to steal, not to lie, not to disrespect mom and dad, not to say god in public, or worship cattle… I had to memorize ten of these commandments. I had to take quizzes on them. They were spoken about in church, I discussed it with family, in fact, they’re listed outside some of our nations’ courthouses in honor of some of the first and most important law to “man”.
And you know what, all that memorization, contemplation, and discussion made me less prone to commit such acts. Why? Because when the situation arose, I was mentally prepared with the voices of many loved ones that I shouldn’t steal, curse out god’s name, have jealous thoughts, etc. given the opportunity.
Again, I don’t understand the push back on the topic of speaking to children about rape during the sex talk. You may deem it an awkward conversation, but I think it’s even more awkward explaining to children why 1 in 6 women in America have been raped or attempted thereof. That’s 58 million women. An endemic. And that’s not even including other forms of sexual assaults.
So why not talk about it? What’s the harm? Why not take away every excuse a perpetrator has to commit such a crime?
Why not sit every child down in their sex talk, make eye contact, and directly, explicitly say, “Don’t you ever rape anyone”. That can lead to a whole larger conversation about the subject of sex and sexuality, but at the minimum that sentence must be uttered.
By talking about it more people with think about it. By thinking about it, there’s more mental preparation for when a sexual situation arises where a new layer of caution will reside as individuals second guess brash moves in wondering if the act they wish to commit is fully consented to or in an appropriate region of activity.
Now, as I referenced earlier to religion benefiting me with a more morally inclined conscious, I do not want any praise going to religion on the topic of rape. Nowhere in the entirety of the Torah, Gospels, or Qur’an does God communicate himself, to his prophets, “son”, or messenger and archangel Gabriel (who in turn spoke with Muhammad) that people, and women in particular, should not be raped.
“Why”, you might be wondering. Why wouldn’t God, this “all-loving”, “all-knowing” deity explicitly leave out that detail when going into such banal detail as to not plowing with a donkey and ox yoked together and to not… cross dress [Duet, 22:5]…
The answer is all three Abrahamic religions (Jewish, Christian, Islam) consider women property.
Again; all three Abrahamic religions consider women property. This is clearly read in Exodus, “You shall not covet thy neighbor’s house; you shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbors”.
What a curious word; belongs. It’s never explicitly said that women are property, it’s implied at the time, it was common knowledge women were things; objects to be owned, traded, and stolen. The definition of property is “a thing or things belonging to someone”.
In the same way you can own a book, car, or desk, and how if you own it, you could rip up the book, smash the car, chop up the desk, and no one could tell you different because that is your property that you own. In that same respect, that’s why it’s never mentioned in the bible or qur’an to not rape women. Rape implies the exertion of will power over someone and the notion that sex is a consenting act between man and woman which can be violated if treated like a one-way street.
But how can you rape your property? How can you abuse an object you own? How can you violate the will of a will-less entity? Why mention in Leviticus not to have sexual relations with and/or sodomize an animal, yet still exclude women on the rules of sexual restriction, and make it a sin to act upon them without consent?
[Credit must be given where it is due. The greatest irony of Islam is that of the three Abrahamic religions, today it is chided the most for being anti-woman, yet it is the only one to mention women as people and grant them rights involving testimony, inheritance, etc. But still, God does not take the time to tell Gabriel, to tell Muhammad, to tell his followers as the last prophet, directly and explicitly, “don’t rape women”, given a host of other teachings Muhammad is to pass on]
“But Peter, times have changed”, but the word of God remains the same. Humans, with our adaptation to an exponentially changing environment, have had a wonderful burst of enlightenment, moral and ethical progress in the last few hundred years, but that is all credit to the evolution and insight of human rationale. The word of God is from his mouth and law to his peoples. No amount of human rationalization can change what is recorded as his saying.
Religion is the foundation on which all patriarchy rests, and where the roots of rape, rape culture, and the objectification of women begin. It is here, at the temple steps of religion that feminists should begin their discussions on the dismantling of the patriarchy. The slights against women from religion are numerous and you have to read no further than the first book of Genesis where Eve, the first woman, is depicted as a trickster and a liar, attempting to access the fruits of knowledge and cursed for disobeying God the father (a man), while at the same time being made of a man’s rib, making her inherently less than, not only God, but the only other talking mammal she knows.
The story of Adam and Eve is part of all three Abrahamic religions as well as a part of Creationism which is taught as fact at schools in fourteen states in America as of this writing. We teach our children that God created women to be less than men and we wonder why women get less respect and acknowledgement everywhere from the bedroom to the board room.
It’s a psychopathy to be sure.
If we as feminists truly wish to dismantle the patriarchy, might I recommend starting with the dismantling of religions first, as religion and patriarchy are one and the same.
The battle is a virtuous one to be sure, as we are no longer fighting male chauvinists on Earth, but a celestial one as well.
Perhaps together we can twist God’s arm enough that he adds an eleventh commandment to his people, an explicit and direct one; don’t rape.