These are Our Words

I wrote this a while ago. I am posting it again, because white rapists are still going free(or with paltry slaps on the wrist). Because jail is too harsh for them, would ruin their lives. They get this consideration. They get a pass.

 He’s not a rapist. Only creepy guys who rape random women in parking garages are rapists. Things happen. Things get out of control. Emotions run high. Because young. Because alcohol. Just 20 minutes of action. We can’t ruin this boy’s life! He can teach college campuses about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity! We can’t blame the girl “directly” (but we can blame!). Boys will be boys. We can’t blame them (they aren’t in control of themselves). It’s the party atmosphere, a party college. Binge drinking and unfortunate results. She wanted it. His swim times are too good. He was the nicest guy in high school. He wanted to be an Olympian. He still can be. There’s a Facebook page for it.

Their words.
They. Them. As opposed to Us.

Bullshit.

We cringe, we call for resignations and for justice. We rail against THEIR words.

But these are not their words. They are ours. They are your words. They are mine.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”

We teach our children that sticks are stronger than words. That words cannot hurt. If they cannot hurt, then they cannot heal. Cannot call for help. Cannot be respected. Words, then, have no power. We tell our children to hush, to stop talking, to be seen and not heard.

But children know better. They know the power of words, and we strive to take that away from them, to teach them the way the world “really is”: when our words fail to become Truth or to become LAW, we get a stick, as our parents did.

“No” becomes powerless without a stick.

Without “No”, “Yes” becomes meaningless and unnecessary.
Words do not have power.

We hear our neighbors’ words, our coworkers’ words, our children’s and our child-hood friends’ words that ask what she was wearing, how much she drank, or suggest in any way that it was not rape, that somehow what she was wearing or how much she drank was what indicated consent. And we let them go.

When “no” has no power and “yes” is unnecessary, our silence gives consent.
She was unconscious and could not say “Yes”. In his mind, her silence gave consent.

Her silence is OUR silence.

Because words do not have power.

Except when they do.

This isn’t about regulation. This isn’t about laws(though those who make/enforce the laws also carry big sticks), this isn’t about censoring free speech and this isn’t about political correctness.

This is about the underlying cultural acceptance that words do not have power, that silence implies consent.
We can’t be silent. Not anymore. We can reclaim the word and say NO.
He’s not a rapist. NO
Only creepy guys who rape random women in parking garages are rapists. NO
Things happen. NO
Things get out of control. NO
Emotions run high. NO
Because young. NO
Because alcohol. NO
Just 20 minutes of action. NO
He can teach college campuses about the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity! NO
We can’t blame the girl “directly”. NO
Boys will be boys. NO
We can’t blame them (they aren’t in control of themselves). NO
It’s the party atmosphere, a party college. NO
Binge drinking and unfortunate results. NO
She wanted it. NO
His swim times are too good. NO
He was the nicest guy in high school. NO
He wanted to be an olympian. NO
He still can be. NO

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