RapeCultureEarlier this year, former ‘Clueless’ star Stacey Dash went on record as making a comparison on good girls, bad girls and rape. The sad and disappointing irony of her comments is that she’s the same woman who has spoken in the past about her experiences regarding sexual and physical abuse. As a survivor of both, I found her comments to be irresponsible and insensitive. Her apology was just as bad, saying that it was a ‘failed attempt at humor about good girls and naughty girls.’ Rape and humor don’t go together. Period. Perhaps she should do a bit more research on the topic. Or, better yet, how about doing some self reflection of her experiences?  In doing so, maybe she will become more in tune with addressing the horror of the situation rather than looking for a humorous way to speak on it.

My being raped was one of the most horrific experiences of my life. It happened at a time when I was sober and alert. I was wearing sweat pants and a t-shirt. It was with someone I trusted. To even mildly suggest that I was a bad girl or a girl who likes to be naughty as a reason to be violated is ignorant and insulting. If one chooses to get drunk and/or walk around naked in public, the punishment by law is being cited for indecent exposure and/or public intoxication. Rape is not another option, and it should never be considered as acceptable and understood consequence based ones appearance, whether or not he/she has been drinking or how much alcohol has been consumed. I do, however, advise that women and men alike should take responsibility in when, where and how much alcohol they consume. In addition to the possibility of being taken advantage of regarding rape, one should consider drunk driving, robbery and health consequences as well. I have gotten drunk before. The hangover I had the following day felt almost unbearable. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t pretty hugging the toilet because I couldn’t stop vomiting.

Anyone who have been raped or worked with anyone who has will tell you that there’s nothing remotely humorous about it. Rape is not about pleasure. It’s about control. It’s about domination. What a person wears or what they’re drinking does not give the person the green light to commit a crime against them. It is an excuse. It is unfortunate the issues and consequences (or lack thereof) have created rules such as the sororities on the campus of UVA having been told to stay away from social engagements where fraternity members may be gathered. The responsibility should not be on the women to stay indoors for the sake of safety. Where is the awareness and consequences for the men? What message does it send to the men? Men walk around shirtless. They wear tight pants. They work out in short shorts and tank tops. They go out to parties and bars and get drunk. It is inconceivable to think that any of those scenarios would be a legitimate excuse if a man is assaulted or raped. Yet, if it’s a woman, every one of those same scenarios will be brought into question as an acceptable form of investigation.

Awareness, accountability, responsibility and safety concerns regarding rape need to be addressed across the board. It’s not to be taken lightly and should never be placed on one specific gender or situation to hold the weight. Rape is not about good and bad. It’s about right and wrong. Anyone who can’t articulate that with sensibility should practice the art of silence.