Savvy Sound-Off: Rape in 2013

Written By: Kewe Mbengue In December 2012, a woman was brutally gang raped in a bus in New Delhi and died shortly after from the injuries. Her case sparked an international rally cry for a greater focus on women’s rights and protection worldwide.

Just recently, two young men from Steubenville, Ohio were tried after being convicted of raping a 16-year-old Jane Doe during a rowdy house party. The leniency of their sentencing, as well as varying opinions on whether the judge came down too hard on them launched a loud debate about gray area in rape.

These are just two cases that managed to make it into mainstream media. According to RAINN, in the United States alone, one person is raped every two minutes and a staggering 97% of their offenders go without being sentenced to jail for their crimes. Astonishing, no?

The nature of stating an opinion is simple: not everyone is going to like what you have to say. When it comes to issues such as rape, political correctness - as well as obtuse sensitivity - comes into play. Thanks to social networking and what feels like a new wave of media and activism, the conversation has shifted.

Why should we feel bad about two 16-year-old boys - who should’ve known better - going to jail? As we unwaveringly replied to Todd Akin, the former Republican Senate candidate from Missouri, after he tried to proverbially pie chart the difference between rapes of varying situations last August: “Rape is rape!”

Why have we waited so long to get together and fight for the protection of those who shouldn’t have to worry about being sexually violated at all, no matter what they wear or what they look like?

Should parents still worry about teaching their children – daughters specifically – how to defend themselves in the case of this ever happening to them? Or should the focus be shifted to preventing this from happening by teaching young children that violating a person in any way, let alone sexually, is wrong?

2012 was a year heavy with women’s issues forcing its way into coffee corner conversations. From women starting to stake a claim in the United States Congress to the issues of equal pay and educational opportunities, the jig, as they say, was up.

No longer were we hesitant about defending “the other”, nor were we irresolute to accept how impactful a single voice can be to a nation and to the world. So what about rape?

The bottom line: there are too many ruthless, uneducated, and purely evil people out there for rapes to end overnight. However, accepting that as a defeat is wrong. The argument of whether or not this is a women’s issue due to statistics is moot. There should only be action - action taken against the possibility of this ever happening again; action that’ll guarantee safer, smarter, and more compassionate children.

Speak up.