RALEIGH, N.C.- According to Student Health Services, one in three women will suffer from rape, sexual assault or domestic abuse in her lifetime. As men in society, it is important that we educate ourselves about rape culture, which affects all women and men every day. These victims are someone’s mother, sister, cousin or friend. The majority of people know a woman who has been raped or assaulted, but many of those women have not informed anyone because of fear. Many women have not told anyone because of the long process they would endure, including answering questions, lying on a hospital bed and being physically examined as the doctor looks for evidence that she was raped. Finally, she will have to go in front of a judge, who more than likely will be a male, and prove that she was raped and the sex was not something she desired.The summer of my freshman year, I witnessed relationship violence firsthand. I was in the Bragaw study lounge preparing for a test with a female friend when we heard a male and female arguing. The argument upset the male, and he shoved the female, hit her and threatened to kill her in front of their baby.
In her book “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center,” Bell Hooks defines feminism as “the struggle to end sexist oppression.” I pledge myself as a male feminist dedicated to face the challenge to end the sexist oppression of women. As men, we must step up and get our priorities straight. Sex should not be the center of our lives and everyday decisions. It is no surprise that 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce. The problem is that most men treat women as sexual objects all of their lives and suddenly consider themselves ready for a relationship; then they think they are ready to treat a new woman as a person and no longer an object as they has been accustomed to in their old behavior.
Men that stand up for feminism against sexist oppression are usually labeled as gay. If men in society take time to ask female relatives and friends about their day-to-day lives dealing with sexism, we will then understand how sexism affects our daily lives. My younger sister explained to me how aggravating it was for her to go to work at the grocery store because every time she stepped in the door, males holler “Hey baby” or “Let me get your number.” Then they would all laugh and smile as if she asked or was happy to hear their comments in the first place.
Women or men reading this column, who may have been victims of violence or know women who are victims of rape, be encouraged and remember the Ghanaian proverb that states, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation!”
Johnathan Brunson is a student at North Carolina State Univ.