A response to a response to a response
By Sharon Miki, Section Editor
Last month, I wrote a feature article for the Other Press detailing what I perceive as the dangerous pervasiveness of rape culture. On a personal level, the article was extremely difficult to write because I knew that it would make people—including those I know, trust, and love—uncomfortable; however, because I felt very strongly about the importance of addressing the issue of rape culture in order to one day overcome it, I wrote and published the article. In the end, I was proud of it. Then I went to the school…
Within days of the article’s printing, the display of the feature at the New Westminster campus was vandalized with the words “#NOTALLMEN.” While the words were likely written haphazardly—who knows if the calligrapher even read the article?—they still epitomized the very problem that my article hoped to espouse. I have been writing for the Other Press for nearly four years, and vandalism on our feature displays is extremely rare. This might have just been pen on paper, but it is something worth noting.
While I of course recognize that this was a disposable and relatively minor act, it still affected me. As my eyes registered what was written on my paper, I felt a familiar lurch in my stomach. It was the same uncomfortable feeling that I felt when a man I had once dated broke into my apartment building. After I told him I no longer wanted to see him, he knocked on my door and demanded that I let him in because he wanted access to my body. It was the same feeling that I feel when strange men on the street yell at me, “Smile! You could be so much prettier if you [do what I want you to].” It was the feeling of being a woman in a culture that accepts, on the whole, that women’s voices are not as valid. Yes, in this culture all women feel this way at one time or another.
The mystery writer’s response to my article is troubling, but it can also serve as a reminder that there is a problem. It’s true: not all men are rapists and not all men support rape culture. The thing, though, is that the men who do get it recognize that now is not the time for them to assert their innocence. Now is the time for them to be women’s allies and to show through their behaviour that they are not willing to participate in rape culture. In response to the graffiti, I think that my Editor-in-Chief, Jacey Gibb, summed it up perfectly: “True, not all men are rapists, but accept the reality that some are. The only thing more detrimental than rape culture itself is arguing against it.”