Rape is a Feminist Issue

by Melissa Silverstein on October 1, 2009

in Feminism

So here we are on day three of Polanskigate on my blog.  Have to say that the amount of comments I’ve gotten on the site over the last couple of days has been incredible, however I wish as many people would comment on an interview with a woman director (like the one I just did with Sally Potter) or other issues that I write about regularly.

But no, this has been the big kahuna.  It seems that now that I have spoken up and levied deserved criticism on Hollywood and feminist organizations for not speaking up, the perception is that I have instantaneously abandoned my feminist roots and have joined the dark side.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Because you know what?  Rape is a feminist issue.  If it wasn’t for feminists rape would still be know as “life” for so many women across the country and the world.

So just to clarify.  I am a feminist.  I don’t buy into the bullshit that I have to vote for a woman because she is a woman.  I would never, ever vote for Sarah Palin.  Because you see —  I am a feminist.  I believe in equal rights for all.  I believe in a woman’s right to determine what happens to her body.  I believe that we need to see more women’s visions in film because it will expose us to a vast amount of important stories that are missing and will improve the cultural dialgoue.

I know that my fellow feminists are out there with my back because I have heard from them on Facebook and twitter.  Feminists everywhere are aghast about the fact that we have lost sight that this man raped a 13-year-old girl.  Feminist everywhere stand up against rape because it is endemic in our society.

So to just remind people why we are all livid about this:

  • 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.
  • In 2007, there were 248,300 victims of sexual assault.
  • Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
  • Approximately 73% of rape victims know their assailants.
  • Only 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail.
  • 44% of victims are under age 18.

Statistics from RAINN

So even though this has been a disturbing topic to focus on for the last couple of days, and who knows if I will suffer for speaking out as I did in the LA Times this morning, at least it has afforded us an important conversation about how pervasive rape is in our culture and that it can happen to anybody at anytime.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

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