Monday, April 27, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Guest Post by Jess from Read My Breath Away

Hello, all!

We're down to are last few days of ALL THE RAGE APRIL! I can't believe how fast this month has flown by! If you missed any of the wonderful posts this month, check them all out here.

Today on the blog, I have another one of my fellow Ottawa Bloggers (y'all are incredible, just sayin), Jess from Read My Breath Away, talking about how society fails girls. Check out her post below:
When Ciara asked me if I wanted to write a post for this wonderful celebration of Courtney Summers and All the Rage, my first thought was about all the ways in which we as a society tend to discredit and abandon young women when they need us most and how, while we most definitely do it with our actions, it's almost more dangerous the way we do it with our words.

Think about any news article you've ever read about a sexual assault/abuse case wherein the victim was a young woman. Now think about the kind of language that was used by anyone discussing that case. Look at the words used within the article, in the comments (because we all know the internet rule "DON'T READ THE COMMENTS" and yet somehow we all find ourselves drawn to that fiery rage pit anyway, don't we?), and in outside discussion on the news or talk shows or on social media. There may be a few things that stick out.

Things like: Questions about the girl's behaviour - what was she wearing, was she drinking, was she alone, did she say no?

Things like: are we sure this is true, did she make this up, is she lying?

Things like: she probably wanted it, I bet she liked it, she was asking for it. 

And if the girl is lucky enough to see some sort of justice served against her attacker, we see things like: that poor boy, he had such a bright future ahead of him, this is going to follow him around now, how unfair for him. 

What are we saying to young women if this is how we talk about sexual assault? What are we doing, teaching them that this is how you react when a girl tells you that she has had this wrong committed against her? Why are we turning young women against each other, teaching them to turn their backs on one another and leading by example? Why are we telling our girls to keep their mouths shut because if you speak, your options boil down to being branded a liar or being blamed for your own abuse?

Here is where I say thank god for Courtney Summers. For Courtney Summers and for the other incredible people who write about and speak out for our girls. Thank god for books like All the Rage because it asks all these questions I'm asking. When you read that book, it gives you a glimpse into the life that girls are now suffering through because of the way our society treats them. And it makes you mad. It makes you care. It makes you want to stand up and demand that these things change. It makes you never want to let another stupid comment about a girl in this heartbreaking position fly ever again.  And if more people read books like All the Rage, more people would think twice before blaming a victim or defending an abuser. With every person who refuses to engage in that kind of behaviour, we are one step closer to saving our girls.

On what I thought was a very appropriate note, here is basically a visual representation of my internal reaction to the kind of things people say when girls dare to speak out about a wrong done against them (and what I wished I could actually do more than once while reading how people responded to Romy in All the Rage):

I'd just like to end on this: we MUST stop blaming the girls. We really need to shut up and listen to them, support them however we can, and lift them up when they need it most instead of making things even harder for them. We have a long way to go, but remember that even just being aware of how you're responding when talk about these issues comes up can make a difference. Read All the Rage and books like it. Gain that perspective. And let's stand with the girls, instead of against them. 
Thanks for the amazing post, Jess! (And for that gif set which will forever pop into my head now when I'm angry).

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

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