We are from three generations (aged 81, 50 and 36), three faiths (Christian, Muslim, Jewish) and three continents (Africa, Asia, North America). One of us is a religious leader, one a writer and rape survivor and one the CEO of a non-profit organisation. We come together in the wake of the recent upheaval around rape in India, South Africa, the US and the UK, because we share a passionate conviction: we must bring the discourse home to the next generation on every continent. Why did the men in the recent India and South Africa crimes rape, torture, and murder their victims? How could Jimmy Savile of the BBC molest hundreds of people and still die a hero? Why did the gang rapists in Ohio feel safe boasting on camera about what they had done? Why do too many Indians dehumanise women, and too many South Africans believe that men are just intrinsically badly behaved and programmed to rape? Who do we think these sub-human women and out-of-control men are? They are us and, if we are not careful, they will be our children.
Yes, these three humanitarians from across the world have name checked the Steubenville rape case.
A comment on an article I wrote the other day really struck me:
And I disagree with this completely. We all need to worry about all the children and teens because our children and teens will interact with these children and teens, no matter if we work outside the home or not. We owe it to the world to do everything we can to raise rape awareness and educate our kids on rape culture. The instances of rape, plus in many cases the victim-shaming and Internet bullying that accompanies these cases, alleged or convicted, needs to stop. We can’t sit by and let our kids not understand that rape is a serious crime, and that victims should not be bullied and shamed for coming forward. As a mom I talk to my own kids about rape. I think a lot of you do the same. But we need every family to engage with these discussions with their kids. Or as stated in the Guardian article:
Yes, policies should change, laws should be just. But if we want to make a fundamental difference, all of us must bring the conversation home. It is our opportunity to start to create true change. It might not be polite and comfortable, but it is essential. We owe it to our children.
We owe it to our children, and we owe it to the world.