Attacks on Weinstein victims symptomatic of larger cultural issues

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Thirty accusations and 16 witness accounts later, the the legitimacy of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims is still, for some reason, in question. On October 10th, Lindsay Lohan posted an Instagram video saying that what’s happening to Weinstein is wrong and explained that he had never done anything to harm her. Fashion designer Donna Karan has also come out in support of Weinstein, saying that women are “asking for it” when they don’t consider how they’re dressed, and went on to say Weinstein and his wife were “lovely people.”

This wouldn’t be nearly as terrible if there weren’t thousands of other normal, everyday people who believe the same thing. These are all side effects of one disease which is so deeply embedded in our society, it seems nearly impossible to flush out: rape culture.

No matter the amount of rape cases that are brought out into the open or the amount of victims and evidence we have against their rapists, there is constantly someone in the assailant’s corner.

There’s always someone saying “I know him personally. He would never do this!” or they skip right to the victim blaming. It’s all a vicious cycle that works to discredit victims of rape and sexual assault, so that the accused can go on without so much as a slap on the wrist.

In our society, it’s easier to discredit victims of assault and beat them down rather than to support them and help them get justice. Chances are, whether you’re a man or a woman who has been sexualy assaulted, you have been met with this opposition.

When a woman speaks out about sexual assault, the common response isn’t “how can we help you?” it’s questions about how she was dressed, how drunk she was or if she had slept with her assailant prior to the incident. Alternatively, when a man speaks out about sexual assault, he’s met with criticism due to the expectations society places on men to be sexually dominant.

Rape culture can only end when we, as a society, stop and look at the real problem behind rape and sexual assault. It’s not how a woman is dressed, it’s not how drunk she is nor is it her sexual history, it’s men.

Men are born with privilege, and that privilege leads to entitlement. That entitlement is the key as to why men rape women; they feel as though they deserve the pleasure that women can offer them. This entitlement turns the victim into nothing more than an object, a piece of meat, taking the guilt out of the act itself.

While men can be victims of sexual assault, the fact of the matter is 90% of adult rape victims are women. This is in no way an attempt to devalue the assault that men go through, but on a grander scale, rape culture affects female assault victims drastically more than it does male victims.

The solution to rape culture? Rather than teach people how to avoid rape, start teaching people that forcing someone to commit a sexual act against their will and taking away their personhood is wrong. Stop turning rape into a joke and start taking it seriously. Start holding these rapists accountable for their actions rather than locking them up for three months at a time. Above all, stop placing the reputations of rapists over the safety of assault survivors.