Ladies: Your body is not a prop.
Let me shout that a little louder for the people in the back.
Your body is not a prop.
We live in a country where, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, someone is raped every two minutes. According to these statistics, in just the time it took me to write this opinion piece, 30 people were raped – and that’s just in America.
When rape cases like the Vanderbilt case come up, so many of our first instincts seem to be to blame the victim even though she didn’t commit a crime.
“Maybe she shouldn’t have had so much to drink.”
“Maybe she shouldn’t have dressed like she wanted it.”
“She didn’t say no.”
There are so many voices out there telling women we need to sit down, shut up and stop whining, but I’m here to say something different.
You are not a prop.
Your body is not a prop.
No one is entitled to reduce you to that.
Regardless of what you’re wearing. Regardless of how much you’ve had to drink. Regardless of whether or not you’re dating the person who wants more than you’re willing to give.
It’s disgusting to me how many victims of rape and sexual assault I know, and it’s disgusting the dialogue our country is exchanging on this issue rarely reminds us consent is ours to give and ours alone.
According to RAINN, one in six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape, and this only factors in instances in which victims report the assault. Statistics are actually believed to be much higher.
At Belmont, that would mean more than 700 women have been or will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired.
I am tired of walking around at night carrying a knife hoping no one will come after me. I am tired of worrying whether my ‘yes’ will mean yes and my ‘no’ will mean no.
Most of all, I am tired of trying to explain to people around me why this discussion matters.
Our country needs to change its dialogue on these issues from one that condemns to one that reminds us all of our worth.
You are so much more than the world will tell you.
You are strong. You are lovely. You can overcome anything the world will throw at you.
If someone has taken your voice away, taken your choices away, know you are no less worthy and no less valuable.
Please know that you are still so much more than a prop.
You do not exist to be someone else’s sexual gratification.
You do not exist to please someone else.
You exist to be unapologetically you, with whatever boundaries that entails.
This article was written by Melissa Kriz.