Katey Brosche Katey is a student at MTSU and a staff writer for TFP. You can visit Katey's blog here - www.katbrosche.com
Let me start this post by saying I am aware of how different the inequalities women face in America are compared to those being faced in third world countries. I am aware that in comparison, we have it much easier and are much luckier than those women. I am also aware, however, that the United States of America is supposed to be a leading nation and while the two sexes are not equal, that will never truly be correct (a fact confirmed by The World Economic Forum’s “Global Gender Gap Report 2015,” where the United States ranked 28th our of 145 countries). Rape culture, discrimination, and sex trafficking are just a few issues in which the odds are statistically stacked against women.
This is why we march.
RAPE CULTURE is alive and thriving in the United States. With every brave survivor of sexual assault comes a hoard of attackers asking “What were you wearing?” and “How much did you have to drink?” Because of the hostile society that prioritizes keeping guilty males out of jail and passing the blame on to the victim, many women will never tell others about being raped so understand that even as high as these numbers are, they are grossly understated.
1 in 5 women has been/will be raped or had experienced/will experience an attempted rape at least once in her lifetime. 1 in 4 women has been/will be beaten by an intimate partner. 1 in 6 women has been/will be stalked. Source: National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, performed by the CDC.
82% of all juvenile rape victims are female, 90% of adult rape victims are female. Source: RAINN.
1 in 5 female college students are survivors of sexual assault and that only accounts for the 11% of rapes on campus that are reported. Source: Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation Survey.
334 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to the police and out of those 1,000 sexual assaults, 994 perpetrators will walk free. Source: RAINN.
Of the few perpetrators who do not immediately walk free, many will receive sentences less severe than the man who tied a tarp to change the “HOLLYWOOD” sign to “HOLLYWEED.”
Brock Turner, famous for being found guilty for 3 different felonies and still being referred to as “Stanford Swimmer” instead of “Rapist,” served 3 months of his 6 month sentence because, according to the judge, “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.”
Robert H. Richards IV received an 8 year prison sentence in 2009 after raping his 3 year-old daughter. Instead of forcing the rapist to serve his sentence, the judge said that the “defendant will not fare well” locked up. Said judge suspended the sentence and put Richards on probation instead, making his only punishments probation, being registered as a sex offender, and seeking “treatment.”
Austin Smith Clem was found guilty of raping a neighbor 3 times, twice when she was 14 years-old and again when she was 18 years-old, and was sentenced 40 years in prison. However, the judge wrote the sentence so that he would only have to serve time in prison if he violated his probation, which was supervision under the Limestone County community corrections program and a fine. That punishment was protested and he was sentenced again, but the judge still avoided forcing him to serve time.
Similar outcomes were the same for Jose Arriaga Soto Jr., Thomas Boden, and more.
DISCRIMINATION is another one of America’s embarrassing flaws. Discrimination against women has been around for hundreds of years, and it is for some reason still a difficult thing to shake in 2017.
Despite women earning 60% of all master’s degrees in 2012, in 2015 there were only 26 women (5.2%) serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Source: Pew Research Center, Women and Leadership.
In 2012, for doing the same job with the same qualification as a man, white women made 80% of what a man made, African American women made just under 70%, and Hispanic women made roughly 60%. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, U.S. Department of Labor.
In 2015, the smallest pay gap was reported in Washington D.C., where white women were paid 90% of what white men were paid for doing the same job with the same qualifications. Louisiana is where the pay gap was the largest, with white women being paid 65% of what white men were paid for doing the same job with the same qualifications. Keep in mind white women make much more than African American and Hispanic women. Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (allowed lawsuits for pay discrimination to be filed within 180 days of any discrimination-affected paycheck, even if it was the result of discrimination that occurred more than 180 days ago), a bill that Mike Pence voted against not once, not twice, but three times. Source: American Bridge.
Mike Pence also voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would require employers to prove that instances of unequal pay were job-related. Source: American Bridge.
By the time a college-educated woman turns 59, she will have lost almost $800,000 throughout her professional career as a result of the gender wage gap. Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Status of Women in the States 2015 Executive Summary.
If equal pay existed, it would cut the poverty rate in half for families with a working woman. Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research calculations based on the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic supplements.
SEX TRAFFICKING is a modern day form of slavery in the United States that specifically targets women and children. Thousands of women and girls around America are kidnapped and/or groomed into becoming a sex slave. This is one of the fastest growing illegal activities. The average trafficker with in Atlanta makes over $34,000 a week, just a small part of Georgia’s $390 million trafficking industry.
Since 2007, there have been over 14,588 reports of sex trafficking within the United States. Source: National Human Trafficking Hotline, operated by Polaris.
1 in 6 endangered runaways were likely sex trafficking victims in 2014. Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked every year, of which 80% are female and half are children. Source: U.S. State Department.
Women and girls make up 98% of trafficking victims globally for sexual exploitation. Source: International Labour Organization.
Over 5 million men and women marched because of how different these statistics are for men. We marched because the United States of America should not be ranked 28th for gender equality. Write to your senators and representatives and let your voice (and the truth) be heard. Men are here because of women. Being a woman should not be a misfortune because it’s freaking awesome.
the author of this essay has asked to remain anonymous
I was 17 when it happened. I was a senior in high school, just about to graduate. I had my entire life ahead of me, and then it happened. It’s been almost three years, and every day I still think about it. For a majority of those three years, I blamed myself. I shouldn’t have been drinking, I shouldn’t have been in his apartment, I shouldn’t have told him I liked him the weekend before, I shouldn’t have been wearing a low-cut shirt.. Because maybe, just maybe if I could go back in time and change one of these factors, I wouldn’t have been sexually assaulted that night. Half of the United States elected a man who has been accused of sexual assault and even said himself, “Grab her by the pussy.” People made excuses for him, saying he was joking, that it was so long ago it doesn’t matter anymore, it was just “locker room talk”. But, tell me, if it was just locker room talk, why are so many women being sexually assaulted? If it was just locker room talk, why am I even writing this? America has a rape problem. We cannot deny this. America also has a victim blaming problem. We cannot deny this, either. According to Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics on Rainn.org, “Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.” Yet only 20% of sexual assault cases are actually reported. Hundreds of women and men are being violated and nothing is being done about it. Why is this? Well, let’s look at Brock Turner. Ah, yes. Brock Turner, the infamous “Stanford Swimmer”. The star athlete that raped an unconscious girl behind a trashcan. Yes, he physically violated a young college student, but major news outlets seemed to have only referred to him as a “Stanford swimmer”. He’s not. He was kicked off the swim team, banned from the prestigious campus and oh yeah, he’s a convicted rapist. Fortunately, this athlete received time behind bars. A whole six months. He didn't even serve his whole sentence, though, because he was let go after three months for "good behavior". Wait, three months? That’s it? He did the unimaginable to another human being yet only faced 12 weeks in jail? You’re kidding right? Nope, I’m not! Unfortunately, his case is unique. Unique as in most convicted rapist never see the inside of a prison cell. One in a thousand reported attackers actually face time behind bars. But concerned citizens, do not fret. Another attack will never happen on the Stanford campus again. The University banned hard alcohol at their parties, so it won’t, right? I mean, after all, clearly the alcohol is the only reason why she was raped. Once we start believing this false narrative, we find ourselves asking, why was she even drinking? Wasn’t she underage? That’s illegal! What was she wearing? A short skirt, low cut top? I don’t know, it kind of seems like she was asking for it, right? He’s a guy, how was he supposed to control himself? These questions echo in the court rooms of every rape case, because for some reason it’s easier to blame her Mike’s Hard Lemonade and miniskirt than it is to hold the rapist accountable for his actions. We place the blame on the victims and show sympathy for the attackers. We’re one breath away from calling the victims sluts, then looking them in the eye and asking why they didn’t report it. I didn’t report mine. I thought rape was walking home alone at night and having a bad guy jump out of the bushes. I didn’t realize the bad guy could be your friend, the bushes could be his apartment, and, instead of strolling the sidewalk at midnight, you’re fading in and out of intoxicated consciousness while he climbs on top of you. I blamed myself. I was embarrassed, ashamed and didn’t want anybody else to know. And because of my fear brought on by society, I have become a part of the 80% of unreported attacks statistic. But what if she was lying? According to National Review, only 2-8% of reported rape cases are false accusations. So, are we going to ignore the other potential 98%? Are we going to continue pushing the false narrative that the victims are to blame? Are we going to continue questioning why cases aren’t reported, instead of creating safe environments for the ones who were attacked? The answer is unfortunately all too clear. Our President is a man who has been quoted saying “you have to treat ‘em like shit.” And “It must be a pretty picture. You dropping to your knee." America speaks of women as if we’re property then tries to act shocked when we are physically treated as less than human. As long as a majority of citizens are defending comments like “grab her by the pussy”, we are not "making America great again", we are making America rape again.