An Open Letter About Rape

To Whom It May Concern:

Rape isn't about sex. Rape is about power.

This is what my teacher told us in health class when I was fifteen years old. Some students, all male, argued. They said rape was obviously sexual, driven by lust or perverse impulse. What I didn't understand then, and what I am only beginning to understand now, is that those students thought of rape as something driven by natural urges, and therefore, was inevitable.

The challenge today is to think about rape as something unnatural and something we can change.

Rape, since the beginning of time, has been used as a weapon against a person or people. It seems inevitable. The Bible mentions the rape and plunder of whole villages by the Greeks, Persians, and Romans. More than 2,000 years later, rape is still being used as a viable military strategy in the Congo, where 16,000 women are raped each year according to one report by the United Nations. But just because something appears to have always been, does not mean it will always be. When we talk about sexual violence, it's easy to toss it aside into that foul smelling pile of things that make up the "way of the world." When we do this, we subconsciously accept these heinous acts as normal.

Rape isn't about sex. Rape is about power.
It's about dominating another human being. It can be about destroying a whole people. Since rape is about power, one of the most important steps we can do towards change is to empower its victims. We can empower victims through education. We can help them regain their identity and hope.

That is why I support Great Actions for Development's work in Congo, because they do exactly that. Thank you.

GAD Supporter

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