Let’s Talk About Rape

If you’re reading this entry, just the title alone may have disturbed you. Good. Rape is disturbing. Let’s talk about that.

I read a lot. Books, newspapers, magazines, labels on the backs of my tea bottles, room service menus; I am a reader. Today I came across this article. A company -Hornet Signs- out of Waco, Texas has decided to market the following decal to be placed upon the backs of pick-up trucks. One of their female staff posed for the photograph. They chose to keep her face covered with her hair.

Photo courtesy of samuel-warde.com

Take a few seconds to look at the photograph. Now, imagine if that was your grandmother, your mother, your sister, your daughter, your best friend. Now imagine it was you. Some of you reading this, it has been you. It’s been me, too – though not in the back of a pick-up truck. And I wasn’t bound by ropes, but rather by hands and knees.

Women have come forward in full force, outraged over this image. Some men and even a woman whose post I read have stated that it’s an overreaction. I would disagree.

You might say, “But, Heather! That woman isn’t being raped!” Okay. You are right. The woman in the image is not being raped. The insinuation is that she is bound and tied in the back of a truck being taken somewhere against her will. And this is so that maybe the person (presumably the man) who did this to her can take her to the library to read sweet sonnets to her all afternoon long? Or perhaps take her to church to read Bible passages? Right.

Attempting to profit from perpetuating the idea that the abuse of women is acceptable, and even “trendy” enough to display on the back of your pick-up? Only a sick mind could devise such a disgraceful marketing tactic. I don’t even have words for the people who would pay money to display these images on their vehicles.

We live in a culture where we are desensitized to the propagation of rape culture. Women are taught to cry out “FIRE!” instead of “RAPE” even if they are actually being attacked because more often times than not, people are disinclined to help a woman they think is being attacked. I know this to be true as my own MMA instructor taught me this very thing. The explosion of the song, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke further serves to prove that the majority of Americans won’t bat an eye when a man objectifies women and even implies she’s “asking for it” because he deserves the hottest bitch in the bar – so long as as he disguises it with a catchy tune.

“But, Heather! We have Freedom of Speech in this country, and Hornet Signs is just exercising their First Amendment Rights!” Steve McCollum, a graphic artist for Hornet Signs also exercised his so-called “Freedom of Speech” when he replied to one of the women expressing her opinions over the decal stating that she was just “a butt-hurt bitch who thinks her retarded opinion matters.” What an eloquent response, huh?

As it so happens, I will be in Texas in just over a week. I have offered to visit Hornet Signs to discuss the circumstances surrounding my own rape, which happened when I was eleven years old. In Texas. It is not something I often speak of, but I remember almost every detail. Since they seem to find the victimization of women so amusing and funny, I would like for Steve McCollum to look me in the eye and tell me I’m just a butt hurt bitch who thinks my retarded opinion matters.

So getting back to Freedom of Speech. Yes, we are free to say what we wish; whether through words or actions. But we’re not free from the consequences. Something tells me Hornet Signs will feel the sting. And soon.