After Bill Cosby himself admitted in a sworn deposition to drugging women for the purposes of sex — rape — at this point coming to his defense is like being on board the Titanic, insisting it isn’t sinking because your side hasn’t touched water. Damon Wayans has joined the ranks of Cosby apologists with recent comments on The Breakfast Club radio show about Cosby’s accusers being “un-rapeable” that highlight how clueless he is about the actual socio-cultural influences that lead to the crime of rape.
It seems counter-intuitive, but let’s get something perfectly straight: Rape is not about sex. Rape is about power, entitlement, and opportunity. Physical (sex) acts are the sinister byproduct of the demonstration of these three things. Let’s break it down:
Rape is about power.
I am stronger than you. You cannot tell me what I can and cannot do. When I want something, I’m going to take it. I don’t care what you want. I am able to punish you for existing. You are less human than me. Your desires are insignificant. I have the physical, economic, social, and cultural clout, and I actively wield it over you.
Rape is about entitlement.
I’m going to take what I want because I believe it’s my due. The media, society, my family, my job, my gender, have taught me that I am owed whatever I want. My urges take precedence over yours. It’s in my nature. You wouldn’t be dancing like that or dressed like that if you didn’t want me. It is my right to do what I want to you, even if you disagree. I paid so now you owe me. I’ll film you and upload it to the Internet because I didn’t do anything wrong. I won’t be denied, even if the person attempting to deny me is my wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, daughter, son, sister, brother, niece, nephew, altar boy, altar girl, friend, colleague, employee, patient, partner, a stranger walking down the street alone at night. I don’t care who you are to me, I am entitled to whatever I want from you.
Rape is about opportunity.
I know where you live. Your drink is unattended and I have Rohypnol. You are unconscious and there’s nobody around. You are a patient and I can lock your door. You are physically unable to say yes or no. You are too young to understand what I’m doing. I can manipulate you using threats. You’re alone. You appear vulnerable. I’ve groomed you to comply. You’re hitchhiking. You need help. You’re outnumbered. There’s no one to hear you scream. There are no rules in war. I am going to use your weakness to my advantage. Because I have the power, and I’ve been taught this is my right, and here is my chance. I’ll get away with taking what I want because who will listen to you over me? You danced a certain way. You dressed for yes. You needed to be put in your place. I will say you wanted it and I will be believed. God will forgive me and wipe my sins clean.
Rape is the demonstration of a person’s (sexual) power over another.
Rape is a person’s sense of entitlement to another’s body for their own (sexual) purposes without consent.
Rape is the opportunity for a person to demonstrate their power and entitlement over another for the purposes of their own (sexual) gratification.
These feelings of power, entitlement, and opportunity feed off each other like a circle jerk of vampires, one bleeding into the next and combining forces as they together inevitably lead to the physical act of rape itself.
Catherine Hardwicke’s recent music video from her campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground painfully and poignantly illustrates this terrible triumvirate of behavior and situation that lead to this heinous crime.
Deflecting the actual socio-cultural roots of rape by victim blaming is the blatant perpetuation of the toxic rape culture in which we live. And it has to end.
Rape is NOT about looks, age, race, gender, nationality, or any other arbitrary cultural signifier that would make one person a more or less desirable victim than another.
Because rape is not about sex.
Are we all on the same page now?
This article was originally published at Huffington Post Impact.