The British Taboo

Nowadays social media has a colossal role in each of our lives. So much so, we no longer need to rely on the likes of newspapers or news shows to discover the headlines in other countries, or even our own.

Of course social media has it’s pros and it’s cons. As does everything in life. But the amazing thing about it is that there is no filter. It is easy to access non-censored reports about war-zones or terror attacks, which is both beneficial and of course in some cases, harmful.

However in this instance I am not talking about war-zones or even terror attacks. Instead, I am discussing the impressible subject of Rape.

Currently social media is swarming with reports on the prominent “Ke$ha case” as it so rightly should be. However, in Britain, there are no TV reports of this. There is no mention of this impropriety in the newspapers either. Only on social media and networking sites is one able to read about the horror subjected to Ke$ha.

Casting one’s mind back over previous years in British media, there has not been any detailed reporting of such exploitation. Of course there are the brief news outlines of occurrences, but never any detailed results on the trialling, conclusion or outcome of such horrors.

In Britain Rape is not talked about. Sexual Assault is not talked about. Feminism is not talked about. The only hint of female headlines is the “Tampon Tax” debate whereby empowered women have stood up for their right to non-taxed tampons. And periods. This of course deserves every headline it receives, however it still does not change the fact that there are numerous taboos that Britain just do not want to talk about.

Rape is a terrifying ordeal which no woman – or man – should ever be the victim of. Nevertheless, unfortunately scores of women – and men – are sexually attacked on a daily basis and in some cases with horrifying outcomes. No matter how small or large the attack, it is equally disturbing and scarring as the next.

There is no doubt that there is lack of support and information out there for victims. There is no doubt that there is a lack of national support therein. Recently I researched charity support work both in Britain and in America. There were countless American charities and American campaigns dedicated to raising awareness and showing encouragement for women who had been victims of Sexual Assault. Conversely in Britain, there were no dedication weeks or months; there were no campaigns or charities to follow and support; no merchandise or wristbands to buy in order to publicly show your dedicated support.

It is a historically British notion to maintain a “stiff upper lip” and to withhold one’s emotions and feelings in order to live one’s life. However, as a student of psychology, I know that by doing so one is not living a life, one is living a lie. A lie which can perish and break down at any time if not properly managed.

In America there is a strong conception of psychological support; of sharing thoughts and feelings and handling them by any means necessary. This perception is the strength that Britain lacks. The strength to admit weakness and receive help. Many Britons view asking for help as a form of weakness; whereas the mere admission that one needs help is in itself a massive sign of strength.

By not talking about Rape; by sweeping it under the rug and moving on with our lives rather than discussing Miss Jane Doe’s sexual attack and how to support and help her or how to make more females aware of this occurrence in order to perhaps prevent it; we are actually creating a far larger problem in the long term. The only encouragement Britain is giving the victims of Sexual Assault; is the encouragement to bottle it up and keep it suppressed.

The encouragement to report; and the support thereafter; is key in spreading awareness and showing nationwide support for all victims of Sexual Assault.

As aforementioned this is not a global issue; merely a British one. And yes, by British I do include Scotland of course.

So what do I want to happen?

Well, primarily more awareness of Rape in the news and in papers would be an excellent way to start. But that is not all it is going to take.

In America, the month of March is dedicated to raising awareness of Rape and Sexual Assault. This needs to happen in Britain also. There needs to be more mention of Rape in schools and in education; it is a real issue that young people – not children – need to be made aware of and must learn of.

Attitudes on Rape have got to change. Society is so caught up in changing the attitudes of LGBT persons and changing laws or tax issues. As well as this, society should be caught up in changing the attitudes of it’s taboo topics such as Rape and Sexual Assault.

Most people think it will never happen to them. But for many of them, this is not the case. And so therefore, women and men alike, must learn to accept that Rape and Sexual Assault occur daily within their cities and perhaps even mere miles from their home. It happens. We need to learn how we can prevent it, and how we can support those in need.

Thank you for reading, I know it was difficult.
B.

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