A week ago, my pipes weren’t working. Now, when I step into the shower I am overcome with gratefulness for a shower that drains, for the ability to wash my hair whenever I want to. Rinsing off after the gym tonight, I was once again so happy to have working plumbing… yet I wondered at what point I’d start taking it for granted again. It’s a week out. Maybe in two? Maybe three? Definitely by a month, I won’t even think twice about water whooshing down my drain. After all, that’s what it’s supposed to do. No big deal. I’ll be used to it.
It reminded me of when I was coming back from Malawi, how I was so convinced I wasn’t going to take anything for granted. Electricity that works all the time? What a gift. My friends in the same city, in the same time zone? I’ll be forever in awe. Mexican food?! I will praise Jesus for every burrito. And yet, with time, everything became normal once again. No big deal. I was used to it. (Okay…. I might still do the last one. Burritos are heaven sent.)
It then reminded me of an article I read recently on porn. Shower… Malawi…. porn. Natural progression of thoughts, right? There’s been a lot of alarming studies coming to light on the effects of porn – on the actual people who watch it, on addictions to it, on society at large. It’s heartbreaking stuff. One in particular that shocked me was women who have been exposed to porn are less likely to speak up when they see other women being attacked or taken advantage of. Violence against women no longer phases them, as they see it as normal. No big deal. They’re used to it.
I’m honestly at a loss for words over here. Because it’s so sad and heartbreaking, yet also infuriating and maddening, and at the same time mind blowing that it’s real. That’s the world we live in. We’ve become so very used to violence against women* – degrading talk, unwanted sexual advances, abuse – that we almost don’t notice it.
Where do we go from here? Some days, I feel the weight of a society so far gone that I lose hope altogether. Man after man after brain-washed-woman explains to me how rape culture isn’t real, how victim blaming isn’t a thing, how equality has been achieved. And yet everywhere I look shouts a different story. We’re the society who hears about a rape and looks for the reason…. when we should be looking for the rapist. How did we get here? More importantly, where are we headed?
I don’t have the answers. I wish I did. I wish someone did. Some easy fix, some switch that got accidentally flipped in the backstage of society. Ohhhh, violent porn? Who turned this on?! *Flip* Wait, rape culture?? This was supposed to be turned off years ago. *Flip* Basic human decency?? Let’s turn this baby back on! *Flip* If only.
So what can we do? I think we can start by asking questions. Let’s start by questioning ourselves. Let’s think about what are we used to – that we shouldn’t be? Victim blaming? Sexist jokes? Soft-core porn? What parts of life are we taking for granted, that we need to stop? Our privilege? Our platform? Our assumed truths? And, most importantly, what are we going to do about it?
*I know violence against men is a thing as well, so please don’t think I’m trying to paint a picture of all men as monsters and all women as perfect.