THE NUMBER ONE MYTH: RAPE CULTURE
Editor's Note: Mariam Abdulle is a female activist who wrote this in response to rape culture within the Muslim community. We would like to take this time to acknowledge that no culture is fully exempt from sexual assault and rather than focusing on the prevalence of sexual assault within the United States alone, we do want to address rape culture in other nations while being as respectful as possible. Thank you.
The number one myth that seems to have circulated around is that if you are "covered", you are exempt and absolutely protected from even the possibility of rape. Muslim men are confident in that we, as Muslim women, are safe at all times if- and only IF- you dress and act "modestly". But does it really come down to what we wear? Of course not. Here's the shocking truth: protecting one's "honour" does not really protect their bodies.
The number one myth is that by ignoring it, rape culture goes away. Why don't scholars address it? Why don't scholars push its importance? I'm not satisfied with living in a world where Muslim women are oblivious to the dangers they are surrounded by. The blaringly obvious truth is that the stats are constantly on the rise. A survey carried out in 2011 shows that countries in which the population is dominated by Muslims (such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, etc) are some of the most dangerous places for women, in terms of sexual assault. So let me ask again, why are we ignoring rape culture?
The number one myth is that rapists are not "real men". They are your relatives, your friends, your neighbours, your classmates. They are real men who live lives not unlike yours. About 10% or rapes are committed by strangers, the other 90%? People who you trusted on multiple occasions. Sometimes, as a Muslim woman -and I myself am guilty of this- you believe the best in the people in your life. You are assured in the fact that they would never do such a harmful, sinful act to you. But the cold hard facts are that rapists don't value certain religious duties as well as you may think.
The number nth myth is that advice on how to avoid rape as a Muslim woman, rather than on how not to rape, reduces the chances of being sexually assaulted. Unfortunately, no one is willing to give that particular sermon and until we address it in its full, ugly form, no one is safe.