What are we going to do about rape?

Has the time finally arrived that humanity can look at this action of violence of one human towards another and finally say “Enough!”….?? Or will we be indignant for 15 minutes of collective consciousness and then move on to the next concern without taking any constructive action to end this abhorrent practice?

I am calling us to see that this is the time for us to stand up and say that this is NOT the highest possibility for humanity. We can raise our consciousness and walk a higher path. We can each be a force for positive change!

The Wake Up Call

There are times in human history when our failings get thrown in our face so drastically that they slap us and say “wake up!”.  Each turning point doesn’t lead to an overnight resolution of the problem — but it is a major shift moving us in the direction of what we think is the higher standard for what we see us humans are about.

The past few years, we have been hearing more and more about a culture of male predatory behavior on the campuses of our colleges.  Women have gone to our “institutions of higher learning” only to be turned into victims of sexual violence and then shamed or pressured into remaining silent.  Meanwhile the criminal behavior is tolerated, if not emboldened by the lack of accountability.  What values are we teaching here??

The latest stories come from the University of Virginia thanks to an investigative report by Rolling Stone. Here is a link to the Rolling Stone Article which I have to admit I had a hard time reading. I have difficulty understanding how one human can purposely be so cruel to another. I do want to note that the University has taken some positive steps to address the situation according to this recent USA Today Article.

Meanwhile, our news is also reporting the allegations against comedian Bill Cosby. Like most people, I was saddened both by the possibility that these stories about someone I admired could be true and by how these women claim to have been victimized.

My point here is not to argue who is guilty or not, who you or I should believe or not — my point is this:  Are these tragic events — as well as similar ones that have been reported in the past year — finally going to be the wake up call that brings us to ending our culture of rape and abuse that has lived in the shadows of our society?

Our Moral Compass

Each of us has a moral compass that we carry that helps us define what is right and what is wrong.  That compass is programmed by a number of factors.  Those include our family, our friends, our faith traditions, our education, our media and every other influential source that we encounter.  You and I  along with all of these external sources are part of a larger social feedback system where we all impact one another. Yes, we have all “taken in” messages from all of these interactions and crafted an idea of what is considered “acceptable” in the larger society—but we are also a programmer for others by their witnessing our words and actions.

Yet, we are not simply “automatons” that are totally programmed by these external feedback loops—we do have free will to make new choices—and we do have internal sources of wisdom and knowledge that we can draw upon to guide us to higher choices.  In reality, we would each have a hard time “drawing a line” between what parts of our moral compass were programmed by external forces and what parts were guided by this inner wisdom….but we really don’t have to do so. All that is important is to remember that we are guided by a combination of our social environment learning and by our own intuition.  And, we need to pay attention to what messages our cultural system may be saying is “acceptable” behavior and question it if our higher wisdom simply knows that we and humanity can do better.

Some Cultural Evolution Needs

There are some areas that I believe our cultural messages and actions need to change based on this current “wake up call”.  Here are my thoughts:

Everyone needs to learn that every other person is valuable and needs to be treated with the same dignity and respect that they desire for themselves. There needs to be a renaissance of the “Golden Rule” –Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.  But it needs to be based upon a deep realization that everyone is important and that such understanding drives the intentions of our actions with others. 

Even more pointedly —all boys and men need to learn that all girls and women are not objects to be controlled, manipulated or abused in any way. 

Our educational systems must be the holders of the flame for this high vision of equality and respect. Not only must they serve as a carrier of the message of human rights and equality, they must never never never turn a blind eye to abuses of this standard to meet any other perceived need (such as “reputation” , funding concerns, school successes in sports or academics, offending influential families, etc.).

Our media needs to let go of seeing their role as only about “getting the most people to view their program” so that they can “make the most money for their corporation” and realize that they are a major part of our acculturation experience.  Our media—especially our major sources—have a moral responsibility to not continuously provide us a programming diet of entertainment of violence, abuse and the objectification of women.

Our cultural obsession with wealth, fame and celebrity needs to something that we consciously reduce and, to as much as possible, eliminate. A person who obtains such status is not “better” that anyone else.  Our holding a belief that they are somehow “better” leads us to devaluing ourselves and can feed the ego of the rich and famous to the point that they erroneously believe they can mistreat others who are not of their “high status”. 

You may see other other cultural issues we need to consider—if so, let me know….comments are always welcome.

An Ever Present Optimism

So what are we going to do with this wake up call?

I carry an optimistic vision for humanity.  I know that the challenges in my personal life have always led to growth and a reorientation towards a higher path….if not immediately, at least eventually.  I know the same is true for this world.  Therefore, when I notice the events in the world which are “less than” what I know is possible for humanity—and sometimes I can get really pissed off by them…..I know that I can always eventually turn my energy, my thoughts, my actions, and my focus towards that greater vision of what I know we can be.  And, I know that in doing so, I am contributing to that better world. That is the place I want to live in—the world possible.

We are all called in our own way to take action in our personal sphere of influence to bring about that higher vision.  We can become involved and speak out in some kind of activist role. We can look at our roles in life and the organizations of which we are a part and help to steer them towards a higher course. We can voice the higher vision when others don’t. We can speak up when we witness that which we know is wrong. We can make our shared world a safe place for everyone –no exceptions –to live and thrive in. We can bring more love to the world.

What are you going to do?

Mark Gilbert


Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his very latest one Becoming a Spiritual Change Agent. Check it out!


Photo credit: Georgie Pauwels / Foter / CC BY