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Dark Ecology: Race, Gender & the Environment

English 252 @ Hunter College

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A Stolen Voice

The content may contain subject of disturbance.

Timothy Morton explains ‘dark ecology’ as a means of expressing the “irony, ugliness, and horror” of ecology. So, what does that mean in the real world? It is the deformity in nature, be it environmental or human. One example of this deformity is rape, a subject our culture demeans but does not put an effort to prevent it. It degrades women, if she is the victim, but is not the case for men. If a man were to claim that he was raped, he would be ridiculed by society. According to society, men are not seen as victims but rather seen as the culprit. Hence, we do not hear about those cases often. In cases of rape, the fight that women have to put up with in order to make their voices heard on a larger scale of the justice system, is unbelievable and unimaginable. One would think that in a time where we are incredibly advanced in technology, justice for rape might be clear as well right? Well in reality, compared to technology, justice for rape is similar to the technology in the 1800’s, barely there. That is only because the world is run by men, who do not see rape being a problem and do not see it through the victim’s eyes. They are not able to comprehend what being a rape victim feels like or how undermining their actions are. To them, the idea of rape is not rape, it is a means of pleasure, not only for the man but the woman as well.

I chose this topic because it has been a problem ever since the creation of men and women and it is relatable to our class. Recently, I was asked to watch the movie “Thelma & Louise” directed by Ridley Scott, a movie about two women, Thelma Dickinson and Louise Sawyer. Thelma is a married woman with a controlling husband, who makes her decisions for her, as if she has no opinion of her own. Louise is Thelma’s friend who works as a waitress and has a boyfriend who is a musician. Tired of the same lifestyle, they both decide to go on a two-day mini-vacation away from the problems. Thelma goes without her husband’s “permission” which according to the society at the time that the movie takes place, is inexcusable. On the way to the vacation place, they stop at a roadhouse, where they drink a little and dance with people and let loose. After a while, Thelma starts to feel uncomfortable in the environment and starts to feel sick so, Harlan, the person she that she dances with takes her out of the roadhouse for some fresh air. Once outside, he starts to forcefully kiss her and rip her clothes. He, in this moment would have taken this chance to rape her if Louise had not come to save her. As they walk away, Harlan makes nasty remarks toward the women forcing Louise to kill him. Because Thelma did not give into Harlan’s advances, Harlan takes the chance to ridicule her. This goes to show that if a woman does not give into a man’s sexual intentions, then the woman is the one who gets humiliated because of her choice not to give in. Louise helping Thelma escape from Harlan shows his failure. If Thelma and Louise were to go to the cops to tell of this, they would be the one who will be blamed because they were the ones drinking and they were the ones who decides to dance with Harlan. In the end, they would be the one getting blamed. The fear of no one believing them as they were drinking, forces them to go on the run. Louise asks her boyfriend to bring her life savings which she gets robbed of by a man she had tried to help by letting him hitch a ride. After that moment, they commit a series of crimes, some to survive and others to teach creeps a lesson, all of this escalates only because of one fear, which was whether or not the society would believe Thelma if she were to tell about the attempted rape and Louise killing a MAN in self-defense? Louise knows the answer already because she had been raped in Texas but no one was there to help her. No one stepped in, to help her serve justice. The dark nature of men was revealed to her then. Hence, the answer at large was no.

This issue should not only be raised in a movie, but also has to be questioned in reality. Recently a female was raped by a drunk Stanford student whose father described the rape as, “20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.” What the father did not think was, how the “20 minutes of action” had impacted the young woman. He did not think of the pain that the “20 minute of action” had caused. He did not think of his son’s prosecutor who had publically defamed, and humiliated the victim, for his son’s “20 minutes of action.” He did not think the “20 minutes of action” had taken her life from her. Not only did it physically affect her, it affected her psychologically as well. It took her dignity from her. It took away something that she cherished the most, her independency, her freedom. After his son had the “20 minutes of action”, the son told the world “She Liked it.” Not only was the father who believe in the “20 minute of action” but so did the judge. In fear of not causing a “severe impact” on the 20-year-old, the judge gave a rapist only six months of jail time and three years of parole. So, the “20 minute of action” by a 20 years old men was not taken seriously as even grand larceny offenders will receive 1- 4 years of jail time however this man whole stole something so precious from a woman that because of it she will live in fear for the rest of her life however, her dignity, her independency was not enough to be worth of 1000 dollars. This showed that robbery of something worth a 1000 dollars was more criminating than taking someone’s innocence, and her pride from her. This shows that the justice system had failed her and not only her but all other rape victims out there. It failed to show that rape victims should not fear to raise their voices against it. It did not protect the other weak innocents by giving a more meaningful sentence which would instill fear in other perpetrators. Instead a rapist was given jail time so lenient that a year worth of fighting for it and facing the humiliation seemed worthless and embarrassing. The young women walked out with more fear than she had walked in with, fear of the justice system and fear of men. For the man it was a sense of pride for taking something forceful from a women and putting her on display for the mortification. For him, it was a win, something he could be proud of and something his father is proud of, but for the woman, it was a horrid situation, something that will haunt her for as long as she lives and something that she cannot take back from him.

This essay/blog showed the ugliness the world has within it. The aspect of dark ecology that is manmade. That despite being put on trial a rapist got away with a lenient sentence. A woman had lost her privacy and her confidence, two women had lost their freedom and all of the other victims that are out there, had lost their voices because of the unjust done to them along with many other women who or did not try to fight it, because according to the world “20 minutes of action” would ruin a life, the person who has performed the action, not the victim who is the recipient of the malicious crime.

work citation

Movie:

 

Thelma & Louise. Dir. Ridley. Scott. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1991. DVD.

 

Picture:

Thomas, Emily. “Rape Is Grossly Underreported In The U.S., Study Finds.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 Nov. 2013. Web.                                     <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/21/rape-study-report-america-                      us_n_4310765.html>.

 

For more information on the case:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/06/04/you-took-away-my-worth-a-rape-victim-delivers-powerful-message-to-a-former-stanford-swimmer/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.5d14a54270eb

 

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