Belfast Telegraph

Time we all waged war on the normalisation of rape

By Sinead Moriarty

Why is it that so many young men think it's okay to sing, rap, or record music that degrades women and 'normalises' rape?

It is no longer the edgy, dark, underground singers that do this. It's mainstream rappers and hip-hop artists. Music our children listen to.

Did you know the term "molly" is slang for a pure form of the drug ecstasy? I thought it was a girl's name. Do we really pay attention to lyrics? It seems we should.

But it's not just the hip-hop community that glorifies rape in some of its music, now it's 'nice' soap actors, too.

Chris Fountain – who played Tommy Duckworth in Coronation Street – has been axed after explicit rap videos of him glorifying rape emerged online.

Although the clips were recorded a year ago under the moniker of masked MC The Phantom, they have only just been leaked and ITV executives decided to fire Fountain.

In one horrifying clip, he raps about dragging a girl upstairs to rape her. Does that seem normal to you?

Luckily for him, the expletive-laden videos have been removed from YouTube, but not before being viewed by thousands of people – including young, impressionable fans.

Fountain, clearly terrified of the media backlash, issued an apology and said he was "deeply ashamed" of the videos and lyrics about raping women.

His Coronation Street colleagues are said to be upset with the harsh way he has been treated. But perhaps they should take a step back and look at what he was saying; what he was implying.

It seems there is a leaning in young men's attitudes and behaviour towards the 'normalisation' of rape. How can we make them see that it is one of the most heinous crimes you can commit?

Thankfully, women's groups are hitting back. A recent success story was when the popular rapper Rick Ross was dropped by his sponsor, Reebok, after an aggressive campaign by feminist groups.

In a song he penned, Ross glorifies rape by saying: "Put molly all in her champagne, she ain't even know it, I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain't even know it." Feminist group UltraViolet used social media to campaign against Ross, aiming to call attention to a culture that tolerates rape. When UltraViolet's efforts to contact Reebok executives failed, they circulated an online petition asking the company to end its endorsement deal with Ross.

Reebok eventually caved and dropped Ross.

It's an encouraging example of the positive power of social media to negate the negative power of social media. But therein lies the problem.

Now at last, women are using the internet to fight back. Social media, correctly used, can mobilise an army of women – and, indeed, men – to wage war against these misogynist pigs and make them face the consequences of their actions.

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