Shanon Lee: Writer, Activist, Filmmaker on Rape Culture, Sexual Assault & Consent

*TRIGGER WARNING* [We talk about rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence]

Shanon is a prolific writer, activist, filmmaker and media personality. She has written about and done extensive work around domestic violence, rape culture, sexual assault, and consent. Her short film "Marital Rape Is Real" raises awareness around marital rape, something we're only just beginning to even have a conversation with in our culture and society. As Shanon stresses, rape is not spoken about openly in this culture (the United States); we don't talk about intimate partner violence and how you're more likely to be raped by someone you know.

Rape culture is real and we need to talk about it more in society. As Shanon points out, rape culture is manifested in everyday conversation like how our culture thinks it's funny to make rape jokes, how pop culture displays images of non-consent, and how we fail to teach our children boundaries and consent. Teaching children consent is an important way to change rape culture. This includes acknowledging to children that they have the rights to their own bodies, and don't have to touch and huge everyone, even family members if they don't want to. Shanon tells us that we have to be an advocate for our children! 

"We are taught, as children, that we don't have rights to our own body. That we don't have authority over our own body."

We discuss how rape culture stems from sexism, the patriarchy, and toxic masculinity. Our culture's attitudes of women as "less than" are shaped by Christian values of who women are and should be. These religious beliefs have been teaching women that they need to submit to men, and that men have authority over their wives, which allows marital rape to exist, not be acknowledged, and thus not have consequences. Also, we talk about how we have a presidential nominee (now our president) who sexually assaults women and has been accused of rape by an  ex-wife of his. One cannot ignore the realness of rape culture in the U.S. when a large number of people elect a man who sexual assaults women to lead their country. With this extremely unfortunate reality, we normalize sexual assault and rape culture. We tell women what we really think about them.

"Who do we actually care about? Do we care about women?"

In addition, Shanon talks about an essay she wrote about how her husband cheating on her has been the best thing to happen to her. Listen more to Shanon's story in the episode. Also, Shanon affirms that survivors of sexual assault and rape can heal and go on to trust a partner again and have a healthy relationship. She stresses the importance of working on YOU and getting to know yourself-something that is essential for every single one of us. 

Check out Shanon's films and documentary appearances. Watch for "Scandal Made Me Famous" where Shanon will appear, and a working documentary "Art Is A Voice," which centers on different artist activists who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault. The film addresses consent and is inclusive of the whole spectrum of sexual assault, which is very important for us to acknowledge. 

Go to Shanon's Website to find out more and follow her on Twitter