Understanding Rape Culture

Rape is oftentimes a very controversial subject in our society.  The patriarchal justice system set in place, usually points the blame of the females victim. It is the rape culture we live in, that normalizes male sexual violence and finds excuses as to why women are to blame for being sexually assaulted. Society encourages male sexual aggression and treat it as though it is entertainment…a sport. Instead of people asking, “who did it?” they ask the female victim, “well why do you think this happened to you?” It does not matter if you drunk too much, or if your dress was too revealing, or if he is your husband/boyfriend, rape is rape.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) coined the official definition of rape of January 1, 2013 as, “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without consent of the victim.” In our society attitudes and actions are to be the reason for violence and sexism against women. Rape is embedded in our consciousness, to first treat the victim as the accused and the accused as innocent. Our legal system is set up so that one is innocent until proven guilty. We hold rapists hands and do everything in our power to prove that an accused rapist is not really a criminal. We prove that by shaming the victim and patting the backs of the accused for following their animalistic instincts and attacking what they want.

Shannon Ridway wrote an article for Everydayfeminism.com titled, “25 Everyday Examples of Rape Culture,” in which she gives 25 examples of rape culture in American society. These examples include, “Rape Culture Is…

1. A university in Canada that allows the following student orientation chant: “Y is for your sister. O is for oh-so-tight. U is for underage. N is for no consent. G is for grab that ass.”

2. Pop music that tells women “you know you want it” because of these “blurred lines” (of consent).

3. A judge who sentenced only 30 days in jail to a 50-year-old man who raped a 14-year-old girl (who later committed suicide), and defended that the girl was “older than her chronological age.”

4. Mothers who blame girls for posting sexy selfies and leading their sons into sin, instead of talking with their sons about their responsibility for their own sexual expression.

5. Photo memes like this:

source: stupid bad memes

source: stupid bad memes

6. Supporting athletes who are charged with rape and calling their victims career-destroyers.

7. Companies that create decals of a woman bound and gagged in order to “promote their business”

 8. People who believe that girls “allow themselves to be raped.”

9. Journalists who substitute the word “sex” for “rape” – as if they’re the same thing.

10. Politicians distinguishing “legitimate rape” and stating that rape is “something that God intended to happen,” among other horrendous claims.

11. Calling college students who have the courage to report their rapes liars.

12. The ubiquity of street harassment – and how victims are told that they’re “overreacting” when they call it out.

13. Victims not being taken seriously when they report rapes to their university campuses.

14. Rape jokes – and people who defend them.

15. Sexual assault prevention education programs that focus on women being told to take measures to prevent rape instead of men being told not to rape.

16. The victimization of hospital patients, especially people with mental health issues and the elderly,  by the very people who are there to protect them.

17. Reddit threads with titles like “You just have to make sure she’s dead” when linking to thestory of a 13-year-old girl in Pakistan being raped and buried alive.

18. Reddit threads dedicated to men causing women pain during sex (I’m not going to give the thread credence by linking to it).

19. Twitter hashtags that support accused rapists and blame victims.

20. Publicly defending celebrities accused of rape just because they’re celebrities and ignoring or denouncing what the victim has to say.

21. Assuming that false reporting for sexual assault cases are the norm, when in reality, they’re only 2-8%, which is on par with grand theft auto.

15. Sexual assault prevention education programs that focus on women being told to take measures to prevent rape instead of men being told not to rape.

16. The victimization of hospital patients, especially people with mental health issues and the elderly,  by the very people who are there to protect them.

17. Reddit threads with titles like “You just have to make sure she’s dead” when linking to the story of a 13-year-old girl in Pakistan being raped and buried alive.

18. Reddit threads dedicated to men causing women pain during sex (I’m not going to give the thread credence by linking to it).

19. Twitter hashtags that support accused rapists and blame victims.

20. Publicly defending celebrities accused of rape just because they’re celebrities and ignoring or denouncing what the victim has to say.

21. Assuming that false reporting for sexual assault cases are the norm, when in reality, they’re only 2-8%, which is on par with grand theft auto.

22. Only 3% of rapists ever serving a day in jail.

23. Women feeling less safe walking the streets at night than men do.

24. 1-in-5 women and 1-in-71 men having reported experiencing rape.

25. The fact that we have to condition ourselves not to use violent language in our everyday conversations.”

In this society we need to stop making rape culture the norm and start teaching young boys why rape is not okay. We need to stop over sexualizing the female body and encouraging men that it is ok to be aggressive towards women. We need to be more sympathetic to victims, instead of treating them as if they were the criminals. We need to encourage women to speak out and stand up against male sexual violence and sexism. It is important to understand rape culture and recognize what it is, so that we can raise awareness and help victims of rape get justice.

Article source: http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/03/examples-of-rape-culture/