You may be familiar with the term “rape culture”. It gets throw into the media here and there, but it doesn’t seem to take a front seat in topics for debate. And shockingly we [the public] are exposed to it daily. So what is rape culture?
Rape culture is a termed that was coined in the 1970’s by feminists in the United States. The feminists designed the term to illustrate how society placed blame on victims of sexual assault and socially accepted sexual violence from men. Rape culture can be defined as normalizing sexual violence, and encouraging men to be sexually aggressive. In a rape culture, physical and emotional terrorism against women is the norm—women can be threatened with sexual remarks, sexual touching, and rape. So what does rape culture include?
Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, which creates violence against women. The very idea of sexual violence begins to look normal, and not seeing it as a problem that needs to be addressed. However, do not confuse my thoughts of rape culturing being an issue to me believing that a society and not individuals should be at fault for their actions. But instead this is what we collectively think about rape.
The evidence of rape culture is…
…the existence of UVA’s “Rugby Road” song.
The first verse reads: “From Rugby Road to Vinegar Hill, we’re gonna get drunk tonight/ The faculty’s afraid of us; they know we’re in the right/ So fill your cups, your loving cups, as full as full can be/ For as long as love and liquor last we’ll drink to the U. of V.”
The second verse, meanwhile, reads: “All you girls from Mary Washington/ And R.M.W.C., never let a Cavalier an inch above your knee/ He’ll take you to his fraternity house and fill you full of beer/ And soon you’ll be the mother of a bastard Cavalier!”
…publicly defending celebrities and athletes accused of rape.
…women feeling less safe walking the streets at night than men.
…only sentencing 3% of rapists to jail time.
…people and media making survivors of rape feel ashamed and guilty.
…people who believe that women allow themselves to be raped because they were “overly friendly” or they dressed “provocatively”.
…a subculture of pathetic individuals who hack into women’s computers and steal their photos.
…10,000 untested rape kits collecting dust on a shelf somewhere.
…men who use the threat rape as a fear tactic on social media.
…a beauty website calling toddlers “sexy” – even the preschoolers are targeted for objectification!
We need to be aware of this happening, become angry, and share that anger with others. Hopefully, given those few examples, you have a better understanding of rape culture, believe in its existence, and want to end the problem.
Image via Flickr/Richard Potts