Rape Culture

[Content Warning: This post is on the subject of rape culture, and does talk about victim blaming and dismissing, also there are no graphic depictions here but some of the articles linked do contain more graphic stories about rape. Please don not feel forced to read if this may upset you]

Rape culture is a term used to describe how the of beliefs, actions, and attitudes held up by the majority of society create an environment where rape and sexual violence are normalized, excused or even encouraged. Rape culture is pervasive and it can be found in everything from mainstream media to the ways that children are raised.

Oftentimes it can be hard to explain exactly what rape culture because it is so pervasive within our society, the easiest way to explain it is to provide some examples.

For instance one facet of rape culture is the continual perpetuation of the idea that rape has a high instance of false reports. Many people when asked will say that women lie about being raped or that rape is a crime with a of of false accusations so it’s okay to be distrustful of a victim’s story. In reality the false accusation rate for rape is between 2-8% which is lower than many other crimes. Here is a link to a good blog post on false accusation, and here is an article about things more likely to happen than for a man to be accused of rape falsely, one of them is being killed by a comet which I think speaks for itself about the actual prevalence of false allegations of rape.

Another facet of rape culture is the belief that victims must act a certain way if they are raped. Many people will say that if a victim waits to report, doesn’t fight hard enough, or was wearing the wrong clothing that they are either lying about the assault or somehow invited the attack. There are numerous reports of judges diminishing sentences, or overturning them, after a jury has convicted someone of rape because the judge disapproved of something about the victim; be it their clothing or how they reacted;  before, during or after they were raped. Sometimes this can even go as far as telling a victim that it was their fault for being raped as they were out at a bar. Rape culture is found in the way that people say ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘well he just likes you’ when young girls complain about taunting or rough housing, because when a girl is taught as a child that bruises mean affection and boys that no means keep pushes what can you expect when they grow older? Here is a good post explaining the concept by the Huffington Post

A good quote on the idea of consent and how we need to incorporate it in our everyday lives in order to end rape culture is;

Bring consent out of the bedroom. I think part of the reason we have trouble drawing the lline “it’s not okay to force someone into sexual activity” is that in many ways, forcing people to do things is part of our culture in general. Cut that shit out of your life. If someone doesn’t want to go to a party, try a new food, get up and dance, make small talk at the lunchtable—that’s their right. Stop the “aww c’mon” and “just this once” and the games where you playfully force someone to play along. Accept that no means no—all the time. – The Pervocracy: Consent culture


Links for More information

A Ted Talk on media and its relation to rape culture and children

A good post on rape culture with links to other articles

What are our responsibilities in navigating rape culture? 

SlutWalk: Changing a ‘don’t get raped’ culture to a ‘don’t … – Rabble.ca