Friday, March 8, 2013

What is Rape Culture?

Sexual Assault Awareness month is nearly approaching.  I find myself asking what exactly is rape culture?  How did this enter into people’s vernacular?   What does it mean to be living in a rape culture? 

A crucial aspect of the definition of rape is the absence of consent.  Culture has many meanings.  I’ll define it as a full range of learned behaviors and patterns.  The degradation of women becomes the norm through acceptance of misogyny.  In a rape culture images, conversations, and laws validate and perpetrate rape.  Validating rape culture in the media excuses rape and reinforces myths about rape and/or sexualizing rape.  Shaming and silencing survivors of rape allows the perpetrator to ignore the actions and the survivor is left with guilt and shaming.    

Viewing mass media daily through images and advertising becomes naturalized going unquestioned.  This leads to people asking, “Violence against women is still an issue?”  In a rape culture majority of people think this is the way it is and no one can change it or people ignore that it occurs daily at an astonishing rate.  Re-examining advertisements, music, television, laws, macho-masculinity, speech and language are steps that need to be taken. Being surrounded with these images, ideologies, and laws can seem overwhelming and shaming.  Re-examining, creating self-awareness, and naming the problems need to happen to end rape culture.  Instead of teaching girls to not get raped, there has been a shift on telling men to not rape.  What made him think this was acceptable and okay to commit rape?  This is removing the blame on women.

By Gretchen D. Hawker

I came across this article “Ten Things to End Rape Culture.” I suggest you take a look at it:

Friday, March 1, 2013



Alone, I close the door behind me
And let the image scatter
Let go of the smile, and the frown
Let the mask relax
It has no purpose here
Beyond words and expressions
Only me
Peel back the layers one by one
And let them fall to the floor
Back before this body
Before humanity
Before good and evil
Through naked primal forces
To when there was only blood.
The hot water falls red with it
It is the reddest thing I’ve ever seen
The original, universal, stark against white
Screaming its vitality as it flows toward the drain
I don’t know if it is unclean or powerful
No difference
If it is birth or death
The blood pushed out with a healthy newborn
Blood pumping from a man’s chest as his eyes stilled
I’ve seen both, and it looked the same
In this time, for this moment of every day
Such distinctions do not exist
Unity running red down my legs
The pain I have suffered, the pain I have caused
The gifts I’ve been given
And the gifts I have to give
All are embodied here
My life
Not draining out of me
But effusing from me
Too filled with passion to be contained
I let the heat engulf me, drum out the tension
Flow over me until the water runs clear
And step out feeling

-Lucille Tower