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:

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