What is Rape Culture?
Trigger warning: rape, sexual assault
As more and more high profile sexual assault cases dominate our media and public spaces, the term rape culture is frequently being used. In order to actively contribute to the fight against gender-based assault and inequality it is important to understand what rape culture is and how we can work to transform it.
Rape culture is a term coined in the United States by feminists in the 1970’s to describe society’s normalization of sexualized violence due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality. The book Transforming a Rape Culture by Emilie Buchwald defines it as
“a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.
In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes. This violence, however, is neither biologically nor divinely ordained. Much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change.”
In summary, to live in a rape culture is to live in a culture that accepts rape as a part of life. Rape culture exhibits itself in both subtle and grand ways every single day. Rape culture is
- Blaming a person for their own rape
- Rape being used as a weapon, a tool of war and genocide and oppression
- Pop music that tells women “you know you want it” because of these “blurred lines” (of consent)
- Supporting athletes who are charged with rape and calling their victims career-destroyers
- Not taking victims seriously when they report rape and immediately casting doubt
- Rape jokes – and people who defend them
- Educational programs that focus on telling women how to prevent being raped instead of teaching men not to rape
- Only 3% of rapists ever serving a day in jail
- Women feeling less safe walking the streets at night than men do
- Not taking a rape survivors accusations seriously because she was drunk
- Claiming a women was ‘asking for it’
Some of the examples in this list were taken from Everyday Feminism’s ’25 Everyday Examples of Rape Culture’, click here to see the entire list.
Buchwald, Emilie, Pamela R. Fletcher, and Martha Roth. Transforming a Rape Culture. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions, 1993. Print.
Ridgway, Shannon. “25 Everyday Examples of Rape Culture.” Everyday Feminism. N.p., 10 Mar. 2014. Web. 01 June 2016.
First picture source: http://ourfemifesto.tumblr.com/post/63013505208/mainstream-canadian-media-reporting-on-rape#
Second picture source: http://ourfemifesto.tumblr.com/post/63013505208/mainstream-canadian-media-reporting-on-rape#
What is Rape Culture and examples #feminism #equality #SAVIS
Rape culture is real, to fight it we must understand it #feminism #SAVIS