Rape culture is a toxic set of beliefs that are commonly held about the way the world is. It is a culture that normalizes sexual violence and just sees rape as inevitable, unavoidable and a totally normal thing. Rape culture supports and encourages male sexual aggression as well as violence against women and other groups. It ignores the problems around sexual assault. Victims are blamed for the act and encouraged to take precautions to avoid being raped. This is a more dominant attitude than teaching people not to rape others.
Elements of Rape Culture
Rape culture is very complex and layered throughout our society. It manifests in a number of ways. We see it in TV, movies, memes, advertising, laws, legal jargon, jokes, video games, music, attitudes about relationships and dating, and much more. There are so many elements to rape culture in our society it would impossible to break them all down in one article.
Common examples of rape culture include
- Condoning sexual violence in everyday language
- Only 3 of every 1000 sexual assault ends in a conviction
- Revenge porn
- Tech devices and other inventions developed to prevent rape
- Pick up artist classes
- Rape clubs
- The rape kit problem
- Inappropriate rape jokes
- Normalizing violence against women in entertainment
- Blurring the lines of consent
- Victim blaming
- Legitimatizing and trivializing the concept of rape
- Child marriage
- Tolerance of Sexual harassment
- False rape accusations
- Defining “manhood” as sexually aggressive and dominant
- Defining “womanhood” as sexually passive and submissive
- The concepts of what a rapist looks like
- The concept of the perfect rape victim
- Assuming no men get raped
- Teaching people to avoid sexual assault instead of teaching people not to rape
- Oversexualization of young women
- The concept of “soft” or “grey” rape
- Slut shaming
- Street harassment
- The friend zone
- Fear to Report
- Ignoring higher rates of assault in minority communities
All of these things factor into the prevalence of rape culture. How impactful each thing is varies but they all come together to form a whole picture and the picture is not pretty.
What Can We Do About Rape Culture?
Combating rape culture is not about hating men and it also isn’t about blaming them. We can create change by raising awareness. We need to invite others to join the conversation. Invite them to think critically.
A huge part of combating rape culture is being aware of it. When we stop to question the status quo, we can choose to do things differently. Our choices impact others. People may also begin to think more critically about the world around them and act differently. It creates small ripples of awareness that slowly spread and create change. We have seen some of this already with the #MeToo Movement. Awareness is a start but we also need to be doing more to support survivors and victims.
We can work towards creating a culture of consent where people are respected and have control over what happens to their own bodies. In a consent culture, everyone feels safe and respected. It creates safer spaces and deepens our relationships with each other. Learning about consent and being a consent advocate are major keys to ending rape culture.
Increase Awareness of Rape Culture
You can do your part to end rape culture by continuing to expand your awareness and the knowledge in your community. Pick up a copy of “Got Consent?” to expand your consent skills and become a strong consent advocate. Share this article with people in your life and start some conversations.
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