WHAT IS RAPE CULTURE?
Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence is
normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated
through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the
glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights
EXAMPLES OF RAPE CULTURE
Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
Sexually explicit jokes
Tolerance of sexual harassment
Inflating false rape report statistics
Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
Pressure on men to “score”
Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
Teaching women to avoid getting raped
One reason people blame a victim is to distance themselves from an unpleasant occurrence
and thereby confirm their own invulnerability to the risk. By labeling or accusing the victim,
others can see the victim as different from themselves. People reassure themselves by
thinking, “Because I am not like her, because I do not do that, this would never happen to
me.” We need to help people understand that this is not a helpful reaction.
Why Is It Dangerous?
Victim-blaming attitudes marginalize the victim/survivor and make it harder to come forward
and report the abuse. If the survivor knows that you or society blames her for the abuse, s/he
will not feel safe or comfortable coming forward and talking to you.
Victim-blaming attitudes also reinforce what the abuser has been saying all along; that it is
the victim’s fault this is happening. It is NOT the victim’s fault or responsibility to fix the
situation; it is the abuser’s choice. By engaging in victim-blaming attitudes, society allows the
abuser to perpetrate relationship abuse or sexual assault while avoiding accountability for
Example of Victim-Blaming Attitude: “She must have provoked him into being abusive.
Reality: This statement assumes that the victim is equally to blame for the abuse, when in
reality, abuse is a conscious choice made by the abuser. Abusers have a choice in how they
react to their partner’s actions. Options besides abuse include: walking away, talking in the
moment, respectfully explaining why an action is frustrating, breaking up, etc. Additionally,
abuse is not about individual actions that incite the abuser to hurt his partner, but rather
about the abuser’s feelings of entitlement to do whatever he wants to his partner.
Why Men Rape: Published by New York Academy of Science
The Cause of Rape: Understanding Individual Differences in Men
Think about our ancestors. We have common ancestors that were like apes, male dominated and females didn’t give consent, the males just had sex with whoever they wanted to. Our modern species has evolved to a higher standard but not everyone has come along for the journey. I recommend exploring the theories of our sexual history to help better understand where we are today. My mentioning of a “rape gene” was that rapists propagated their DNA due to their act. This does not give rapists an excuse to “blame it on their genes”. No more than a murder gene lets people get away with murder because it wasn’t their fault. Although I do feel that mental illness can be rooted to some extent in DNA which can be the cause of some violence in society. That is the subject for another time.
Many conservatives think that there is some wave of false allegations, especially when they are rushing to get a partisan conservative judge appointed to the supreme court. Don’t believe it. We didn’t research the data on false vs. true allegations of assault, however we have to believe that it is a low number. There is a lot of trouble a woman must go through to falsely charge a man with assault. If she is subpoenaed to testify under oath there is the risk for felony charges if she is found to be lying. We believe most liars who are trying to exact revenge against an ex or to extort money usually stop pursuing their allegations once confronted with this.
Unfortunately in the end, without evidence and only the testimony of the victim, it is a he said-she said and many people will not believe the victims. This is one of many reasons why victims remain silent.