Rape culture is defined as "a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse." Many deny its existence in the world, but there are numerous examples in everyday life that normalize rape and sexual assault on a disturbing level. Our society has allowed sexual abuse to be downplayed and dismissed. Here are seven real life examples of what rape culture really is.
1. Songs like "Blurred Lines" and "Blame It (On The Alcohol)."
Songs such as these suggest that consent is a blurred concept, but it really is crystal clear. Yes means yes, anything other than yes means no. To add to that, taking advantage of someone who is highly intoxicated is definitely rape. Someone who is under the influence cannot properly consent to sexual activity.
2. Rape jokes that appear on social media platforms.
Some of the above are only few of the many disturbing Tweets that perpetrate dangerous rape culture.
3. The justice system that doesn't hold rapists accountable and doesn't take rape seriously.
Brock Turner raped an unconscious young woman but was still able to maintain his reputation as the "Stanford swimmer." During his trail, his father stated that his son's life should not be ruined over "20 minutes of action." If that isn't alarming enough, get this — he also only served a short three months in prison before being released on good behavior. Short sentences and leniency are not uncommon for perpetrators. According to RAINN, out of every 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free.
4. People who blame survivors instead of perpetrators.
Victim blaming is one of the biggest aspects of rape culture. Asking a woman what she was wearing when she was assaulted or if she was drinking throughout the night only places the blame on the victim rather than the assailant.
5. Sayings like "boys will be boys."
"Boys will be boys" is a rather popular saying that typically dismisses bad behavior displayed by young boys. The problem with this is that it reinforces the generalization that boys are violent and mischievous, but that isn't the case. It's not okay to teach boys that they're allowed to behave poorly just because it is perceived to be normal. Boys are perfectly capable of being respectful and understanding human beings. When they get older and think back, they will remember this saying and they will believe that they won't be held accountable for their actions.
6. Celebrities, athletes and those who hold power in society are excused.
Kodak Black, Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Jameis Winston. When most people read those names off, they aren't thinking about the atrocities those men committed. When someone is famous, they are often excused from punishment. For example, Kodak Black violently raped a girl, yet he still has a huge fan base that continues to stand behind him despite this truth. Even though these men are abusers, they still maintain their fame, wealth and reputation.
7. Educational institutions are notorious for covering up campus rapes.
Prestigious universities such as Notre Dame, Harvard and Stanford are known for covering up rapes that occur on campus. In order to maintain a positive reputation to gain the liking of prospective students, administrations allow rape to be condoned. Instead of supporting their students and encouraging them to report, they would rather shame them into silence for their own benefit.
Whether or not rape culture exists should not be the main question at hand. It is clear that we see cases of rape culture in everyday life, but we may not even notice them at first. Instead, we should be actively working to undo the long-lasting effects of rape culture on society. We need to start holding rapists accountable, stop blaming victims and begin listening to those truly who need us to hear them.
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