Rape culture is a sociological/anthropological term (no, it’s not crazy SJW talk) used to describe how rape is prevalent and normalised due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality. Rape culture refers to how, as a culture, we are socialised to see certain situations as normal or “just how things are”. It ranges from ‘harmless’ jokes to attitudes towards rape itself. Society doesn’t actively condone or promote rape but there are things we have been socially conditioned to view as normal i.e. aggression against women. For example, a little boy pulls a little girl’s hair in the playground so she reports him to an adult. The adult then proceeds to tell her that he does this because he likes her. Essentially, what she has learnt is that men show affection through violence. This feeds into rape culture. We are taught from a young age that violence against women is a normal thing. For the sake of clarity, here are a few examples of rape culture:
- Unwanted touch or attention, sexual or non-sexual: if someone doesn’t want to be touched, respect their wishes. It’s that simple. The idea that you “just persevere” until she yields is rape culture. This simply perpetuates the age-old idea that women are not autonomous beings who possess a right to boundaries but are merely objects to be used at the whim of man. Unsolicited dick pics is included in this.
- Cat calling and street harassment are never fun. They make women physically and mentally uncomfortable while the perpetrator refuses to back down. His friends are encouraging him while everyone else stands idly, doing nothing. This teaches men that this behaviour is acceptable even if she is uncomfortable. Seeing an attractive woman and wanting to speak to her is absolutely fine. Shouting after her isn’t. Starting a conversation with someone who is interested is fine. Attempting to keep her there when she clearly doesn’t want to be, isn’t. You are not entitled to her time.
- Silence: If you’re pulling the “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” card, you’re a part of the problem.
- Rape ‘jokes’: jokes are meant to be funny but when the punchline of your ‘joke’ is sexual violence and/or rape, it is far from funny. Sexual violence is rampant in society and these jokes further desensitise us to how horrific these acts are by normalising them. Rape jokes trivialise a serious topic, making a mockery of survivors and victims. They are distasteful.
- Victim blaming: teaching women how to avoid rape instead of teaching men to not rape. Telling women to “wear less revealing clothes” or “avoid being out too late”, only takes away accountability from rapists and shifts the blame to victims. A women’s freedom shouldn’t come with terms and conditions. The problem are the rapists not the women who wear short skirts. Last time I checked, rapists didn’t have a type. Babies, the elderly, women in burkas, women in short skirts, rapists don’t discriminate.
- Supporting celebrities that have been accused of rape: Being in the spotlight doesn’t exempt someone from being a rapist or an abuser. Supporting people like R Kelly, who has clearly portrayed some questionable behaviour, just because he’s R Kelly is a problem. This just shows women that their experience is insignificant because they’re in the presence of fame.
- Sexual coercion: the idea that you need to get a few drinks in her to “loosen her up” is rape culture. Expecting sex after doing something nice for a woman is rape culture i.e. taking a woman out to dinner then expecting her to sleep with you. She owes you nothing.
The idea that women owe men sex for as little as breathing the same air is rape culture. These things don’t individually cause rape but they create a society that views women as passive objects for the male gaze and this perpetuates rape. It is how we still perceive rapists as deranged strangers when in fact it could be anyone from our fathers to our brothers to our boyfriends to our friendly neighbour down the hall who occasionally makes conversation with you in the hallway.
By ZillaAnsa http://www.zillansa.com