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Rape culture is an age-old societal phenomenon in which rape is ignored or even encouraged, and it needs to stop. Rape culture is a topic encompassing quite a lot, but the main points addressed in this post are: our society normalizing rape behaviours/encouraging them, and the sexualization of women to the point that seeing a shoulder - a shoulder - is, in many places at least, much too distracting to boys, and so can’t be tolerated. Another age old topic closely related to rape culture is victim-blaming. Victim-blaming is when someone who has been subjected to some sort of assault (almost exclusively sexual) is then written off as the cause of their own assault. You hear victim blaming in phrases like: “She shouldn’t have been drinking” or “if she didn’t want it then she shouldn’t have been wearing such a short skirt.” People that actively participate in slut-shaming also make women wrong on a regular basis for showing what they consider too much skin (like said shoulder from earlier).
There are many people that believe that a very large portion of reported rapes are faked, when, in actuality, “between 6% and a maximum of 10% of rape cases may be false.” Another interesting (and possibly related) statistic is that about 97% of rapists are never jailed, and, last, but most certainly not least: approximately 300,000 women are raped every year in the USA alone. I would like you to take a bit to reconcile those facts. Finding it difficult? So did I. It doesn’t help to know how devastating a crime like this can be to the victim. A prime example of this is the Steubenville Rape. In this rape some of the Steubenville high school football team raped (repeatedly), video taped, and photographed a female classmate who was unconscious from drinking. These photos and videos were then uploaded to social media and sent to friends. When an investigation was launched, the school officials covered up the crime that their students committed. They did this to protect the boys, because they didn’t want their lives to be ruined by this mistake, when they have such bright futures. Many even ended up blaming the victim of this awful crime for doing this to the boys (hint: great example of victim blaming). Much to everyone’s chagrin (though to some more than others), this is anything but an isolated event. Things like this are happening all the time.
Now that we’ve established rape culture as a very real and prevalent thing, we need to understand something else: it needs to end. Now. Rape culture destroys lives, both of victims and, as much as I hate to say it, the perpetrators (very very occasionally). By teaching our children that women are to be seen as sex objects, well, it causes them to be seen as sex objects. While this has innumerable consequences, one of them is that they are then treated as sex objects. If that’s all a man knows a woman as, what possible reason is there for him to resist any and all impulses he has? Have you heard the whole argument protecting rapists that goes something like: “boys will be boys”? That we shouldn’t expect them to control their urges? That’s because we tell them that it’ll be okay, and that there won’t be any repercussions. Now, after having said this, please don’t think that I’m saying that what these people have done is in any way excusable or okay at all. All I’m saying is that if we continue to require our women to be attractive enough to pull a good husband (because everyone knows that that’s what it’s all about (other than the hokey-pokey), but then tell them that if they are too attractive, they’ll be assaulted, just doesn’t work. Especially when we then pardon her assaulters and then, when she needs it most, instead of consoling her, pile even more blame onto her.