Rape Culture: a starting definition

Rape Culture is probably a phrase on your radar lately and not many people seem to fully understand what it is. I don’t think anyone is advocating that rape is alright or deserved. Nobody in his or her right mind would think it’s all right for someone to rape another human being. Rape culture is the idea, though, that rape can be excused or swept under the rug. It’s the idea that your rapist can get off because he’s a man and such a charge would destroy his career, his dreams, and his very livelihood. I mean, after all, think of the children and all the potential he has. He has such a bright future. He’s such a good man. Or that you somehow deserved it because of the way you were dressed or how you were perceived to be acting or whatever the case may be.

Rape culture is what allows rapists to get away with violence because we’re worried about destroying the perpetrator’s life. It’s the idea that rape is a cause and effect offense. It can’t just happen out of the blue or when you’re trying to get out of it any way you can. Rape culture is what makes you feel like shit after you were assaulted because it doesn’t fit some cookie cutter idea of what it should look like. Learn more about how to define rape culture here and here .

Sexual violence is gray as the clouds on a rainy day. It operates on a spectrum and can’t be defined by one or two experiences. It’s legally broad for that very reason. It encompasses so much different things that it’s next to impossible for it to be specific or encompass one ideal. Rape, sexual violence, and sexual assault are difficult to come to terms with. And they’re especially difficult to report, because we’re so accustomed and trained to thinking that the only people who perpetrate sexual or domestic violence are strangers in dark alleys with weapons or the drunken boyfriend you make excuses for.

So how do we combat rape culture? And how do we create an environment that fosters reporting crimes without fear that they’ll go to trial or at least have some form of adequate legal justice? Sound off in the comments! I’ll be writing more posts about how to fight it in the coming weeks.


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