Rape Culture in America

by KaitlynDeMetro

In such an advanced country and self proclaimed "land of the free," it's hard to believe that Rape Culture would still exist.

Trying to find the courage to stand up, the strength to persevere, and the voice to say "NO" and demand justice is no easy task. Hearing that it was your fault? That only adds to the humiliation and the demoralization, yet it's what many rape victims go through each day in America. Even in the topics Wizzley gave me to select for this article, "rape" was not of of them. Is this a Feminist issue? A Human Rights/Civil Rights issue? A Women's Right's issue? Is it all of the above yet none at all? What is Rape Culture and how do we define it in one simple word?

What is Rape Culture?

TIME Magazine defines this as "a culture in which sexual violence is the norm and victims are blamed for their own assaults." Many people write it off as being a feminist term but it is quite real and truly horrific.

One would expect this in a third-world country; a place plagued with violence. A place where "women's rights" is just a 21st century term that holds no bearing.

One would not expect this from America; a country who abolished slavery, is pro-choice, has freedom of Religion, and who is on the cusp of rightfully allowing gay marriage in every state. How have we fallen so far as to blame the victim for being raped? Raped. As in sexual intercourse by force. By its own defintion, it doesn't blame the victims- the word "victim" would not suit if this person is to blame for their own attack.

She was ASKING for it

"Excuses" in a Rape Culture
  • "She was drunk."
  • "Did you see what she was wearing?"
  • "She was flirting with him." 
  • "She knew what she was getting into."

Does drinking, flirting, or wearing a mini-skirt give any person the right to overpower, to violate, to humiliate, and physically and mentally break another person? This attitude is exactly why Rape Culture exists.

We have created a society where the victims character is to blame rather than the rapists actions.

An 11 year old girl in Texas was forcibly raped by a dozen+ men in an abandoned trailer but, "she dressed older than her age." So if she had just been 18, it would've been perfectly acceptable for her to be raped?

Every 2 Minutes

Statistics
  • Every 2 minutes a woman is sexually assaulted in the United States.
  • 1 in 3 women will experience a sexual assault in her lifetime. How many women do you know?
  • Only 1-5 women report their rape.
  • Only 1-71 men report their rape. Not only do we live in a society that continuously faults the victim, it also disbelieves and makes jokes out of male victims.

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, &Incest National Network):

Our Failing Judicial System

Only 3% of Rapists will Ever Serve a Day in Jail
  • A popular news story making its way around social media is that of 16 year old Jada. She was drugged and raped at a party and her rapists took photos of her to post all over the internet. It's now "trending" for teenagers to lay in the position her rapists left her in, take and upload their photo online under #jadapose. These are hundreds of young adults mocking this poor girl because they grew up in a place where "rape" is a joke.
  • Some of you may remember this story; a 14 year old girl was raped by a 50 year old man and only served 30 days in jail for his horrendous act because the Judge stated "the girl was far older than her chronological age." The girl later killed herself.
  • Another story, which to no surprise didn't make headlining news, was that of a factory heir whom got probation for raping his 3 year old daughter. The judge's excuse: "He will not fare well in prison."

College and Party Rapes; Perfectly Acceptable?

One of the biggest controversies regarding rape is the line of consent when one is intoxicated. It is known that girls who are unconscious or too drunk to barely walk are clearly easy targets. It should also be known that those girls cannot consent yet we live in a society where men are not taught that and lines of consent become blurred. When it comes to sexual harassment or assault, it's not the intent that counts, it's the effect. It creates rapists out of naive, horny party goers and victims out of the innocently intoxicated. The victim clearly feels violated but what should be the penalty for the perp who was denied the knowledge of knowing the difference between right and wrong?

And what about those who do know it's wrong? The predators who sniff out the weakest prey, the men who have the intent to commit rape? Going after a woman who has been partying is the perfect excuse in this society. Its the ultimate get-out-jail-free card, especially when the act is committed on a college campus.

Colleges are so committed to having a rape-free campus that they simply create a rape-doesn't-count campus, just to look good in the public eye and attract more collegians, which brings on more young women to be victimized. Reporting an assault seems to give the right to fellow-students to even further violate and harass the accuser. On a college campus, there is no such thing a victim, just a liar. It is a viscous, disgusting cycle put in place by the institutes we attend and send our children to with the thought that they will be safe.

25% of college women are raped and the few who do report it are degraded, mocked, disbelieved, and most give in to the pressure to recant in the hopes of making the ongoing harassment stop.

Perfect Example of Rape Culture

In our society, attending a party turns "no means no" into "no only means yes"
RC

How Can We Stop This?

Education

Educate our generation against cyber bullying and using social media to gain fame over the most disgusting of things (#jadapose for example)

Instead of only teaching self-defense and prevention for women, why not teach boys to control their actions in the first place?

Educate boys that no means no, that an unconscious girl cannot consent, and that their actions have a disastrous and life changing effect on other people.

How Can We Stop This?

Justice

Demanding justice is one of the most vital steps in stopping Rape Culture dead in its tracks.

Getting rapists off the streets prevents further attacks and lets the world know that what they did was wrong.

Getting justice lets the victim know that it is not her fault.

rape culture
Authors Notes

I admit, when I first came across the term "rape culture" I had no idea what it meant. I thought it was a term to address rape in general. However, I was blown away to find the true meaning and horrific statistics about rape in such a justice-seeking country. Being new to Wizzley, I haven't quite found my "niche" but I wanted to write this article, despite how much heavier it is than my previous articles. I'm human: I'm shallow and I'm deep so I want to write about everything from home decor to rape culture. More importantly, this is an extremely important issue that we all should be discussing.

Sources

New York Times.

TIME Magazine.

Everyday Feminism.

Telegraph.

RAINN.

The Greatest Anti-Rape-Culture Photo I've Ever seen

stillnotaskingforit
Updated: 10/17/2014, KaitlynDeMetro
 
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KaitlynDeMetro on 04/02/2015

Thank you for reading and responding. I wrote this almost a year ago and I'm glad it's still having an impact. I felt it was very important to share and I'm so happy to see other supporters as well. I hope all stereotypes of rape can be broken and men cannot be justified in their actions based on how the woman was dressed. I hope that male rape can be brought to light as well so people realize that they can be a victim just as easily as any woman.

cazort on 04/02/2015

This stuff really bothers me. I am really glad though that the term "rape culture" is starting to break into the mainstream. I don't think I realized, when I was younger, how rape is really a cultural issue--i.e. it's caused and facilitated and made worse by ways of thinking, by ideas, by things people are taught and behaviors people learn by watching others.

Thanks for sharing this and raising more awareness of these issues. I think that the more awareness we raise, the more quickly we can break down these problematic aspects of our culture, and this will hugely help to protect women (and men too, as they can also be raped and are often subjected to similar sorts of dismissive cultural ideas, like the idea that "men can't be raped" because "men always want sex" and ridiculous stuff like that).

frankbeswick on 09/20/2014

Some years ago a female drugs dealer in Manchester, UK was convicted of rape on a victim, who owed her money. She could not do the raping herself, but she paid two thugs to rape the victim. The dealer was convicted because she organised the rape. The thugs also were sent to prison.

Telesto on 09/20/2014

Horrifying but as Sheri_Oz says, not just confined to the US. We've had some awful cases recently reported in the UK and there is now a - maybe this terminology is wrong - some young girl gang members - who set up their so called friends to be raped by male gang members, so the girls doing the setting up can feel that they belong. And Frank is right about male rape too. I suspect it under-reported more than female rape.

KaitlynDeMetro on 07/23/2014

The sad thing about our culture is that I'm not the least bit surprised by any of these comments. Assaults on college campuses or involving students seem to go completely unnoticed.

The governments view of women is still less than that of men. Women are still making less money than men for working the same job. This isn't quite a terror as Rape Culture but it just goes to show how even today, men are valued more than women.

I remember my ethics class a couple years ago where we too discussed whether certain acts are always wrong and if I remember correctly, abuse and rape were the only things we could think of. Male rape is so rarely reported that I only think of prisons or young males who are molested. I'm sure that it does occur under the same circumstances as female rape but there's such a stigma, you rarely hear of it.

frankbeswick on 07/22/2014

It is difficult to know where to begin in my response to this article. It is ever timely and pertinent. I had a discussion with my advanced level philosophy class, when we were talking about the question of whether there are some acts that are always wrong. While we could find reasons to kill, we concluded that rape is always wrong in itself and never justifiable on utilitarian grounds. So rape was the one act that was always wrong.

The misbehaviour of teams arises from the fact they often are composed of young, morally under-developed, but high testosterone men, who together reinforce each others' moral inadequacies, and they often develope a team culture, which in some cases might be quite negative, as it was in the case of th college team that you cite. But while high testosterone levels explain the desire for sex, they do not excuse. There can be no excuses for rape. You are not forced to do it. It arises entirely from male energies, over which the victim has no control.

While rape is a feminist issue, it is not only a feminist issue, as it belongs to the broader issue of morality/ethics. There are cultural and political issues as well. How does a rape culture develop? What political structures can we put in place to address the problems.

Male rape should not be forgotten, for while rarer than female rape, it is damaging and generally inflicted on smaller and weaker men by larger and quite brutal males.

Sheri_Oz on 07/22/2014

Of course, it is not just America. It is a world-wide problem. Great article.

Digby_Adams on 07/22/2014

Remember that this is a country where the national legislature refused to amend the constitution to say that women are equal. Even the black Civil Rights activist said in the Sixties that the only role of women in the movement was prone. We have never had a culture that respects the true value of women - and that has lead to a culture of abuse and rape.

JoHarrington on 07/21/2014

Wow! And I have goosebumps at that last postcard too.

I read in the week about a woman in her first few weeks at university (in America), who was raped by the whole football team. It was done publicly, on a pool table in a bar. Photographs were taken. A friend was an eye-witness. He'd received a text message from her shortly before, which stated that she was scared. Then nothing. He came looking for her, and found her in that position. She had been given roofies, so she was passed out and wouldn't remember. A kit later proved what had happened to her.

She reported what had happened to the university administration. Which promptly circulated a letter to all its students, naming her and giving details of her accusations. Fellow students openly ridiculed her or attacked her for bringing the school into disrepute. The football team were not brought to task for it.

In the same state, not long before, a female student at another university was also sexually assaulted. She went to the police rather than the administration. But the chief of police was her university's main fund-raiser. For fear of tarnishing the university's education, he threw the case out.

So yes, I can see all that you're saying, and I'm appalled by it too.

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