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?
Rape Culture in America
In such an advanced country and self proclaimed "land of the free," it's hard to believe that Rape Culture would still exist.
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
- 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"
Dealing With Rape
Surviving and Recovering
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How Can We Stop This?
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?
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.
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.
New York Times.