This article from The Guardian by Laura Bates gives great insight about rape culture, and provides examples about exactly what it looks like and how it effects people. The entire article is attached below.
This is rape culture – and look at the damage it does
We live in a world where sexual assault can be dismissed with jokes or excuses, even used in a chatup line or plastered across a T-shirt. The UK rape statistics are shocking, and so are these harrowing reports to the Everyday Sexism Project
What do we mean when we say “rape culture”? You may have heard the term used recently. It describes a culture in which rape and sexual assault are common (in the UK over 85,000 women are raped and 400,000 sexually assaulted every single year). It describes a culture in which dominant social norms belittle, dismiss, joke about or even seem to condone rape and sexual assault. It describes a culture in which the normalization of rape and sexual assault are so great that often victims are blamed, either implicitly or explicitly, when these crimes are committed against them. A culture in which other factors such as media objectification make it easier to see women as dehumanized objects for male sexual purposes alone.
It’s part of rape culture when “I’m feeling rapey” T-shirts are put up for sale on eBay. Or when a member of a University sports team goes out in a “casual rape” shirt, or another team plays a game called: “It’s not rape if …”
t’s part of rape culture when a child victim of sexual abuse is accused of being complicit and somehow “egging” on her abuser in the court case against him. It’s rape culture that makes it so hard for male victims to speak out too, because hand-in-hand with the dismissal of rape as a hilarious joke goes the stigmatisation of male rape victims as effeminate, impotent or non-existent.
Sometimes it’s hard to recognize or understand rape culture without hearing real-life examples of how it impacts on everyday lives, starting from an incredibly young age:
It means that the discussion and threat of rape becomes an acceptable part of public discourse:
And the idea of rape becomes fair game for public jokes:
Rape culture suggests that men have a ‘right’ to women’s bodies, thus undermining the concept of consent:
This leads to common misconceptions about women “asking for it” or “wanting it”, even if they explicitly say otherwise:
This leads to public speculation about whether victims’ dress or behaviour could be to blame for their own assaults:
This shifts all the focus onto victims, while perpetrators are not addressed at all:
Rape culture can permeate every area of a woman’s life, from the pavement:
To the workplace:
From the classroom:
To our own homes and families:
As the word starts to lose its meaning, it becomes harder and harder to object to rape culture:
Worst of all, the widespread and normalised nature of rape culture makes it increasingly hard for victims to speak out, as they learn to believe they won’t be taken seriously, or are dismissed when they do:
The cycle is perpetuated as victims are silenced and blamed, the crime normalised, and perpetrators completely ignored.
This is rape culture.