After a night full of watching Neflix documentaries about rape (The Hunting Ground, The Keepers, Audrie and Daisy, Trust etc.) I got angry, began to obsess, decided to do research of my own, and I’ve come to the conclusion that America is plagued with rape culture. This is pretty evident, given what 2018 was made of- Brett Kavanaugh, Cyntoia Brown- who, as of today, will be freed in August 2019. There’s all sorts of examples of rape culture, and it’s not just rapists getting off with a slap on the wrist. There’s a lot more to rape culture than many people even notice.
Social media has an insane impact on the growing of rape culture. You see posts, or memes, or videos, of anybody of any gender, say, slapping someone’s butt in public, and the caption is “Hilarious Prank on Lady in Line!” or, a guy on a Kiss Cam, kissing someone who, so obviously, didn’t want to be kissed, and the caption is, “Boys Will Be Boys.” People often don’t see it, but this is rape culture, and it’s a prime example of such. Any promoting of sexual assault, sexually explicit jokes, any tolerance of sexual assault, is rape culture- and that’s just a few examples; and it’s simply not okay.
We all know that rape is something very serious, that leaves very serious marks on peoples’ lives, (increased anxiety, depression, PTSD, suicidal ideation or thoughts). The average amount of reported rapes (as of 2017) was about 48.88 rapes reported for every 100,000 people in the US. That’s not a lot, and it’s because of the lack of punishment, sentencing, or action against the rapist. Victims get blamed, the assault gets trivialized, and it ultimately ends up as a waste of time and money for the victim.
Most victims don’t report, not because they’re scared, but because they knew that nothing would happen. 13% of rape victims choose not to report because they fear that the police wont do anything. 8% believed that their assault wasn’t important enough to report. 2% believed that the police couldn’t do anything. While the statute of limitations for rape in most states never runs out, victims still choose not to report because they know that nothing will happen. Take the Brock Turner case for example: Turner raped an unconscious woman, put various items inside her, and when he was finished, he left her behind a dumpster, and he only got three months jail time- and it was because people were more concerned about his well-being and future than the victims’. And it’s the same for a lot of cases- the consideration of the rapists’ well-being, future, and mental state are taken more into account than the victim’s.
So what else is considered rape culture? It’s anything from a comment like, “Boys Will Be Boys,” to a case like Brock Turner, or Brett Kavanaugh.
Examples include: Blaming the victim (“(s)he asked for it”, “she was wearing…”), trivializing the assault (“Boys Will Be Boys”), making sexually explicit jokes, any sort of tolerance of sexual harassment, inflating false rape statistics, publicly scrutinizing the victims’ dress, mental state, motive, or history; defining ‘manhood’ as dominate and sexually aggressive, defining ‘womanhood’ as submissive and sexually passive, pressuring men to ‘score’, pressuring women to not ‘appear cold’ when around men, assuming only promiscuous women (sex workers, strippers, etc.) get raped, assuming that men don’t get raped, or that only weak men get raped; refusing to take rape accusations seriously, and teaching women to avoid getting raped. (examples found via Southern).
There’s obviously going to be a long, and hard fight to stop rape culture, but at least being aware that when you say “boys will be boys,” that you’re encouraging rape culture is something. Being aware that there’s a problem is a step towards resolving the problem.