22 May Rape Culture, And Why It’s Your Fault
I bet your first thoughts were of disgust and anger when you saw the above-mentioned statistic. Perhaps it is only because rape is such a vicious and destructive act, or that you do not agree that it only applies to females. I definitely share all of these feelings, but do you know what the saddest part is?
We all contribute to this on a daily basis, and no, not unwittingly.
Rape culture can be defined as the normalisation of sexual violence, not only against women and children, but men too. Now you might be angry that I suggest that you, in any way, contribute toward this heinous culture, but tell me the following:
Have you ever ignored a very unacceptable sexual insinuation or comment while out with a group of people in order to “choose your battles”? I mean, don’t overreact. It’s only a joke, and it’s funny, right?
Have you ever allowed a guy or girl to inappropriately touch you, or even kiss you, because if you say something you are making a scene, and it’s just some clean fun. I mean you only live once right?
Have you ever walked past someone, male or female, and felt their eyes undressing you in such a manner that it makes your hair stand upright from the complete level of creepiness, but you don’t want to make a big issue out of it? What would that help in any case, he/she is not even going to care what you have to say and people will think you are over-sensitive, right?
To take this predicament to the next level, is to add the fact that society has hopped upon the insanely ridiculous victim-blaming train with no hesitation. Imagine that you have been violently and aggressively violated, and left to feel like a shell of a human with no value whatsoever, completely humiliated. Then society, instead of showing compassion and making a real effort to seek justice against this inhumane action, blames you for what has been irreversibly taken away from you.
My mom and I were listening to a debate on Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) about Rape Culture the other day. When the SMS lines went open for public comment, one person sent in the following:
“Dress like a tart, and you will be eaten like a tart.”
Well then, not only did this person clearly illustrate exactly what rape culture is all about with a single, thoughtless and infuriating sentence, but also re-established that there are people in our society who we need to put in place.
The thing I think more people should realise, is that statistics have proven that rapists don’t generally lurk in dark corners, looking for a girl that is scantily dressed and alone. Which makes this argument used by many accused rapists and victimisers in our community presumptuous and wrong. Rapes are committed by people known by the victims.
“Approximately 4/5 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.1
82% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.1
47% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.1
25% are an intimate.1
5% are a relative.”
As we have seen in the recent flare up of activism in universities around the country, protesting Rape Culture on campus, people are becoming exceptionally opposed to rapists being treated better than the victims in society, and are not scared to speak out against it any more.
People are hopefully beginning to realise that slut-shaming and badgering the victim with labels and horrible names should not be allowed, because no matter what the circumstances, rape is never involuntary or acceptable. Gone are the days when excuses like “she was asking for it” or “it’s in my nature” are accepted as valid reasons for such a crime against nature.
To anyone who still believes otherwise, I ask the following:
How is it that other bodily functions can be controlled but a confluence of actions (plural) as unnatural as rape is an uncontrollable thing?
One of the biggest, and perhaps worst, contributors to our dilemma with this profound issue is the glorification of sexual aggression. It is true what they say, “sex sells”, but what these marketing companies bombard us with is a huge catalyst in the thing we now know as “rape culture”.
Campaigns and projects aimed at exposing the sexual violence often portrayed, so subtly, in media are constantly being labelled as victim playing and even sexist against men, and therefore have also started a debate in feminism.
Ladies and gents, please note, feminism can be defined as the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
So no, being a feminist is not about inequality of the sexes in favour of women. It is essentially the equality of the sexes, but it also advocates women’s rights as women still face unequal treatment based solely on sex. Feminism seemed to have become the new “F” word.
My conclusion is thus, if you allow someone to make jokes that make you cringe because you know they are wrong, you are a contributor to rape culture.