In order to fully comprehend the counterintuitive encouragement of the discussion of rape culture and what supports it, “rape culture” itself must be defined. In order to fully understand the depth of rape culture, we must confront and define the main ideas and actions that substantiate it. These ideas include “victim blaming” and “slut shaming.” Once explained, clarity of rape culture will be reached and the counterintuitive premises of the discussion of this culture will be introduced.
Rape culture is defined as a setting where rape is normalized. It’s where people side with the accused instead of the victim. The victim is the one who is under scrutiny and is automatically presumed as a liar. The culture is a part of our society; it’s something that is taught and learned at a young age and throughout development. According to Kate Harding, “Boys are taught that sex is their right – it’s on demand, basically – and that girls will resist, and their job is to overcome that resistance.” Harding is right. Examples in the media, gender norms and gender stereotypes teach girls to be ladylike and reserved, while boys are taught to be aggressive and are encouraged with heterosexuality. Girls aren’t encouraged to speak up for what they want, and when they do, it’s seen as a game. In this game, the perpetrators of rape are the winners, and the victims are the losers. I am not saying that all rapists are men; I am simply highlighting the points that support this brand of culture. There are certainly female rapists, and they too are held at a higher standard than their victims are.
Victim blaming is loosely defined as when the victim of a crime is held accountable in some way, shape or form. In contexts of rape culture, victim blaming may include accusations that the victim was being provocative or suggestive, thus she was asking to be raped. Slut shaming is essentially the same thing. If someone were to tell a victim that because of the way she dressed, she was asking to get raped, they are slut shaming her based on her appearance. These terms make up the core of rape culture, and it influences rape victims to suffer in silence. Many rape victims do not report their rape because they are fearful of not being believed by their friends and the police. This is detrimental to their well-being, and it adds to rape culture. People are raped because of what they are taught throughout their life, victims of rape have to choose between suffering in silence or exposing their trauma to disbelievers, and the rapist will continue on with their life, or if justice is served, will face the necessary consequences.
“America Has a Rape Problem – And Kate Harding Wants to Fix It.” Rolling Stone. Lauren Kelley, 24 August 2015. Web. 26 October 2015.
“Why Victims of Rape in College Don’t Report to the Police.” Time. Eliza Gray, 23 June 2014. Web. 26 October 2015.