Rape culture today is a constant blame game looking to ignore or justify a crime. The process begins with, of course, the rape itself, but after this the story is different for each individual victim. The victim can choose to tell someone, keep it to themselves, report it, get help... the list goes on. However, the problem with our society today is that once a victim chooses to speak up, a long journey of scrutiny and blame follows. I cannot speak for every victim, but I can speak from personal experience.

According to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), out of every 1,000 rapes about two-thirds go unreported and approximately 994 rapists walk free. Now for most people, their first question is 'why wouldn't you just report it?' To answer this, you have to put yourself in the victims shoes. The simple act of talking about your rape is difficult because you have to re-live the assault. This is hard let alone, but then reporting it? The questioning, the scrutiny, the unwanted flashbacks, not to mention the judgement if your rape case wasn't 'by the book'. And by 'by the book' I mean you were sober, clearly stated no, fought back, and he/she still proceeded. If your case doesn't fit these strict guidelines, then your in for a long and painful journey, not even including the recovery from the actual rape. People are brutal, and I'm not just talking about the rapists. I think the hardest part for me was realizing how much people will talk about and judge you. They will try to justify at times, 'oh you were under the influence maybe you wanted it'. That ignorant statement right there is the prime example why rape culture needs to be reevaluated. Because what it says is that if you see someone passed out or highly intoxicated that you can have sex with them or assault them and it would be their fault. Rape is Rape. And victim-blaming has to be stopped because as victims we go through enough already. This is not something we can just forget or get over, no matter how hard we try. We might have a good couple of days, weeks, or months, but for some reason our minds cannot forget. Flashbacks can be triggered by even the simplest of things, even years down the road when we hope and feel that we're okay. And talking about it is hard too, because there are good people out there who truly want to help us. But the majority just want to justify, find a reason, and blame someone, and the easiest person to blame is the victim. Because maybe we 'remembered wrong', maybe we 'wanted it', maybe we 'gave them the wrong signals', maybe we 'regretted our actions and lied about it', maybe we 'shouldn't have drank so much', maybe we 'shouldn't have worn that'... Or maybe, we should be blaming the rapists themselves. Maybe we should be helping the victim recover and start to redefine rape culture so that when it does happen the victim isn't scrutinized, but rather accepted and listened to. Rape and sexual assault are serious offenses, and considering that 99% of rapists go free there is a clear and significant problem in our society with rape culture. Maybe instead of ignoring the problem, we should train officers and authorities on how to properly help a victim so that they feel safe and not alone. And maybe we should talk about rape and sexual assault and educate people instead of pushing it under the rug and acting like rape can't happen anywhere to anyone. Maybe we should push for new laws and new programs to prevent rape and stop hurting the victims more than they already have been. Maybe we should stop justifying the crime and attempt to prevent it from happening. And maybe then rape won't be taken as a joke anymore.