27 Examples Of Rape Culture In America Today

27 Times Rape Victims Got Taken Advantage Of, And Not Just By Their Rapist

Every minute 24 people experience violence from their intimate partners in the U.S.
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I've been hearing about wrong-doers getting away with their criminal actions since before I knew O.J. stood for Orenthal James.

From the wrongly accused getting put away to letting the unlawful walk, the U.S. court system keeps letting us down. Victims of rape, domestic violence, and sexual abuse resonate with this struggle too often. Unfortunately, it's not just the court system that keeps failing rape victims, it's all of us.

The term "rape culture" has been introduced and shared throughout feminist circles to describe a poor social conditioning that is experienced culturally. It refers to a set of actions that affect every woman. Don't get me wrong, rape culture also includes trans and gender non-conforming people (and cis men), at disturbingly high rates.

I understand it's a people's issue — gender aside. However, it's not a secret that rape culture affects women on a much broader scale.

The simple fact that most women limit their behaviors because of the existence and possibilities of rape, says more than I ever could. Compared to men, more females live in fear of rape. Women think twice about the short skirt they wear, while men have no issue streaking in public.

Rape culture showcases rape as prevalent and sexual violence against women as normal or excused in the media and popular culture. It's about a ridiculous amount of cultural practices that we, unfortunately, all take part in as a society. Rape culture refers to situations in which sexual assault and rape are normalized.

Rape victims get taken advantage of every day, and not just by their perpetrators. If we can't understand how our society normalizes rape, sexual assault, or domestic violence, how can we expect positive change? Skewed interpretations of what rape culture means make it easier to deny it's happening and harder to prevent it. The examples below are more than just anecdotal or isolated incidents, rather they are small parts of a large societal trend.

Rape culture is…

1. Adding pressure to victims to speak up about their rape because their rape kit has an expiration date.

2. A pop song telling young girls “blurred lines" (consent) means everyone “you know you want it.

3. A judge sentencing a 50-year-old man to just 30 days in jail because the 14-year-old girl he raped was “older than her chronological age."

4. Offering support to athletes who are charged with rape, because their victims basically ruined their careers.

5. Companies creating decals of women bound and tied to bring in new clientele and “promote their business."

6. The justice system that fails to hold rapists accountable for their actions.

7. People who blame survivors instead of the perpetrators.

8. Sayings like “boys will be boys."

9. Sayings like “if he ignores you or is mean to you it means he likes you."

10. Simply assuming sexual assault cases are usually false, when in fact only 2-8 % are.

11. Journalists who think it's okay to use the words “sex" and “rape" interchangeably. They are NOT the same.

12. Politicians who say rape is “something that God intended to happen" or that rape is sometimes considered “legitimate rape.

13. Calling students or ANYONE a liar for having the courage to report their rapists.

14. Telling victims they are overreacting if they happen to call someone out for catcalling them.

15. Rape jokes.

16. Sexual assault jokes.

17. People who tell women they need to take certain precautions to prevent rape, instead of telling men to NOT rape.

18. Reddit threads like “You just have to make sure she's dead" and then linking it to the story of a 13-year-old girl who got raped and buried alive in Pakistan.

19. Reddit threads who support men causing pain to women during sex.

20. Hashtags that support accused rapists.

21. Defending celebrities who are accused of rape simply because of their social status, without listening to the victim's story.

22. When more women feel scared to walk outside at night than men.

23. When most men have never checked their back seat to make sure no one was there.

24. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 women reports experiencing rape versus 1 in 71 men.

25. Prestigious universities covering up campus rapes to maintain a positive reputation.

26. Phrases like “suck my dick" or “fuck you."

27. Using the word rape as a substitute for winning: “I just raped that game!" Or using it in the opposite context: “That game raped me!"

I could easily keep going, and by now I'm sure you've caught on to what rape culture really signifies. Examples are everywhere and they permeate our society on all levels. Why is this even important or significant? Because together we can make a difference. The more people that become aware and get on board, the less rape will become normalized.

Society, as a whole, needs to understand that rape is NOT okay, and it NEVER will be.

Cover Image Credit: The CW

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20 Things That Happen When A Jersey Person Leaves Jersey

Hoagies, pizza, and bagels will never be the same.
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Ah, the "armpit of America." Whether you traveled far for college, moved away, or even just went on vacation--you know these things to be true about leaving New Jersey. It turns out to be quite a unique state, and leaving will definitely take some lifestyle adjustment.

1. You discover an accent you swore you never had.

Suddenly, people start calling you out on your pronunciation of "cawfee," "wooter," "begel," and a lot more words you totally thought you were saying normal.

2. Pork Roll will never exist again.

Say goodbye to the beautiful luxury that is pork roll, egg, and cheese on a bagel. In fact, say goodbye to high-quality breakfast sandwiches completely.

3. Dealing with people who use Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, or Dominos as their go-to pizza.

It's weird learning that a lot of the country considers chain pizza to be good pizza. You're forever wishing you could expose them to a real, local, family-style, Italian-owned pizza shop. It's also a super hard adjustment to not have a pizza place on every single block anymore.

4. You probably encounter people that are genuinely friendly.

Sure Jersey contains its fair share of friendly people, but as a whole, it's a huge difference from somewhere like the South. People will honestly, genuinely smile and converse with strangers, and it takes some time to not find it sketchy.

5. People drive way slower and calmer.

You start to become embarrassed by the road rage that has been implanted in your soul. You'll get cut off, flipped off, and honked at way less. In fact, no one even honks, almost ever.

6. You realize that not everyone lives an hour from the shore.

Being able to wake up and text your friends for a quick beach trip on your day off is a thing of the past. No one should have to live this way.

7. You almost speak a different language.

The lingo and slang used in the Jersey area is... unique. It's totally normal until you leave, but then you find yourself receiving funny looks for your jargon and way fewer people relating to your humor. People don't say "jawn" in place of every noun.

8. Hoagies are never the same.

Or as others would say, "subs." There is nothing even close in comparison.

9. Needing Wawa more than life, and there's no one to relate.

When you complain to your friends about missing Wawa, they have no reaction. Their only response is to ask what it is, but there's no rightful explanation that can capture why it is so much better than just some convenient store.

10. You have to learn to pump gas. Eventually.

After a long period of avoidance and reluctance, I can now pump gas. The days of pulling up, rolling down your window, handing over your card and yelling "Fill it up regular please!" are over. When it's raining or cold, you miss this the most.

11. Your average pace of walking is suddenly very above-average.

Your friends will complain that you're walking too fast - when in reality - that was probably your slow-paced walk. Getting stuck behind painfully slow people is your utmost inconvenience.

12. You're asked about "Jersey Shore" way too often.

No, I don't know Snooki. No, our whole state and shore is not actually like that. We have 130 miles of some of the best beach towns in the country.

13. You can't casually mention NYC without people idealizing some magical, beautiful city.

Someone who has never been there has way too perfect an image of it. The place is quite average and dirty. Don't get me wrong, I love a good NYC day trip as much as the next person, but that's all it is to you... a day trip.

14. The lack of swearing is almost uncomfortable.

Jerseyans are known for their foul mouths, and going somewhere that isn't as aggressive as us is quite a culture adjustment.

15. No more jughandles.

No longer do you have to get in the far right lane to make a left turn.

16. You realize that other states are not nearly as extreme about their North/South division.

We literally consider them two different states. There are constant arguments and debates about it. The only thing that North and South Jersey can agree on is that a "Central Jersey" does not exist.

17. Most places also are not in a war over meat.

"Pork roll" or "taylor ham"... The most famous debate amongst North and South Jersey. It's quite a stupid argument, however, considering it is definitely pork roll.

18. You realize you were spoiled with fresh produce.

After all, it's called the "Garden State" for a reason. Your mouth may water just by thinking about some fresh Jersey corn.

19. You'll regret taking advantage of your proximity to everything.

Super short ride to the beach and a super short ride to Philly or NYC. Why was I ever bored?

20. Lastly, you realize how much pride you actually have in the "armpit of America," even if you claimed to dislike it before.

After all, there aren't many places with quite as much pride. You find yourself defending your state at all necessary moments, even if you never thought that would be the case.

Cover Image Credit: Travel Channel

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Tarana Burke Talked To Villanova, This Is What I Learned

'me too' isn't a women's movement; it's a survivors's movement

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On Monday, March 26, Villanova University's Office of Student Involvement, Multicultural Student Union and Feminist Society (Feminova) brought Tarana Burke, the founder of the infamous 'me too' movement to campus for an intimate, candid conversation about the purpose of the viral movement and how students could be better allies to survivors of sexual assault. The Villanova Room — Villanova's largest and most used room for speaking events in the Connelly Center — was packed an hour before the event's scheduled start, with students sitting on the floor, standing in the doorway and venturing the different broadcast locations on campus to view the talk in real time, if not in real life. The conversation started with her life story and ventured into the movement as Burke saw it and how we can continue to work to make it intersectional.

'me too' was originally started in 2005, despite the viral hashtag taking off in 2016. The impact has been tremendously positive, with women and men who have survived sexual violence coming forward into the newly defined space to talk about their experiences. From blue collar women to high profile actors, people have come forward in force to stand up to sexual violence and demand a stop. Perhaps one of the most notable survivors who has become an avid supporter of the movement is Rose McGowan, who was one of the first women to come out and name Harvey Weinstein as an abuser. Weinstein is currently awaiting trial in June of 2019 and is confined to his homes in Connecticut and New York via ankle monitor. Burke says the experience of the hashtag going viral has opened her up to the different ways that people are, as she admits to having a sheltered life in the sense that the people who surrounded her were all like-minded. Seeing the different ways that people view the world and react to this movement has led to the need to move homes with her child and hire a security detail due to the number of death threats received. "There are no opposite sides on this, I'm talking about sexual violence and people's bodies being violated, what are you opposing?" Burke says to applause.

Despite the seemingly endless backlash from those who do not wish to understand the movement's core, Burke says that the stories of triumph from women who have been affected by the movement make it all worth it. "I meet a person every day who tells me about being able to talk about their experience," said Burke. "It is worth the amount of triumph that we've had. We have given millions of people safety, space and a sense of community that wasn't there before."

It's no secret that sexual assault is a problem on college campuses everyone. One in five women will be raped at some point in their life as will one in 71 men. This statistic is alarming and terrifying, bringing the reality of sexual violence home. Now, this statistic wasn't news to me: I am familiar with the effects and likelihood of sexual violence on college campus, as are many women and men around me. 'me too' gave survivors a space on the public screen to discuss their experiences and call for an end to sexual violence. Burke offered her opinion on how best to support friends who are survivors of sexual violence. When you get right down to it, what survivors feel is pain, and pain is a universal feeling, although the specificity of that pain is personal. Losing a father has a different effect for different people. Nevertheless, everyone has experienced pain and we all understand pain, grief and trauma. Burke explains that empathy is not about having the same experiences but demonstrating a sense of understanding towards the survivor. She suggests that the best way to support a survivor of sexual violence is to ask them what they need from you, as well as letting the answer be no if they say they don't need anything.

At the heart of it, this movement is not about calling out perpetrators but about providing a space for survivors to talk about their experiences. Burke emphasized that this is not a women's movement: it's a survivor's movement. She critiqued the way men are categorized within this movement is either as allies or perpetrators, never as survivors. Our job as allies and survivors is to engage men as allies and survivors and to work together to shift the permeating rape culture. Burke stated about the double standard of rape culture, "two people had sex, only one of them came out a slut. That's interesting." She commented on the role of media telling men they are in danger of being "me tooed," which is absolutely not true. We are all in danger until we change the problematic culture that pits men and women against each other instead of men and women against abusers and rapists. Rape culture effects everyone and is pervasive in our media and our speech, contributing to violence and allowing violence to happen more easily.

With all this in mind, I thought of my own experiences and the way I have thought about sexual violence. The question came to mind: where does forgiveness come into play? Burke explained that forgiveness is a personal thing, however, she believes the first step is forgiveness of yourself. Forgiveness is not prescriptive, and it is not owed to anyone but yourself. If you are a survivor of sexual assault or sexual violence, please be kind to yourself. The 'me too' movement is more than just a hashtag, it's about starting a conversation to end sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. As Burke put it, "I talk about ending sexual violence because I believe sexual violence can end." It can, and we can be the generation to do so. If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual violence, please seek out service available to you to help you begin the healing process. And, in case my language has been too coded, #metoo.

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