Last week, over a million girls and women started trending the topic #RapeCultureIsWhen on Twitter in response to yet another article claiming that “rape culture” simply doesn’t exist.
For those who don’t know, rape culture is an environment in which rape is highly prevalent, normalized and excused by the society’s media, popular culture, and political figures. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification or women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, which creates a social culture that disregards women’s rights and their safety. Some examples include victim blaming (“She asked for it!”), tolerance of sexual harassment, rape jokes, inflating the statistics of false rape reports, trivializing sexual assaults, and teaching young girls “not to get raped” instead of teaching young men not to rape.
Sound familiar? That’s because we do, in fact, live in a rape culture but, for some reason, we just can’t seem to get some people to believe it.
In the controversial TIME Magazine piece on March 20, author Caroline Kitchens argues that “rape is certainly a serious problem, (but) there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm… Rape culture theory is doing little to help victims, but its power to poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males is immense.”
Once again, we’re being told that the real victims of rape and rape culture are “innocent males” and that clearly, we’re all just making up this rape culture idea to get attention.
Hopefully, after you take a look at some of the millions of testimonials that were tweeted on in response, you’ll realize that rape culture is a real problem that does, in fact, exist, and that needs real attention.
#rapecultureiswhen teenage boys use rape as any other normal verb “dude I just RAPED you in CoD”
— (@provocativelib) March 31, 2014
#rapecultureiswhen girls are taught to wear less revealing clothing instead of teaching boys what “no” means…
— (@BKAPtivated) March 27, 2014
#rapecultureiswhen women fear reporting rape bc “she’s the one who was raped” defining them as tarnished instead of abused.
— (@Elizbethperkins) March 26, 2014
Rape culture is real, folks—and we live in it. If you want to change that culture, you’ve got to stop laughing at rape jokes, stop wondering if a victim is telling the truth or not, stop glorifying rapists, and stop perpetuating popular culture that does. You have the power to end hundreds of nightmares, and all you have to do is say to the co-worker who makes rape jokes at the water cooler, “I don’t get it. Can you explain?” and watch them drown.
Because rape culture isn’t funny, and we don’t have to live in it.
Have your own examples of Rape Culture? Leave it in the comments, or tweet it and tag the @FeministCaucus Twitter page.