I’ve seen a lot of articles recently regarding “rape culture,” and while many of them are poignant, thought provoking pieces that really contribute to the cause of stopping said rape culture, there are several articles out there that take the term to the extreme, making women out to be victimized. In my opinion, this further propagates rape culture by taking arguments and pushing them to extremes. So I made a handy list, which in my opinion, outlines some of the topics that help call out and end rape culture, and others which further victimize women and cause their arguments to be viewed as silly and not worth anyone’s time.
What Propagates Rape Culture:
1. Saying someone deserved or asked to be raped, or otherwise tolerating sexual assault. This is one of the most common ways that rape is being made to seem okay in the eyes of society. It’s most often seen in clubs and at parties, where women are dressed provocatively and have been drinking, perhaps a little too much. Women in these situations are often seen as ‘asking for it.’ Why should you disagree? Because no one asks for, or wants, to be raped. That would fall under the umbrella of ‘consensual.’
No matter what a woman wears, or what she drinks, putting herself in a party situation does not make rape appropriate. Would you say a man walking down a street, slightly intoxicated, deserves to get hit by a car, or mugged? No, you wouldn’t. Because these people that you’re saying ‘deserved’ something, are humans. They’re people. With feelings. And more importantly, rights. Criminals exist in every city and every walk of life. Crimes happen, including sexual assault, homicide, rape, and robbery. Does that mean the victims of said crimes deserve that happening to them? No.
Sexual assault is against the law. Plain as day. It shouldn’t be tolerated in a civilized society. Nevertheless, it is continually dismissed as a non-issue.
2. “Slut Shaming,” and the double standard held between men and women. This goes back to modern American culture. Because women are supposed to be pure, or at least mostly so, before they’re married or seriously involved with someone, while men and boys are expected and encourage to get with as many women as possible before finally settling down with the right girl, or the ‘game changer,’ who has had approximately 15% of the sexual experience as her boyfriend. How does this propagate rape culture? By equating sex with power in men, while equating sex with loneliness and self-esteem issues in women. Supposedly, this is because women can’t differentiate between sex and love, meaning that women have sex to find love, while men have sex to gain power.
3. Saying that underage girls are “in control” of their situations, when raped by an older man. I’m talking of course about the Montana judge who gave a high school teacher an extremely short sentence in a rape case, saying that the fourteen year old girl in question looked older than her years and was ‘probably as much in control of the situation as the defendant.’
Are you kidding me? Children are young and impressionable, and no matter how much science backs up the fact that girls mature faster than boys, manipulating a child into having sex with you as a 40 year old is disgusting. To damage a young girl’s mind and body beyond belief, and then to blame that damage on her, is despicable.
4. Victim blaming and not taking victims seriously. Going back to the club scene, where a woman may get a little too intoxicated and is taken home by a relative stranger. She is either passed out or too intoxicated to control the situation, and the man in question has sex with her. I’ve heard this argument, in which a lack of consent or dissent is considered implicit consent, where it should be considered implicit dissent. In other words, if anything other than ‘yes’ came out of that woman’s mouth, you shouldn’t be having sex with her.
Taking this same situation, in which a woman wakes up after a scene of drunken rape and tries to report it to the police, and is greeted with, in the best case scenario, skepticism (in the worst, indifference).
In my mind, women don’t just blindly call out ‘rape’ like the boy who cried wolf, and even if she is, for money or some other twisted reason, that woman deserves the benefit of the doubt until her alleged rapist can come forward and be tried or potentially be brought to justice.
What SHOULDN’T Propagate Rape Culture
1. High School/College/Professional Dress Codes. I’ve seen a lot of arguments lately about dress codes being sexist and designed to objectify young women. We need to put a stop to that now. Dress Codes are about teaching children what’s appropriate to wear in a public setting, and showing that you can understand the formality of the situation that you’re in. Yes, much of high school dress codes are geared towards girls, but that’s because it’s not boys who wear short shorts or crop tops. If they did, I’m sure the dress code would still apply to them. No one wants to see a minor with all of their business hanging out.
Furthermore, High School dress codes promote modesty in both boys and girls, and help to encourage the fact that you are not just your body, that it’s much more important to show off your intelligence, or even your athletic ability or artistic skill. Why are we trying to diminish that?
2. Encouraging Women’s Self Defense. This is a great example of how women further victimize themselves. When you argue ‘teach men not to rape,’ you forget a simple fact about criminals; they will always exist, and they will never obey the law. Also remember that rape IS already against the law. We are telling men not to rape. But you know what’s still happening? Rape. You know what women can do to make sure they’re not victimized or objectified? Take self defense classes. Become a runner. Hell, get your CHL. Because chances are, a strong woman is a safe woman. Don’t let your safety or lack thereof be the result of the men around you. That’s just putting yourself in a more dangerous position.
3. Encouraging Safety In Numbers. This goes right back to women furthering rape culture. Should you be able to feel safe walking alone at night down a street or in a parking lot? Of course you should. But the fact is that you don’t, and you truly won’t be until everyone in the world is a productive, law abiding citizen who never breaks the law. Until then, look out for yourself and your friends.
Why Does This Matter?
Women should not be taught that they are rape-able, but they also should not be taught to victimize themselves, which is what occurs when women cry out for ‘teaching men not to rape’. Calling for rape control without advocating for well-informed, strong women who are aware of their surroundings and the dangers around them makes your argument look irrational and just plain silly.
It’s stupid to pretend that self-defense is the only answer to defeating rape culture. Rape SHOULD NOT exist in a civilized society, and the fact that it does, and that rape culture continues to be propagated by men and women who are dismissive of the environment that lets it continue is absolutely deplorable.
So please, keep talking about this issue. Keep shouting it from the rooftops, sharing your stories of personal victory after rape or sexual assault, and calling out every misogynist who makes a sexist comment. But seriously, take responsibility and control of yourself as well.