Understanding Rape Culture

Rape is a huge issue that plagues the world today. It is a worldwide issue and is not specific to any one country. Rape also can impact anyone at any time. It is not specific to any one neighborhood, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, or financial status. Rape refers to a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent. Consent being the keyword here.

Rapes continue to happen frequently, and yet many are not reported to the police. Rape is widely thought to be the most underreported crime. There are many stigmas that go along with rape, so it makes it difficult to come forward. Also, it is sometimes difficult to prove rape when there are no physical signs. The victim may also fear being further victimized through the investigative process, so the crime is not reported. This is an example of what rape culture is.

Rape culture is a culture in which sexual violence is treated as the norm and victims are blamed for their own assaults. It’s not just about sexual violence itself, but about cultural norms and institutions that protect rapists. This culture promotes impunity, shames victims, and demand that women make unreasonable sacrifices to avoid sexual assault. Rape culture pressures women to sacrifice their freedoms and opportunities in order to stay safe, because it puts the burden of safety on women’s shoulders, and blames them when they don’t succeed.

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And although rape culture has its roots in long-standing patriarchal power structures that were designed to benefit men, today’s rape culture burdens men too. For instance, by ignoring the fact that men can be victims of rape and sexual assault, and women can be perpetrators of it. That means that male victims are also left without legal protection and social support.

The goal of talking about rape culture is about much more than just reducing the frequency with which sexual assault occurs or the impunity that allows it to flourish because the problems at the root of rape culture are much bigger than that.

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