This post is inspired from a conversation that I had on Facebook. Now normally I try to avoid the comments section of chiming in because people just like to troll and argue because they’re bored. I don’t feel like there’s a point in my comment if it’s not going to change anything anyway.
But this time, I bit the bullet. The conversation was about rape culture and whether or not it existed. One man responded to me directly saying…
Just because rapes happen doesn’t mean that we live in a rape culture. Is rape, overall, condoned? Are rapists not punished by law? Just because some people blame the victim again doesn’t mean that out collective society does.
I get the idea that their personal experiences could lead them to believe out entire culture condones rape, but that simply isn’t true. It’s like saying oh ive been robbed by black people twice so black people must condone robbing people in their culture. Do you not see how overgeneralizing that is? The concept of rape culture is used to push the anti rape agenda, which is understandable but not factual.
With this post I want to share my response and add a few points to it.
When people blame women of why men choose to rape them because they feel that the woman did something to cause the rape, that’s part of rape culture for that to be a common opinion among people. It’s not a debate of if people think rape is bad, condoned, or against the law. Sure, we all know it’s against the law. But it’s about common public beliefs about why it happen, how to prevent it and how much we as a society is desensitized to the severity of it because of how much it is downplayed.
At a young age, I like so many other girls were taught what not to do so that a man won’t rape me. It shouldn’t be that way! Women are taught what they should do to protect themselves instead of men being taught to control themselves. That’s part of rape culture. A person’s first response to a rape incident is to ask what the woman did to cause it and barely scrutinizes the man for doing it. In some cases people even feel sorry for the man to have to go through his punishment [see How The Media Took Sides In The Steubenville Rape Case]. Some men do it because they know they can manipulate the situation to get away with it [see Oklahoma City cop convicted of rape sentenced to 263 years in prison].
To go with the robbery example that the guy gave me, let’s switch it around. If you experienced robbery like women experienced the backlash of reporting their rapist, people would ask you when you say you got robbed of what did you wear to make that person want to rob you or feel that it was okay to rob you? Did you have your money out to where they can see it and feel tempted to rob you? They may accuse you of lying or that the robber misunderstood you. That the robber thought you said it was okay for him to have your wallet because you had it in your hand instead of your pocket. I mean if you didn’t want anybody to rob you then you should put your wallet in your pocket so that you don’t give mixed signals. And when he did try to take it, you should have been clearer in explaining that you didn’t want him to rob you. That you shouldn’t have had such a nice looking wallet and had smaller bills instead of larger bills. They would make you feel like you deserved to get rob. The news would talk about how you never managed money well anyway and tell about how your credit score is 550 and how much debt you racked up on your credit cards. They would talk about how the robbers needed that money to buy their children some new shoes for school or how they were hoping to start their own business and other career plans they had.
Even worse within the act of the robbery, a witness probably took out their phone not to call 911 to help but to record you being robbed making comments like “yea rob that weak little boy”, laughing as it happened. They’ll post it on the Internet for comments and likes which they WILL receive because people are so desensitized to violent unwanted sexual acts to women that many won’t call out the person for posting it [see Teenager Is Accused of Live-Streaming a Friend’s Rape on Periscope].
People tend to rationalize how it’s the victims fault. It’s the mindset of people towards rape and its prevention as if men have no control of their bodies and women have all the control to keep themselves from being raped. Victim blaming at its finest. I know you don’t want to believe it and just dismiss it as people is being dramatic and over generalizing but it is SO common.
This is why women are so afraid to report it. They fear blackmail. They fear being humiliated and accused that they’re lying. They fear being called a every name in the book and others trying to find a reason to say that it’s her fault. They fear the media having a field day digging through their past to find something to promote an image of how unstable or irresponsible the victim is. Imagine going through all that public speculation PLUS the mental turmoil that rape victims go through with the memory of the incident happening.
So we need to stop this by stopping the promotion of rape culture. Men, if you want to help us eliminate rape culture, do the following:
- Don’t make jokes about raping women. I don’t care how clever you think you are. It’s not funny because since so many people are desensitized to rape, making jokes about it just further normalizes it as if it isn’t a big deal.
- No SERIOUSLY means no. So if a woman says no, no matter her tone of voice, don’t have sex with her. I can care less if she’s naked in your bed and you both just had a make out session. If she tells you no, you leave her alone. That’s her body and honestly I could care less about your balls turning blue. If you want to be mad about it, then don’t have anything else to do with her then. I mean if she’s worth to you is sex, then don’t waste her time in the future and move on to the next.
- When you hear other men discussing rape, stick up for us as women. Don’t just let other men glorify rape or participate in it. Tell them their wrong. If they try to clown you for it, then you might need to get some new friends anyway that aren’t so immature.
- If a girl is drunk, don’t have sex with her. She is drunk. She can’t give actual consent in that condition because her mind is gone. Don’t be so desperate for sex that you will take advantage of the state that she’s in. It’s not worth it. I don’t care what flirty eyes she may have given you, how long you have been making out with her, or how long she has been dancing on you. That doesn’t mean that you should have sex with her.
- If you see a rape happening or even think a rape is happening, STOP THE RAPIST. Don’t be a bystander. You are not helpless. Stop it. Pull him off of her. Push him of her. Call 911. Do anything and everything you need to do. Don’t just let it happen and DEFINITELY don’t record it just to post it on the internet or share it with friends.
- Always remember that a girl can flirt with you, dance with you, have drinks with you, make out with you, cuddle with you, but that doesn’t mean she wants to have sex with you. Stop making assumptions and giving excuses. Be upfront and take the effort to make sure the two of you are on the same page before you both have sex. She will have a lot of respect for you as a man if you were to do that, trust me.
- Teach your sons these types of lessons. Encourage them to respect all women no matter what. We need to eliminate rape culture in our future generations too.
I know it’s hard for some men to now have to be held accountable for their actions but it needs to start now. I hope that this post has shined some light on this topic if you’ve ever been confused about it. If you’re still iffy about it, read this piece that analyzes the Kobe Bryant rape case as well as how the media encourages rape culture [see The Legacy Of The Kobe Bryant Rape Case] or you can take a look at this short 2:45 min video made by AJ+:
Remember that just because something doesn’t affect you, doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. To sit in your realm of privilege and dismiss it is one of the most insulting and insensitive things you can do. I encourage you to talk to women who have experienced rape to understand on a deeper level.