When reflecting back on the material that we covered this semester, I think that one of the most important and influential concepts that we addressed was the issue of rape culture. Living in a society in which rape culture abounds is extremely problematic because although it does not explicitly condone sexual violence, it does not condemn the actions that facilitate it. Society often promotes rape culture through trivializing or joking about sexual assault and rape and as a result it becomes accepted as the norm. It occurs when a society sees that rape and sexual violence are extremely prevalent and does not take any significant measures to stop it. Instead they often blame the victim and encourage people to act and dress in a way that will deter them being sexually assaulted.
In a society that supports rape culture, it tells individuals that sexually assaulting women, and even men, is okay. It promotes the idea that consent is not always necessary based on how a person dresses or if they are intoxicated. Rape culture facilitates sexual assault. I know individuals who think it is okay to simply slap a person’s butt or grab their boob, simply because they are friends with them. They completely disregard the fact that individuals should be able to have a say if whether or not they are touched in that way. No matter how an individual dresses is it an invitation to be sexually assaulted.
Rape culture almost promotes sexual assault on college campuses. We live in a world in which men and women think it is okay to say sexually inappropriate things to one another without provocation. Furthermore, it promotes the idea that consent isn’t always necessary and that sometimes even “no means yes.” Rape culture supports coercion when it comes to consent and that with enough convincing, a person will change his or her mind. Rape culture discourages victims of sexual assault to come forward out of fear that their claims won’t be taken seriously by the administration or police force. The institutions that are put in place to protect students are often the ones that discourage them from officially reporting sexual assault.
For me, eliminating rape culture is the only way to decrease sexual assaults on college campuses. Until individuals realize the effect that their words and actions have on other people, they will continue to perpetuate rape culture. I definitely don’t think that eliminating rape culture will be an easy task, but it is a necessary one. Neither women, nor men should have to fear being sexually assaulted because they were drunk or dressed a certain way, especially on college campuses. This is a critical concept that should be more widely addressed because it affects everyone and some individuals may even partake without thinking about it. Rape culture is that engrained in our society. It is present in movies, television, and advertising and most people probably don’t even notice.
How could rape culture be addressed by society? Is it an issue that the government could take a stance on? Could there be programs put in place that would help to eliminate rape culture and shift people’s ideologies to one that is more critical of rape and sexual violence?