“She was asking for it; she was pissed”
“Hey baby, smile for me”
“That exam raped me”
“Na it isn’t rape if shes a sex worker”
“She said no, but I’m sure she can be convinced”
In case some of you are not aware, this is what rape-culture is.
This is where sexual violence is normalized and even condoned in popular culture. Misogynistic language, the glamorization of sexual violence, and the cultural acceptance of victim blaming perpetuates this culture.
People who are unfamiliar with the term are often put off by the idea because they think people are being too dramatic. They reality is 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience a sexual assault before her/his birthday. Studies also show that 1 in 5 women are survivors of attempted or completed sexual violence whilst they are at university.
At what point did it ever become okay to place the responsibility of rape upon a woman? To point the finger at how much she chose to drink, the length of skirt she chose to wear, the party she chose to attend, the time of night she chose to walk home? To make her somehow feel it was her fault because of the choices she made is incomprehensible.
Alcohol does not equal rape. A short skirt does not equal rape. I know this seems pretty self-explanatory to most of you reading this? However, it is clear that a great deal of the population fails to grasp this concept.
This is exactly what enables a rape culture. Men who hold women accountable. Men who condemn women for their lack of modesty, who claim this is the reason they sin.
For example, an article published in The Sun:
It is beyond my realm of thought as to why a woman drinking jagerbombs equates to her being raped. If that was the case I would have been assaulted on many an occasion. This is just a prime example of rape culture. Are we really expected to read this and think, ‘Oh gosh, she was raped how awful!… Oh no wait, she had some jagerbombs, phew that’s ok then!’… Don’t be ridiculous. However, this happens daily in the news and on various social media platforms and yet no one seems to really notice. We have become so desensitised to this victim-blaming that it doesn’t shock us anymore, it’s the norm.
Why is this example of victim-blaming so common in the media? Maybe because people want to distance themselves from an unpleasant occurrence and thereby confirm their own invulnerability to the risk. By labelling or accusing the victim, others can see the victim as different from themselves. People reassure themselves by thinking, “because I am not like her, because I do not do that, this would never happen to me.”
This victim-blaming marginalizes the victim and makes it harder for them to come forward and report the abuse.
Here’s the thing. I don’t deny hook-up culture is a problem. But rather than condemn women who choose to drink too much and have casual sexual encounters, we should look beyond the action and see the cause. To realise what we are seeing is the result of a broken generation.
The problem doesn’t lie with our hook up culture, it never has. The problem lies with the foundations of our society being built upon male privilege, boys not being taught to respect and value women, men being taught through porn industries, and the like, that women are objects.
We all need to notice what is happening in our society, get outraged, and share our outrage with others. Staying aware of rape culture is painful work, but we can’t interrupt the culture of violence unless we are willing to see it for what it is.