Feminism Myth #4: Rape Culture Isn’t Real

I’ve had a nice little break from blogging over the weekend and due to illness I’m only just really starting my week today. I’ve got some lovely images to share with you all from my trip up to Sheffield so stay tuned for some non SJW-esque ramblings; I promise they are coming soon!

So I’ve seen some very unbecoming comments on social media regarding the issue of rape culture and I have to say the defensive “we know about rape stop stating the obvious” menz of the world are truly stepping up their game in the realm of general fuckery. I’ve seen on more than one occasion that “rape culture is just a myth to make men look bad” and “You’re telling us that we’re all rapists, that’s not fair!” whenever the subject is raised. I feel like there are two schools of thought at play here, one is that rape isn’t an issue and that we’re all just lying about it and the second believes that although rape is an issue we’re demonizing all men personally and individually: both of whom are missing the point entirely.

To say that rape culture is a myth is to spit in the face of every woman who has been raped – and in fact, every man who has been raped too (never forget that this happens to men too, mostly by other men. 3% of rape victims in the US were men). The key is in the title – it is a culture, it is ingrained into us and we may not necessarily be aware of it as a result. For those who aren’t sure what this means: it doesn’t just mean those who rape, it includes rape jokes, cat-calling, the idea that those who are attacked deserve it because they were drinking/how they were dressed/because they led someone on. The media has a lot of answer for on this point as a lot of the negative impact comes directly from us parroting what we see on the news. All too frequently, the perpetrators of sexual violence are redeemed from their crimes because they were “good students”, “excellent sportsmen” or “had a bright future ahead of them” while the victim essentially gets blamed and treated as a life ruiner for coming forward and speaking out. It’s not always the most noticeable victim blamers that are the most dangerous, it’s more the subtleties, the instinctive doubt and the judgement from men and women alike that contributes to an unhealthy view of sexual violence. All of this points towards a poisonous ideology that the victim can prevent their attack through their own actions – this places ALL the responsibility of not being raped on the victim and almost none on the rapist.

On to the second group of people who seem to get personally upset and offended at men being lumped into a group all together where rape culture is concerned. Statements like “men need to be taught not to rape” or “men need to know the difference between saying ‘yes’ and saying nothing” can lead to the assumption that all men are being labelled as bad. If you instinctively get offended because you personally haven’t raped anyone and don’t feel like this applies to you then I think you need to stop giving yourself pity points, thinking of yourself, and look at the bigger picture. Men are being addressed as a whole because over a whopping 93.7% (according to The Dimensions Of Human Sexuality) of rapists are male, whether their victim is female or male. If you’re not offended by the statistics, but are offended by the notion that you are being preached to about rape then you probably have your priorities wrong and are part of the problem. If you put your hands up and claim “not me, I didn’t do anything so I shouldn’t have to hear it” you’re part of the problem. If you’re not interested in being a part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Dear reader, if you ignore this problem and turn a blind eye to it, you are the reason that so many rape victims get silenced by doubt, shame and worst of all blame. This isn’t just something that men are guilty of. A large portion of women often jump to the worst conclusions whenever a victim comes forward with their story. It is frequently seen as “attention seeking” or “spiteful” to find the courage to speak out against your rapist, there’s this terrible divide among women almost as if there is some sort of competition for sympathy? As though we can’t stand to see victims met with sympathy rather than a barrage of questions and doubt. An overall lack of desire to talk about difficult subjects is ever present among all of us.

In Afghanistan, women are imprisoned for being raped. In Morocco, a rape victim is expected to marry her rapist. Roughly 48 women per hour are raped in the Congo during war. The sexual violence rate of a black woman is estimated to be around 40% by the time they reach age 18. In the USA you are more likely to be raped in college. In the UK a woman was jailed for aborting her baby that was conceived through rape. With all these real scenarios taking place all over the world you’d think it would be impossible to turn and blind eye and feign ignorance to the violent tendencies of men (93.7% to be exact). Apparently not, American Republican politician Steve King claimed that he had “never heard of a woman getting pregnant through rape or incest”. I think the most poignant question to ask yourself if you are a man who denies that rape culture exists, or believes it not to be your problem: how often do you worry about being raped? How often does rape cross your mind? If the answer is “almost never” as it has been with many whom I’ve asked, you are privileged not to worry about getting raped every time you walk somewhere alone, you are privileged to never have to worry about having to deal with an abortion as consequence of an unwanted sexual attack, you are privileged to not worry if what you’re wearing, how much you drink or what you say to someone could provoke an attack. Can you imagine if you did? I’m sure it would impact you negatively too.

If having to see, hear or read another article about rape culture and why it’s bad stops just one person from being raped then it should be worth it to you. We will not change the record until something changes so be a part of the solution or be a part of the problem but don’t expect this to just go away just because it hurts your feelings. If you don’t like the generalisation of men being the main perpetrators of rape – why don’t you try and do something about it? I’m afraid it IS that black and white. You have the power to change things for the better and not just for women but for all of us. Let’s create a society where we no longer have to talk about rape all the time and constantly defend victims…because they really shouldn’t need defending. Next time a friend says “look at the tits on THAT” or shouts obscenities at someone on the street – call them out. Next time you’re with someone who says “yeah right” when the news tells us someone’s accused another of rape – call them out. If you see someone creeping on another person who is visibly not interested – call them out. But most of all you can stop complaining whenever the subject of rape culture is raised and spare us your #notallmen argument because stating the obvious is apparently boring and unnecessary.

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