We Need To End Rape Culture
Rape Culture. That phrase has been thrown around the media a lot lately. With all the allegations of sexual abuse against media moguls, actors, and politicians many people have been questioning how rape and sexual abuse have been covered in the media. According to a definition from the women's center at Marshall University, Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent, and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.
Women's rights and safety have been disregarded for hundreds of years. It is only in recent decades that women have been given some rights that man have always possessed. The one thing women seem to not have any right over is their bodies, which has been objectified in media thousands of times over. From unnecessarily sexual advertisements and movies, women have been presented in media more as sex objects than anything else. Entertainment creators and studio executives are mostly men; so many things presented through media have been created through the male gaze. An example of this is when the costumes in Justice League, which were designed by a man, in a film directed by a man, sexualized the female actors. While in Wonder Woman, which was directed by a woman, with costumes designed by a woman did not appear overtly sexual. Wonder Women and Justice League are both movies a part of the DC superhero universe and the female characters are the Amazon women who are the same characters in both films.
Over-sexualization of women in media is just one small piece in the creation of Rape Culture.
Here are a few more examples of Rape Culture that we have all seen and heard according to Marshall University women center.
-Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
-Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
-Tolerance of sexual harassment
-Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
-Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
-Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
-Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
-Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
-Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
-Teaching women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape
Rape, defined by Webster dictionary is the unlawful sexual activity, and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent. Sexual intercourse without consent is rape and that is a crime. Rape Culture, for the most part, leads to rape and leads to the perpetrator not getting punished for their crimes.
There are many different ways everyone in society can combat Rape Culture. You can avoid using language that objectifies, or degrades women. You can do this by speaking if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape. And most importantly hold abusers accountable for their actions. Do not let them make excuses, like blaming the victim, alcohol, or drugs for their behavior.