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Rape culture involves cause and effect

COLUMN

The Parthenon

Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 11:04

The United States has a very prominent rape culture, which seems to be sweeping up the media in a recent trend. We are beginning to see the worst side of rape culture, even here.

Just to give a definition of rape culture for those who are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in some situations are even tolerated or condoned by society.

We have to get out of this state of blaming the victim. Rape is not and will never be the fault of the victim. We would never blame the victim of a robbery saying they asked for it by having nice things or a house that is easily broken into.

We tell girls to avoid being raped: do not go out late, do not go alone and dress modestly. This advice serves absolutely no purpose, because women are not at fault — rapists are!
It is high time our society accepts that rapists rape and no one else is to blame for that but rapists themselves. The only real steps we can take to prevent it is to eliminate the rape culture that makes rape seem like an OK thing to do.

There are so many small things in our culture that contribute to sexual violence, such as rape jokes, victim blaming, sexism and slut-shaming.

While that may seem like an over exaggerated listing of causes to some, it is accurate to what exists in our culture which can be seen on a daily basis.

Many people tell sexist jokes or jokes referring to rape and think little to nothing of it. Take for example the favorite shows of our generation: Family Guy and American Dad. Both go way too far in making sexist and rape jokes that we just laugh off as nothing.

For those of us who have no intention of raping or abusing anyone, we can see the humor behind the satire and take the joke for what it is — a joke. However, there do exist people in the world who watch these shows and are influenced by them, taking their jokes as an OK to do the things they refer to.

Another huge problem we face is victim blaming or slut-shaming. Both are similar terms used to refer to blaming a female rape victim for being raped because of the clothes she was wearing or some other choice that she made. Any sensible person should know that you can just as easily be raped in your own home wearing sweatpants as you can leaving the bar in a mini skirt.

On campus, rape cultures can be created by the way gender relationships are structured. It is often reinforced that if a man takes a woman out on a date and pays for it  the women then owes him something in the way of a sexual favor. Another huge campus problem is date rape. Date rape is often under prosecuted because of the relationship between perpetrator and victim is sometimes seen as consent in the eyes of the court. It is often believed that the woman consented and is falsely claiming rape.

To bring up a different point, men should be offended by rape culture as well, because the entire theory rests on the idea that men cannot control themselves, and that women have to be responsible for male sexuality.

The problem of rape cannot begin to be combated until we combat rape culture. It is rape culture that allows frequent sexual violence to continue in our society and each day it is getting worse, and becomes more normalized. It needs to be stopped before it reaches a point of being entirely mainstream.

Jocelyn Gibson can be contacted at gibson243@marshall.edu

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