Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rape Culture: Know what it is and end your contributions to it

Since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I kicked it off with some upsettling infographics and facts and I'm ending it with a post on rape culture. I'd rather talk about something else too, believe me, because I am sick to fucking death of banging this drum, but I will keep going until the rape culture is smashed. We've got to stop this shit and unfortunately it will take every single one of us to do it. 

To start, we can stop acting like rape culture is a popular new buzz phrase bitchy feminists have come up with in the past few years because they have no sense of humor. 

It's not. 

It's when sexual assault, rape, and general violence are ignored, trivialized, normalized, or made into jokes. If you think those things are a rarity or anything outrageous you hear about (Brock Turner) is a one-off or isolated situation, you're mistaken. And also fully immersed in rape culture. Because this shit happens every day and it has forever. Rape culture exists because we don't believe it does. 

And it's a very hard cycle to break from, even for women and feminists. We were raised in this culture. We've heard victim blaming on the news, read it in the papers and online. It's been around us since the beginning of time. We've said the things you should never say as an automatic reply to stories we hear. It's ingrained in us to not make a big deal out of things, to let it go, to look over our shoulders, to shrink in situations where we might be vulnerable, to think well why was she walking alone? 

On a very, very basic level:

What can you personally do to end rape culture? 
-Stop blaming the victim. It doesn't matter what she wore or how much she had to drink or where she chose to walk alone. She wasn't asking for it and she didn't deserve it. If the thought comes to mind, eradicate it. 
-Never, ever say well it wouldn't have happened if...
-Do not insult this issue with but what about women who cry rape. Seriously. Don't. For no other crime do we attempt to give the accused the benefit of the doubt. Imagine hearing well there are those kids who just say they were molested ...or I'm sure they didn't mean to break into your car, it was just a misunderstanding. Etc. 
-Cast off outdated ideas about sexuality. She wasn't asking for it because she's a person who's had sex. Stop calling women who have sex sluts and whores because they do it and like it when it's consensual. 
-Know women are full human beings with the right to bodily autonomy. 
-Recognize that most rape talk centers around female victims but that there are male and LGBTQIA victims as well and that if women are afraid to step forward as victims, those groups are even more so. 
-Don't laugh at rape jokes. 
-Teach your daughter to take up more room, not less, and that if anything ever happens she should come to you because you will believe her and fight for her. Find a self defense class but at the same time try not to be so heavy on the protect yourself message even though that goes against everything we as women know. It is every individual's job to protect themselves but girls should not have to be MORE careful than boys. 
-Teach your sons not to rape. Boys will be boys does not apply here. 
-Teach all kids about enthusiastic consent - it's not just about a no. It's about a conscious, enthusiastic yes. Flirting is not consent. 
-Speak up. Rape culture grows in silence. I've been on the end of you're too sensitive/it's a fucking joke when I've spoken up about rape jokes and that feeling sucks, for sure. But not saying anything and giving something pervasive, damaging, and ugly room to grow feels even worse. 

Reductress viciously satirizing rape culture to show how fucking insane it is:

Which is what we all need to do: turn rape culture on its head and kick it in the ass on its way out the door. It's way past time. 

National Sexual Assault Hotline, accessible 24/7 via 1-800-656-HOPE or


  1. It never would have happened if....drives me bat shit crazy.

  2. I've said it before-rape is worse than murder. Lights around all to protect from the monsters. And to the rapists or potential rapists -may your weapon shrivel up and die
    Upon the mere thought of rape.
    Mother and Father God help and heal all.

  3. I just cant ever get my mind wrapped around how victims are to blame in any of this. That's gotta stop.

  4. Well said, Steph! The fact that anyone would apply "boys will be boys" to a rape situation is absurd.

  5. It enrages me that anyone would ever blame the victim.... seriously?!? And I hate the boys will be boys excuse, just stop it. That black circle couldn't be more correct... 100% of the time it is due to the rapist. End of story.

  6. Mmhm. Anyone who can dismiss rape or sympathize with a rapist or blame a victim/survivor is a certified piece of shit. The rules are simple: Keep your f*cking hands to yourself & YOU are responsible for YOUR actions (you don't get to blame it on clothes or drinks or whatever). This topic just makes me so uncontrollably angry (as I know it does for you, too).

  7. It makes me think of The Handmaid's Tale and how that society allowed women's right to be completely taken away because they were told it was for their safety. We have got to end this cycle.

  8. This. Everything. Thanks for sharing, Steph.

  9. I appreciate you reminding everyone that it happens to males. There was a boy at my high school who was raped in one of the bathrooms. Some people said it was his own fault, because a "real man" wouldn't let himself get raped.

  10. I'm reading Allison Leotta's most recent book in the Anna Curtis series, and it centers on this topic. Thanks for the reminder fon ways we can change the rape culture.

  11. Boys will be boys and this wouldn't have happened if are two phrases I find completely disgusting when it involves rape.

  12. I HATE "boys will be boys." I also hate "Well let's hope your baby is a boy, then you only have to worry about 1 dicks versus all the dicks in the world." Insert ALL THE FEMINIST RAGE.

  13. Well thought out, put together, and presented post. I think out of all the things we can do, lately, my anger has been focused on the slut-shamers. I give zero fucks how many people a person has had sex with before. Zero. Whatever decision a consenting adult makes for their sex life is their own personal decision. BUT, when that decision is made for them and an act in no longer consensual, it should be all of our business. We should always stand up for that victim.

  14. So much good info here Steph! The attempted justification and rationalization is so frustrating.

  15. Important post - especially now, more than ever, we need posts like this. We have an administration that is the antithesis of Obama/Biden, who advocated for women - their rights and their safety. Lord knows the current Boys Club isn't on our all.

  16. Rape jokes are not funny, no matter what. Just not funny at all. Stop with them, just stop.

  17. Think of the modern world as a "hierarchy of victimhood" pyramid, where you can criticize anyone below you on the pyramid; but you may NOT criticize anyone above you on the pyramid. The levels of the pyramid are:

    1. Jews

    2. Blacks/Aboriginals

    3. LGBTQ

    4. Women, especially Black, lesbian women.

    5. Muslims

    6. Latinos

    7. Asians

    8. Romani

    9. Straight White males

    Jews are ALWAYS at the top of the pyramid. The women of any level, except for Jews, have precedence over the men of the same level. Levels 4 and 5 can change depending on the day of the week. Levels 6 and 7 will sometimes alternate.

    Straight White males are almost always found at the bottom of the pyramid. Sometimes they are promoted multiple levels - but are demoted back to the bottom when the crisis is over.


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