An Ananlysis Of Rape Culture In America From 1960 To Present

1830 words - 8 pages

Due to advances made by the American mass media, the way Americans react to and interact with rape culture has changed dramatically changed from 1960 to the present. News coverage of major rape trials, movies and books involving rape have caused the American people to change their perspectives and reshape the way trials are carried out and the way female rape victims are viewed and treated during and after trials. During the 1960’s, due to societal and religious conventions, a victim’s history, chastity, and moral character were brought to light to serve as attestation against the claimant. After the feminist movement took off in the 1970’s, laws regarding this topic began to change drastically and hard facts and witnesses began being used to determine outcomes of cases. Although news stations, movies, and novels can further new ideas and offer the American people an insight into rape law and culture reform, they often set some of the forward progress back by promoting “traditional” views of rape, rape culture, and rape myths, in which the victim is made into a provocateur. In order to prevent this heinous crime from occuring, or at least reduce the ever increasing number of incidents, Americans must take it upon themselves to become educated upon the topic of rape. This means that they must collectively decide to see only the facts presented in a case, tell the difference between truth and rape myths perpetuated by society, and understand the long term and short term effects experienced by victims before, during, and after the trial, regardless of the situation.
Much of the research already done upon the topic of rape focuses only on the experience of the female rape victim and touches only very briefly upon the male perspective, if at all. The bulk of the research focuses upon the harmful presence of rape myths in today’s society and the mediums through which they are spread in today’s world and suggests that the ever increasing number of rapes in the United States over the past fifty years or so stems from women entering a previously male dominated world; the number of reported rapes increased from 78,000 in 1983 to 102,600 in 1990 (Cuklanz 15). This includes women entering the military and being allowed in combat, taking management positions, the increasing number of female college students, and the ever growing number of women taking public service jobs. Research also provides explanations for their existence by offering background information such as history and societal conventions that led rape myths to become as widely accepted as they are today. A substantial part of the research also provides statistics regarding rape with reference to the way victims are treated during and after trials; this includes the brutality rape survivors are forced to go through when having to relive their experiences while speaking in court. Many members of the general public believe rape myths and legends to be true because of a lack of education upon the...

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