Merril Smith’s Encycolpedia of Rape defines the term “rape culture” as “one in which rape and other sexual violence against women . . . [is] both prevalent and considered the norm” (174). Rape is not a new subject in today’s society, its origins reaching far back into history. What causes rape, though? Is it the primal drive of men to exhibit dominance over all women, or do the women share the blame because of the way they dress, act, or do their makeup? Modern American culture would place the blame on the woman who “provoked” the attack; however, a woman should not have to park closer to the building she is entering, nor should she have to carry protection just in case a sexual predator decides that she is his next victim. Men are just as much to blame for rape as women.
Rape is not uncommon in the history of the world. The Rape of Dinah in the book of Genesis is one of the first accounts in existence that talks about rape. The Rape of Lucretia was the indirect cause behind the overturning of the Roman monarchy in 510 BC, leading to the establishment of the Roman republic. Sexual violence is as much a part of human history as anything else; the only difference is that rape and its sister crimes have always been shrouded in different shades of gray.
Rape has many different faces and definitions. The term “rape” is used to define any unwanted form of forced sexual intercourse. Acquaintance rape occurs when the woman is somewhat, if not, well acquainted with her attacker. A subcategory of acquaintance rape is date rape, in which the victim is romantically linked to her attacker in some way. Another type of rape is marital rape. This is a serious concern because the husband is abusing the sanctity of the marriage, and respect for his wife. Most marital rape cases are also cases in which the woman is beaten by her husband (Smith 54-55, 122-23, 169).
Today’s society is one in which the idea of male superiority dominates, one that Edwards et al. says fosters the idea that “rape ideologies emanate from a patriarchal system” (qtd. in Franiuk). The influences on modern American culture, what it idolizes and produces, are often times truly sickening. Popular television programs and other media present depictions of women that promote a society of rape culture. The rapper Eminem, just one of the famous rap artists who has a bad reputation, refers to women in very derogatory ways. His song “Kim” was released in 2000, and is believed to have been written about his then-wife, Kim Mathers. In it, the rapper says, “Sit down bitch/If you move again I'll beat the shit out of you,” among other things, and even goes on to describe other types of violence that he wants to commit against her (Bass). When taking into consideration Eminem’s subject matter, his popularity is alarming. His music, and thousands of other songs like his, is filling the ears of impressionable youth and naïve adults, permeating their minds with horrible ideas.
The United States has over...