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The Myth Of Rape Culture In America

3185 words - 13 pages

“Rape is as American as apple pie,” says blogger Jessica Valenti. She and other feminists describe our society as a “rape culture” where violence against women is almost invisible. According to feminists, films, magazines, fashion, books, music, and humor cooperate in conveying the message that women are there to be used, abused and exploited.(Kitchens, 2015)

Rape culture, which was coined as a culture during the second wave of feminism during the early 1970’s and was, according to the encyclopedia of rape, “often used by feminists to describe contemporary American culture as a whole.” Rape culture, by definition though, is “a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women and gender diverse peoples ) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence” (qtd. in University Of Michigan Women’s Center). At its earliest beginnings, rape culture was an epidemic without a name. However, today, in 21st century America, one must wonder, why is this even still an issue? Furthermore, one must deliberately consider just why rape culture only applies to women as victims of sexual violence instead of people of sexual violence. Men, for example, are not regarded as victims, ever. Apparently, men cannot be sexually assaulted. Rape culture allows for “gender diverse peoples” but they’re certainly not talking about men. Unless of course, those men just happen to dress as women and are raped because they are mistaken for women. But you see, therein another can of worms is opened, because it specifically relates to women and people who look like women. Sounds a bit ridiculous to me. I can’t remember a time when rape was ever a parlor joke in America.

My obsession with rape culture started when I shared a self-defense tip-sheet on a social media platform one day. My inbox was instantly filled with hate-mail from feminists who were literally calling me every single name in the book while trying to inform me that I was a sexist. Mind you, all I had done was posted a list of things that women could do to protect themselves from being raped. Knowledge is power, I thought. Apparently, the tip-sheet that I shared was originally written by James Fenske, and he was concerned with the uprising of rape. Not as a sexual and sexist victimizing crime, but as a criminal act of violence. As he took it, with any other act of violence, rape was something to be defended against. So, he continued on, writing about things that women could do to protect themselves and gave little insights about the psychology of a rapist. The tip-sheet included when rapists attack, who they attack, and why they attack. By knowing all of these things, women are better prepared. Does this mean that women are helpless treasures that require constant male supervision? Absolutely not! Does this mean that it’s not a logically smart idea for a woman to walk around aimlessly or by herself in a place...

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