Rape Culture

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Rape Culture

Post by HollyShort9 » Fri 14th Jun 2013

Warning: This topic will contain references to sexual assault and rape. It will be kept as appropriate as it can be to the best of my ability, and I ask everyone else tries to do the same with their posts. But there are some people who are very sensitive to this kind of topic, and if you're one of those people, you may want to click away now, or continue with caution. It may be triggering for people who have been in similar situations.
(^figured it a good idea :) )

There's a debate about women's rights here, but I think rape culture extends past women's rights. Women are, in bulk, the larger target, but men are raped as well, by women or by other men, and so it isn't fair to confine this as a "women's rights" discussion. I couldn't find any other debates about rape when I searched, so if I missed one, apologies!

If you don't know what rape culture is--I had to look it up not too long ago, after I kept hearing the term but didn't know what it was--here's a brief explanation. "Rape culture is a concept which links rape and sexual violence to the culture of a society, and in which prevalent attitudes and practices normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape." (taken from Wikipedia)

Here are some examples: "Boys will be boys." "Are you sure it was rape?" "Well, she was wearing skimpy clothes..." "*commenting on a really good song* I raped the replay button!"

What are your thoughts and opinions on rape culture? Post any of them here and we'll put them to debate.

I personally think that in 99.9% of cases, the victim--male or female--is not to be blamed, and is not at fault. Regardless of the victim's actions--be it walking along a dark alleyway at night or wearing skimpy clothes in public--the rapist/sexual assaulter should have had enough self control and enough of a moral compass to know not to violate the victim's rights. There are a few cases, however, which are exceptions. For example, one of my mom's friends got drunk at a bar. She went to a hotel with a guy, she was flirting heavily with him and placing her hands below his belt. She went in the hotel room, she took a shower with him (she did not have a bathing suit on, nothing at all), and then got in bed with him, still without clothes. As the sex was happening, she said "no" once.

She proceeded to take him to court and accuse him of rape. (He was declared not guilty.)

Um, what? What did you think was going to happen when you--you admitted it yourself, you knew exactly where you were and what was happening, you were not so drunk that you had lost all bearings and he took advantage of that fact--even stepped foot inside the hotel with him?


Most cases, however, are not like this. Which is the sad fact.

How do you think rape culture plays into our every day lives? Let's face it, almost all of us somehow endorse rape culture throughout the day, though we don't really know how or even do it consciously.

And how do you think it subconsciously affects girls? How do you think it subconsciously affects guys?

I realized today that if I walk by a group of teenage boys or young men, I tense up a little bit and am prone to discreetly pull down my shorts so they cover more of my thighs, or make sure that my shirt is all the way down and not showing any belly. I also, when getting out of a friend's car--even in broad daylight, but especially at night--have my keys out and ready before I even unlock the door. I get really paranoid at night and keep a keen eye for anything suspicious and any suspicious activity. I don't open the door for male strangers that aren't the mailman or an employee for Orkin whenever I'm home alone, or only home with another girl my age or slightly older.

Now, I couldn't think of any reasons why I had these subconscious habits. I had never had a traumatic experience with a guy or an attacker. I don't have abnormal anxiety, either. No one that I know personally, not through a story or a TV show, has ever gone through a sexual assault of any kind. Then I wondered, is it a possibility that it's the result of living in a culture where people make jokes about rape, people (especially women, but not only women) are objectified into sexual objects, and girls witness time and time again, "Oh, she was wearing skimpy clothes--she asked for it." "Was it really rape? Are you sure?" "Did you say no, or were you just quiet?"


What are your thoughts, on what I've posted, and your own thoughts on rape culture? Share them here :D
(I don't think this will end up primarily a debate on moral rights and wrongs... there's probably going to be more of a discussion and trading of opinions, the debate will be mostly on what constitutes as rape culture and other theories based off of rape culture. But in my opinion that still is something eligible to be posted here ^^)
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Re: Rape Culture

Post by /b/ » Fri 14th Jun 2013

Yeah, I don't think there will be many pro-rape activists on this forum really, so it'll hardly be a debate, but it's a worthy discussion topic.

There ARE a couple of things to consider. Culture is the predominant one. For example in Serbia (where I am from) there are rarely ever cases of rape, and it is frowned upon by society by and large. Also, petty crime in Belgrade (capitol, again, where I'm from) is the lowest one in all European countries. My female friends return from nights out in town on foot through whatever part of Belgrade at 3 AM with close to zero fear, and even closer to zero chance of anything actually going wrong.
SO, in Serbia rape is rare, and there aren't many jokes about it, roofies are forbidden and not found in pharmacies, and generally not in use. There's a certain Serbian Pride if you'd call it, that a guy would never do such a thing, because that would mean he couldn't do it the right way.
It still happens, but it's hardly often.

However India is another matter altogether. There it's culturally accepted between youth that rape is something that happens and is done. There are protests now against it, but it's disturbing how often that is!

So Culture is apparently a big deal. However, I am torn on whether the terms like "raped the replay button" make it less of a big deal. You say "man, you killed it there" or such, that doesn't make killing any less problematic, no one could mistake one for a joke because of such an expression, but that is a different subject altogether.

I am curious at how exactly is rape excused in your countries, because it is literally unimaginable for me that you could say "boys will be boys" and dismiss it.

However the most interesting part of your post for me was the last one, about your own reaction. For example, I (even though I live in a safe environment) still am careful at night, don't talk to strangers, avoid passing groups or going through dark alleys and whatnot, but still to an almost rational extent. That is extremely paranoid for my society, and for example in villages you only lock the doors during the night, if at all. My grandparents as children (beginning of XX century) lived in apartments that you didn't even have to lock, that's how people were self-assured that no harm can come to them.

But with cultural deviation comes the moral one, crime is on the rise, and people get paranoid. I've asked my sister, and she's not afraid to come home through dark streets around to the house at midnight, and she's 14, so she's somewhat able to relate to your age and gender more.

How do you live in such a scary environment? How do you not try to fight back and liberate yourself from the fear by, I don't know, taking self-defense lessons, or carrying pepper-spray or something, but just to be able to live comfortably, knowing that you can go where you want to, without fear.

To be honest, that's why I prefer living in the countryside, there's a certain peacefulness of life that you just have to admit beats the convenience of having a Starbucks and NewYorker around the corner :D
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Re: Rape Culture

Post by HollyShort9 » Fri 14th Jun 2013

You bring up good points about culture--I hadn't yet thought about those, although I guess now it seems rather obvious that culture would, to some extent, have to do with many differences.

Well, here in America--at least the part I live in, from what I've gathered from experiences I've had--typically girls are expected to be a bit more mature, a bit more put together, while if guys are idiots they're "just guys."

This, however, brings in more discrimination towards men. If a girl here stalked a guy in a mall because he was cute and he complained, he'd probably get called a wussy and the girl wouldn't even be told to leave him alone. But if a girl was followed by a guy, he'd probably get arrested if he was over 18, and warned if he was under 18. I feel bad for the guy that gets stalked by a girl with malicious intent.

There's a lot of discrimination against rape victims here. It's really hard for some women to be taken seriously about their rapes (and near impossible for men who are raped). If you're a stripper? Strike one--you're a stripper, you were asking for it. You're sexually active? Strike two, you just can't keep your legs together and you want to get this guy in trouble. You knew the guy that raped you? Strike three, it's only rape if he's a stranger. You literally almost have to be a perfect victim with nothing incriminating whatsoever for it to be taken seriously. If you're mentally ill and you get raped, you're basically screwed, they'll tell you you imagined it. (There's a very compelling article about this being signal boosted on Tumblr. Reading some of the comments also made me very sad. It can be found here if you're interested in reading it: Why My Sister's Rape Was Illegitimate.)

/b/ wrote: However the most interesting part of your post for me was the last one, about your own reaction. For example, I (even though I live in a safe environment) still am careful at night, don't talk to strangers, avoid passing groups or going through dark alleys and whatnot, but still to an almost rational extent. That is extremely paranoid for my society, and for example in villages you only lock the doors during the night, if at all. My grandparents as children (beginning of XX century) lived in apartments that you didn't even have to lock, that's how people were self-assured that no harm can come to them.
Well, no matter where you are, it's common sense to be careful at night--as you said, to a rational extent. Crimes happen and they happen everywhere, and someone has to be the victim of that crime, the 0.1% in that low crime rate--you don't want it to be you if you can at all prevent it.

I never really noticed the fear until I started looking into rape culture, because it was mostly subconscious, but I can think of several examples to give you. The other day, my mom and foreign exchange sister and I were out shopping, and we passed by two guys that were being idiots. I tensed up and watched them closely and didn't relax until we passed them, because I didn't know them and they seemed to not be the most educated, nor most moral, of boys. I didn't know why I felt tense--but then looking into rape culture and assault rates in America yesterday before making this topic, I realized it's probably a subconscious fear.

There's also the time that my friend and I, who's 15, went to the mall. Her grandma dropped us off, and we waited in the food court until her dad called her to tell us that he was there. Exiting the building, there were three boys around the age of 15-16, and I looked at her and just went "...I don't want to go outside, we have to pass them and it's getting dark."

She asked her dad to pull up right in front of the building so he could clearly see us and was nearby, and as we were leaving, one of the boys yells "HEY! HOW'RE YOU?" (We didn't know any of them.) I swear my heart about burst, and my friend grabbed my arm and pulled me faster and hissed "Just keep walking." Neither of us really knew why we were so paranoid, at the time.

I think this is probably the result of knowing that these are the assault rates in America:

44% of victims are under 18. Every 2 minutes in the USA, someone is sexually assaulted. Each year, there are about 207,754 victims in the USA of sexual assault. 54% of sexual assaults are never reported to the police, 97% of rapists won't even spend a day in jail. 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance of the victim, as are two thirds of sexual assailants. 1 in 4 girls in America will experience some kind of experience with sexual assault by the time they're 18.

It isn't really something that's often discussed, but you can bet that subconsciously we're terrified of it. We don't even realize until someone points it out.

/b/ wrote: How do you live in such a scary environment? How do you not try to fight back and liberate yourself from the fear by, I don't know, taking self-defense lessons, or carrying pepper-spray or something, but just to be able to live comfortably, knowing that you can go where you want to, without fear.
Like I said, it's subconscious. Women do carry means of protection, for example, my mom has a permit to carry a shotgun and she takes it everywhere with her, concealed under her clothing. Even if we carry pepper spray, it only gives us a small advantage--a 14 year old girl my size couldn't fight off a boy her age and size generally (there are exceptions, that's just the majority), simply because of the bigger muscle density in males. So we may do so, but we'll still feel paranoid.

I always keep my keys out if I'm walking somewhere in the dark, even a short distance like from the car to the front door, because not only can I get inside quicker, I can also use them as a weapon if someone tries to grab me or hurt me. I also, if I know that I'm soon going to be walking somewhere alone in the dark (like if I'm going on a walk at night with my mom, or know that with my dance schedule that day it'll be dark by the time I get home), I put my hair up in a tight, flat to my head way to make it harder to grab than if it were down, in a loose bun, in a ponytail, etc. because my female friends post a lot of Facebook posts about good ways to give an assailant less of an advantage.

Like I said, I don't really know why we allow ourselves to be so paranoid--I think we don't really realize it until someone points it out (as I've said before, several times by now probably haha). But it's a fact that we live in a culture that frequently jokes about rape (I've heard a guy say "Hey, I got a new cologne! It's called chloroform", and "You don't want sex? Challenge accepted"), in which rape victims have to be a perfect victim and the rapist better have next to no alibi, otherwise he's probably not going to spend even 12 hours in jail. It's just engrained in our brains, to an extent we don't even realize or think about we're living in fear.

That's just my theory, though. Maybe some other American girls feel no fear at all. :)

Also, I live in a very safe neighborhood. It has a very low crime rate, but a woman down the street was upstairs in her house cleaning in broad daylight, walked downstairs, and there was a robber on her first floor. He came right in during broad daylight while her car was in the driveway. Another girl in an apartment complex, about 19 years old, woke up in the middle of the night to find a guy on top of her--but she managed to make such a big ruckus that he ran off. Doesn't make it any less scary that they found a knife outside her window the next morning, though.

Basically, it's a lot bigger of a problem than most of us consciously realize. And you're really stupid if you don't lock your door during the daytime here. XD
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Re: Rape Culture

Post by /b/ » Sat 15th Jun 2013

It's similar to what I said in the "gun control" thread:
You are not aware of how many problems things that you are used to cause.
Perhaps this video might help understand the cultural difference:

This guy is an American than came to Serbia for a short time at first, and then for a longer time again. He's talking about how safe Serbia is. And you hear from him: "I feel safer here then I would in a US city of the same size".

He points out the cultural difference that shocked him, what he thought about Serbia and what is really true, which is off-topic a bit, but he also shows how the difference between USA and Serbia is deeply culturally rooted. People here will greet you with hospitality even though you are a stranger, and I think it is mainly because when we see a person we don't automatically suspect with like 50% accuracy, that he's here to commit a crime. No, the culture here is that people usually don't do that kind of things. Sure there might be rude folks, some might even say something to a girl, but in all my life I've heard of one, maybe two attempts of rape, and both of them didn't go through, it was just threatening. I don't approve of that of course, but at least it's not worse than that right?

The gender difference is ENORMOUS when it comes to sex. I've seen a picture of a perhaps 5-7 year old kid and a stripper or something like that kissing him. The text below was "If that was a girl, and the older one was a guy, no one would congratulate".
But then again, it makes sense genetically. A man must attempt to make as much offspring as he can, ergo he has a mechanism to try to hook up with as many girls as possible. The girls have the so called "screening" mechanism which helps them pick one of the suitors which is the most likely to have high quality offspring, so it is the job of the girl to refuse, and the job of the guy to try. It is the job of society to make sure that a guy can't try forcefully, so that things are kept civil, because we're not animals.

As I said, jokes don't numb things down, I've read quite a few chloroform jokes and one that you didn't mention "I've had a night I'll never forget, and a night she'll never remember" which is easily the worst of the ones in the bunch. However, like jokes about Hitler, minorities, or other things, there's no REAL harm in them I think. If your culture is anti-rape, jokes will be jokes, nothing will change. I don't take Hitler as less of a monster just because I know dozens of jokes about him and the holocaust.

Law is important, but culture is even more so, and from your posts I can see that America doesn't have enough of each to support anti-rape, at least where you're from. The thing is that here (perhaps two months ago) a following thing happened: a man managed to avoid prosecution for rape and murder because he had connections and bribes in the justice department. It is a small place in the south of Serbia, and such things are possible.
There was a lynch. For those not informed, that is when an angry mob does some justice of their own. he was beaten then buried alive next to the grave of his victim. Now, ruthless as that is, if you know such things happen, and that the people are ready to do such things, it's quite clear that you'd think a few times before trying anything, if you're not already part of the people ready to lynch someone for rape and evasion of justice.

So that's what I'm saying, it's in the minds of the people, and word of the law (which can influence in the long run the minds of the people), to what extent is crime present in a society. Serbia never had slaves, colonies or such, and our law from medieval times was the most advanced one in the world, as it also included punishing the ruler when no such law was present. Rape was punishable by death, even for a nobleman (if I recall correctly). So culture goes a long way. America had a period, not too long ago, when you could own people and have NO responsibility for what happened to them. You still have the right to carry arms like it's nothing. Generally, I have known and still know what you could call the most decadent part of Belgrade crowd, people who do all kind of deviancy, drug abuse and much more, but they don't come close to what I've heard from some of my American friends. So let me tell you, your "safe" neighborhoods aren't that safe at all compared to living in Europe :P

I know only one person in all my life who carries any self defense, and it's a pepper spray, and it's the girl who had the rape-attempt experience. I don't know ANYONE who owns a gun, especially a shotgun, except one old war veteran in my building.

The Rape Culture is just a product of your real culture. We have no TV shows like Jersey Shore, and soap operas which are popular here don't take rape lightly :P
We are brought up on stories about hardships and staying strong through those hardships. Even though we are Orthodox Christians, and strong ones as a nation, there can be some violence, but it'll be a guy hitting a guy, rarely mixed-gender.

It is bigger than you think, it's a huge impact. You people are terrorized by your own culture, media and fellow people. I'm not sure how I would live in such a country, after living here. Girls shouldn't have to go through such fear-inducing events.
Well, what can I say, move to Serbia and leave your shotgun at the border :D :D
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Re: Rape Culture

Post by HollyShort9 » Sun 16th Jun 2013

I do agree with everything you said about the differences in our cultures, and I do wish that America was as safe as a place as Serbia is, from the things you've told me... in fact, I wish that everywhere was that safe. There are too many places in the world where some group of people, be it an age group, a gender group, people of a certain race, a religious group, etc., has to walk in fear.

The only reason you should have to walk in fear is if you've done something terribly, awfully wrong morally, and you're afraid of being lynched. XD
/b/ wrote:The Rape Culture is just a product of your real culture. We have no TV shows like Jersey Shore, and soap operas which are popular here don't take rape lightly :P
We are brought up on stories about hardships and staying strong through those hardships. Even though we are Orthodox Christians, and strong ones as a nation, there can be some violence, but it'll be a guy hitting a guy, rarely mixed-gender.
The sad thing is that most people I've met here, especially the teenagers and the young adults, will look at stories of hardships, shows that cover them, pictures that are reminiscent of them, and go, "Wow, that really, really moves me. I'm going to be the best person ever and do all the right things and help other people as much as I can and really try to make a difference!" Then... they eventually just forget about that. (Usually only takes a few days. A week, maybe.)

I'm happy that somewhere in the world, people don't forget those stories the day after they hear them. XD
/b/ wrote:It is bigger than you think, it's a huge impact. You people are terrorized by your own culture, media and fellow people.
More or less. XD It's terribly sad, when you think about it.



I've been trying to find more sites that have information about rape culture and what it does psychologically, in different groups and situations and better ways to confront it, but alas, it seems to be a topic where we're only at the tip of the iceberg. :\
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Re: Rape Culture

Post by Solinium Pulse » Thu 25th Jul 2013

Hello everyone, I've been researching all kinds of things that just p*** me off.

So if I get a little carried away, it was the outrage talking.

Here I go...

WHO THE F*** SAID "Boys will be boys."?!?!

That is NOT a justification for any sexual assault. And I mean ANY.

America's media has Desensitized many young people, and I just go through such rages when someone at school makes a rape "joke".

Jokes are supposed to funny. Not about traumatic, terrorizing, and brutal things.

It's all about mainstream. You want people to like you, so you conform your views of the world and opinion to suit the "popular" crowd.

It's funny how people react to rape jokes. If they ever got raped, would they still be laughing?

I think, the answer is 'NO'.

Culturally speaking, it has been accepted as a crime that happens, and it surprises me that capital punishment hasn't been put in place for crimes like this.

I apologize, but I bet you that THAT would at least make the rapist THINK before he ACTS.

EDUCATION. We need to EDUCATE people. This is very wrong, and totally unacceptable.

Okay, I'm not even sure if I made sense in any of that, I'm just so angry. I'm sorry.
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Re: Rape Culture

Post by nebula » Thu 19th Jun 2014

Solinium Pulse wrote: WHO THE F*** SAID "Boys will be boys."?!?!

That is NOT a justification for any sexual assault. And I mean ANY.

America's media has Desensitized many young people, and I just go through such rages when someone at school makes a rape "joke".

Jokes are supposed to funny. Not about traumatic, terrorizing, and brutal things.
Things that people (especially boys at my school) say that condone rape culture like rape jokes infuriate me. I can't see how anyone can see rape as "not a big deal", or even funny. It's a sick thing that worms its way into the minds of guys at a young age (like saying "boys will be boys" when a boy does something annoying or even cruel). It teaches them they will be forgiven if they do something bad, even to the extent of committing a crime, against a woman. (Of course, not all men are like this! For the sake of debate, I'm going to generalize a little here.) With things like dress codes in schools that tell girls their skirts can't be too short because it will be a "distraction to our male students" teach girls to hide their bodies, while boys are taught that if they do something to a girl, it's not their fault. That brings about the infamous double standard: why not just blindfold men in places where there will be women? Even if a woman IS dressed modestly, she could still be in danger. Girls can take all kinds of precautions to avoid being raped (ones that they shouldn't even have to take!) and still have it happen to them. People who are not women can have this happen to this as well, mainly because people think that women are the ones who need to watch out for this kind of thing. After all this, it makes me want to strangle people who make rape jokes and think it's funny.
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