Rape Culture

According to statistics, 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, and 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger, and 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.[1] This is a topic that should never be joked about.

Though, rape, in one way or another, has often been the punchline of a joke. Most people find these jokes to be funny and don’t realize that rape is a serious topic that shouldn’t be joked about.

“Yeah, I’ve heard someone joke about rape, and I ended up getting really angry at the person,” Max Walsh, Pentucket Junior, said.

Throughout the halls of Pentucket I’ve heard many rape jokes. People find these jokes funny and never give a second thought about the content of the joke.

“I’ve heard rape jokes, but I’ve never told them because that would be horrible.” Emily Miles, Pentucket Senior, said.

“I’ve heard and told them, but now, looking back, I realize that it’s offensive. It’s not something to joke about.” Jon Hayes, Pentucket Senior, said.

Jess Castine, Pentucket Junior, said that she feels offended and invalidated when she hears rape jokes.

On Twitter the hashtag ‘rapecultureiswhen’ has been bringing in many tweets on what people see in their daily lives that would be considered rape culture. Rape Culture is an environment in which rape and sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.[2]  Many people brought up that rape victims are blamed because of the clothes they wear. Victims are usually blamed for their rape if they were wearing dresses, short skirts, or shorts. People say that the victims were “asking for it” when they went out with certain outfits. Since they dress like a “whore” or “slut”, then they must be asking to be raped.

“I think promoting slut shaming is making rape culture worse.” Miles said.

People on twitter agree with Miles’ opinion pointing out the fact that in their four years of high school most of it was spent enforcing dress codes for girls and none of it was spent teaching that ‘no meant no,’ not ‘convince me.’

The tweets also point out numerous alcohol advertisements that indorse rape. Belvedere Vodka has an advertisement that shows a man pulling a woman down onto his lap, who looked like she is trying to get away, and the caption reads “Unlike some people Belvedere always goes down smoothly.”

Alex Day, a popular Youtuber, was recently accused of sexually assaulting his past girlfriends. At first he denied it, but then more of his past girlfriends came forward. That’s when he decided to confess. He stated that “I thought the other person wanted it, and I trusted my own read of the situation (“they agreed to stay over/they said they wanted it earlier/etc”) rather than paying attention to what the other person was doing and saying in that moment. That’s where I massively [messed] up.” [3]

Even though no means no, thinking someone wants it when they really don’t is rape.

Still, many of his fans are defending him saying things like “Alex is too cute for that,” or “Those girls are probably lying, they just want to ruin Alex’s life.”

Thinking someone is too cute to commit rape, or that his victims are ruining his life is rape culture.

Blaming the victims and not the rapist is rape culture.

One of the Steubenville, Ohio rapists being released after a year, and the others being protected because they are on the local football team is rape culture.

The Du Point heir getting probation for raping his 3-year old daughter because he wouldn’t “fare-well” in jail is rape culture.

Castine thinks that rape culture will be hard to get rid of and admits that, “We might not be able to get rid of it. People think rape victims are an easy target to pick on. Most people rape to be dominant, and that’s what people feel when they invalidate rape victims.”    

[1] https://www.rainn.org/statistics

[2] http://www.marshall.edu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/

[3] http://that-alexday.tumblr.com/post/79505198461/on-consent