When you hear the term “rape culture,” what do you think of?

I think that rape culture is not just about rape; it’s also about the people involved, feminism and power. I feel like the term rape culture is an assumption that sexual violence is just a part of life. You hear about rape like its just another everyday thing. That word gets tossed around a lot; we have normalized the word rape. People say things like “That ATM raped me of a huge fee” or “The IRS raped me on my taxes.” Rape culture is rape jokes, rape on TV, movies, books and using the word rape to describe something that was done to you other than a forced sexual act. Rape culture is an influence that encourages male sexual violence and violence against women.

Many times people will say rape was asked for or wanted by the way a woman dressed or behaved. In movies and TV shows, girls who are raped are wearing minimal clothing or have been intoxicated, and the men said they were asking for it. But in the real world, girls are raped even though they are dressed modest and are sober. These movies and TV shows have influenced the real world so that if a girl gets raped, she asked for it and it was her fault. I read an article about a girl who was raped on the way to the store wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt, and the first thing they asked her was, “What were you wearing?” This is an example that men think they have a right to rape someone, and it is still the girl’s fault.

The way that feminists fit in is that the phrase “boys will be boys” seems to be believed way more than it should be. This phrase is saying that it’s OK for men to rape women and that anything men do should be pardoned. When at the beach men can take their shirt off and not be called a slut, but if a girl wears a crop top to the beach, she is labeled a slut. If a man is in sweatpants and a T-shirt and goes to the store, he is not given a second look, but a girl would wear the same thing and get called trash. This all comes back to rape culture.

Rape culture is everywhere and is being influenced every day. This is affecting young men to be less gentlemanly and men to also feel like they have all the power. Rape culture is a term that will probably never stop existing.

Hannah White