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Is rape culture real?

(122 Posts)
JimBean Tue 12-May-15 07:52:05


I wanted to ask some experienced feminists about the concept of "rape culture". I hear the phrase alot these days mainly through social media, and it constantly annoys me because from my perspective it's not real.

It doesn't seem real to me because all the aspects that supposedly create rape culture, are things ive never heard of happening.

For example, alot of people mention victim shaming, things like "she was asking for it" or "well she shouldn't have been dressed like that". Iv'e just personally never heard anyone blame the victim, ever in my life.

Also often i hear the sentence "we need to stop teaching women to protect themselves and start teaching men that rape is not okay". This one in particular irritates me, because well.. i'm male, and i (as well as every other male ive ever met) was taught to think of rape as being about as okay as murder. Like, they say we aren't tought that, and we need to teach young men that it's not okay, but... we do? young men, all young men know it's not okay...? don't they? Perhaps i'm just sheltered, or surrounded by great people who treat rape as the horrific crime it is.

The people posting about it seem to be acting like the majority of people (or at least a large enough portion to make a noticeable social impact on rape victims) treat rape like it's not a big deal, which just doesn't seem right to me. I strive to keep an open mind, and it occurred to me that if so many articles are written about it that perhaps there is something i'm missing.

Thanks, looking forward to some insight smile

QuietNinjaTardis Tue 12-May-15 08:01:00

I've had a conversation where a woman tried to say that more women cry rape than are actually rape. During the conversation which also involved two men they said that there are some cases where the woman was partly to blame because she had been drinking.
Do you mean that sort of thing?

madcapped Tue 12-May-15 08:08:03

Look at the victim of the rapist Ched Evans. She's had to change her name several times. Her parents have been harassed. She was blamed for what happened. That's rape culture right there.

poorbuthappy Tue 12-May-15 08:08:06

Local to me over the weekend a woman was raped in an underpass.
It was reported in the paper and the police appealed for witnesses.
Over 50% of the comments online stated that she shouldn't have been walking on her own at 2.30am and it was her fault.
It wasn't the rapist's fault for raping her it was her fault for daring to be a woman and walk around a city at 2.30 in the morning.
Will that do?

purplemurple1 Tue 12-May-15 08:08:31

Also how are you thinking of rape - a stranger down a dark ally overpowering a lady he has never met before. I agree i dont know anyone who thinks that is ok. But rape can also be having sex with a lady youve got off with on a night out but is now too drunk to consent, guilt tripping of pressiring your gf or wife into sex when she doesnt want to. I think it is the normalisation of these types pf rape that are refered to by the term rape culture.

tabulahrasa Tue 12-May-15 08:14:13

You don't read newspapers then? It's not just random people victim blaming, it happens in the legal system.

While lots of young men clearly think rape is wrong, turns out that if you remove the word rape...they're suddenly ok with admitting they do it.

YonicScrewdriver Tue 12-May-15 08:30:31

First of all, thanks for explaining your view in the OP.

When people talk about targeting men, they mean that it makes sense to target the group from which the perpetrators come. This is no different in philosophy to increasing the number of drink drive ads around Christmas, or putting up posters about drink driving in pubs but not in care homes, say.

YonicScrewdriver Tue 12-May-15 08:31:56

See the "don't be that guy" campaign

YonicScrewdriver Tue 12-May-15 08:38:48

I don't drink drive and I fully accept sustained government campaigns on drink driving have helped change the perception of my generation vs my dad's (remembers "hilarious" stories from an uncle about bouncing round a car park pissed in a car, hitting all the signs).

They don't annoy me because they appear in pubs where I drink (coke!) or on TV programmes I watch because I accept I am in a demographic that needs targeting even if I don't, that although all the people I personally know in my demographic condemn drink driving (at least publically), that doesn't mean everyone does.

Does that make sense?

YonicScrewdriver Tue 12-May-15 08:43:41

Remember Steubenville? The condemnation of the victim and the pity for the young men whose lives would be ruined? As I understand it from other articles, that wasn't a unique situation for "frat parties" either.

George Galloway (and many others) considering Assange to have acted with "bad sexual etiquette" by apparently having sex with a sleeping woman? Here's a clue George - if she's asleep, she can't consent, and what's sex without consent again...?

I could go on but hopefully this helps.

CaptainHolt Tue 12-May-15 08:45:49

There have been numerous high profile campaigns from agencies such as the police and TFL that firmly put the responsibility onto the victim.

Nick Ross famously had a rant not all that long ago about vaginas being like laptops. Let someone know what you've got and you can't be surprised that they'll take it. Of course, women can't slip their vaginas under the passenger seat so they ought to just stay home instead.

There is a strong 'ruined lives' narrative around rape reporting. Not the women, having their live ruined, of course, but the poor man, who can't even have sex with a 15yo without being called out on it. Rape is the only crime where the reporting of it is viewed in some quarters to be more violent that the act.

There is a lot of 'rape joke' apparel etc available.

Women are viewed as public property in a way that men aren't. Men don't tell other men on the street to smile, then get aggressive when they don't. It's part of the spectrum of men being people and women being objects. It's insidious.

PausingFlatly Tue 12-May-15 08:52:52

tabularasa thanks for those links. I'd never seen that yesmeansyes blog before: quality stuff.

YonicScrewdriver Tue 12-May-15 09:00:03

If you thought of "rape culture" as a culture where some men thought exercising their physical power to put women into unpleasant sexual situations was just dandy, rather than purely thinking about whether the people you know are sure rape is wrong, would that help?

So the UniLad, "let's go out and smash some pissed fresher girls" type post? That's contributing to rape culture. Facebook being quicker to remove pictures of Breastfeeding than pictures of domestic violence with "witty" captions about blow jobs? That's contributing to rape culture.

YonicScrewdriver Tue 12-May-15 09:04:23

Twitter rape threats against Mary beard (academic), Caroline Criado Perez (campaigner to put Jane Austen on bank notes), Jessica Ennis-Hill (who spoke out against Ched Evans returning to football)?

Rape culture.

TheBlackRider Tue 12-May-15 09:07:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheBlackRider Tue 12-May-15 09:08:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

avocadotoast Tue 12-May-15 09:13:01

Just because you haven't experienced something yourself doesn't mean it isn't happening. I don't know anyone who's been through FGM, say, but I know that it is a thing that happens.

There have been a lot of sexual attacks/attempted attacks recently where I live. Horrific attacks (one a rape and attempted murder). These attacks are happening in broad daylight in some cases and women are still being told "stay safe, stay in groups, don't be silly and walk alone". This is rape culture. I shouldn't have to plan my life around not doing things alone.

BuffyNeverBreaks Tue 12-May-15 09:17:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fattymcfatfat Tue 12-May-15 09:23:59

I was 11 years old. for 2 years I was raped and abused by a 14 yo and he would brag to his friends. I didn't report it as the one time I tried to tell an adult, a nun, I was accused of being a liar and a drama queen. I spent years petrified for my life as this thug thought nothing of holding a knife to my throat. I tried afterwards (once he had decided I was no longer any use to him) to confide in a friend and she decided that I was just a slag and told basically the entire school that I had "slept around" I was blamed for being the victim of abuse. I have attempted suicide and suffered from anger issues. I still sometimes cry myself to sleep at night, ten years after it was "over" the reality is it will never be over as that will be with me for life. the shame I felt, the hurt, the fear. that's never going to go away. all because no one believed me. because of this rape culture we live in, a little girl being abused and hurt in such a way wasn't listened to when she spoke out. there is your rape culture and the effects it has.

YonicScrewdriver Tue 12-May-15 09:25:25

So sorry fattymcfatfat flowers

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 12-May-15 09:28:39

While you continually see posters on a parenting site fretting that their sons lives will be ruined by women 'crying rape' rather than fretting about how to teach their sons healthy consent, then I am going to extrapolate that no, not all young men know rape isn't okay.

I'm sure they all believe that 'rape-rape' isn't OK, but I'm not sure they all believe that women can change their mind after giving consent, that no means no, etc etc.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 12-May-15 09:29:11

fatty flowers

Etonian22 Tue 12-May-15 09:34:55

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

FeijoaSundae Tue 12-May-15 09:38:17

Jim, if you go into the comments section on FB of any periodical reporting a rape or sexual assault, even the left-wing Guardian, it will be riddled with the 'she was asking for it', 'well, what did she expect?' type comments. I am more than surprised that you have never seen or encountered them.

The reason we need to focus more on telling men not to rape, is even though you personally don't (knowingly) know any rapists, plenty of men do rape women. It happens all the time. Not always in dark alleys. Disappointingly, it's often by men women know and trust. It happens all the time.

So by avoiding telling men not to rape, the problem continues unabated.

The drink driving analogy is the best one. We used to think it was fine, but continued campaigns telling us, actually, it's not OK because it kills and maims people and destroys lives, it's become virtually unacceptable.

Good on you for trying to educate yourself. smile

tabulahrasa Tue 12-May-15 09:40:46

And there you go, someone who thinks it's fun to post a trolly post about rape in a thread where someone has bared their soul about their rape experience...

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