Rape is both a social and political problem in America. Sexual assault is an issue in our everyday lives. It plays a role in our criminal justice system, our education, our work fields, our military and even our prisons. We need to end the normalization of male sexual violence. We must take rape more seriously.
Rape Culture is the normalization of male sexual violence and the victim blaming of women. Though rape culture is a social structure, it plays a large role in the Justice System. Out of every one thousand rapes, nine hundred and ninety-four perpetrators will walk free (RAINN). Three hundred and forty-four are reported to police, sixty-three of those reports lead to arrest. Thirteen cases get referred to prosecutors. Seven cases will lead to a felony conviction, six rapists will be incarcerated (RAINN). According to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network; ninety-seven percent of rapists will never spend a single day in jail. One to three (thirty to thirty-five percent) of men would rape if they knew they’d get away with it. Only one in six or seven (fourteen - sixteen percent) will ever see the inside of a courtroom. Sexual Assault is taken lightly compared to other crimes in America.
Victim blaming is a large reasoning as to why people don't take rape seriously. Society tends to victim blame. Very common forms of rape culture is blaming women for their promiscuous dressing. Blaming women for being under the influence while being assaulted and even Pop culture. The media’s normalization of sexual assault in their movies and their music. Sexual objectification of women’s bodies, treating women as if they are only for sexual pleasure. Oversexualition of women’s bodies, sexualizing everything women do. The heavy use of offensive and misogynistic language in movies and music, and the romanticizing of sexual assault. “Society teaches ‘don’t get raped’ rather than ‘don’t rape”. (The Good Men Project).
Accusing sexual assault victims of lying is also very harmful and is rape culture. The belief that every rape is false, is rape culture. Jason Richwine reported that “Social scientists analyzing crime records report that the rate of false rape allegations is two to eight percent”. According to Alex Pinkleton, “It’s going to be more difficult now to engage some people … because they have a preconceived notion that women lie about sexual assault.”
Sexual assault creeps into our everyday lives, and most of the time we can't notice it because it's been so normalized. School dress codes is a very big one, females students are far more policed for what they wear than male students. School administrators telling females students that their attire is “distracting the male students” rather than teaching male students to stop sexualizing other students. Growing up we’ve all heard or experienced the “boys will be boys” excuse, teaching them that their actions are excusable because of their gender.
There are many ways we can prevent rape culture building up in our communities. Teaching about consent and misogyny in school and health classes for starters. Teaching young girls about internalized misogyny and victim blaming. Speak up against pop culture influencing rape. Don’t censor rape and rape culture in homes and schools, put an end to it right as you see it. Believe your loved ones when they open up to you about sexual assault. Politically, we need to put more effort into rape crimes and sexual assault. When it comes to the Criminal Justice System, we need to stop believing every rape case that walks into the courtroom is a lie, or creates “reasonable doubt”, and terminate the use of offensive language like “legitimate rape”. As a country, we need to denormalize male sexual violence. Stop the “boys will be boys” agenda and start holding men accountable.
We are improving as a country everyday, preventing rape and rape culture is just another obstacle that we must overcome. We are being exposed to new bright ideas everyday and coming together as a country, we can stop rape and rape culture in our communities.
Grade 10 Central High School