Rape Culture Part One: Victim Blaming

As touched on in our previous posts, rape culture ( as previously defined, 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) is a common issue which rears its ugly head most often in the form of ‘Slut Shaming’ and ‘Victim Blaming’.

Now, in the case of rape and sexual harassment, it sounds pretty damn stupid. This person just got raped, how dare you insinuate that they deserved it because of what they wore/what they were drinking/what they doing/ previous sexual history/*insert any other ridiculous claim here*. But sadly, if you do even a little research, you can see cases everywhere of victim blaming from high profile cases, to examples of it in academia research and probably your own friendship circles.

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IT WAS A TRICK QUESTION – RAPE IS NEVER OKAY. (but really guys, that shouldn’t seem tricky… it’s just common sense).

Some people like to bring in legal jargon, unrelated questions (like those above) and loopholes that excuse rapists, and make it seem like a ‘grey area’ in society but in reality it’s fairly black and white. The rapist, not the victim is at blame here. As this article points out, the only common factor in all rape cases is a rapist.

You could get people to stop drinking, you can get people to cover up, to not be active sexually, or any other ridiculous rule over their personal freedom, but this doesn’t address the root of the problem. We need to remove ‘rape culture’ and start holding rapists accountable.

– Kitty xx

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The ‘R’ Word

This was originally going to be a post on ‘Rape Culture’, but we’ve found across all aspects of our campaign (Blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc.) that people like to pick holes in the smallest of semantics, and make assumptions about things we thought were clear but apparently needed to be clarified. This is their right, and it is great to formulate genuine discussion and clear up misconceptions. However, in an attempt not to be misconstrued, or for the focus to be taken away from the important points we are trying to make about sexism, we decided to do a post on rape specifically. We believe it is fairly black and white, common sense stuff.

We are defining rape as sexual activity that is forced upon someone without consent.

Just to be completely clear;

  • This is not restricted to sexual intercourse, but includes a variety of sexual acts. For example, forced oral or anal sex.
  • This is not restricted to men raping women.
  • Often we think of ‘forced’ as just physical force, but we are including threats, coercion and manipulation as forms of ‘force’.
  • If someone is not in a position to either give or deny their consent, for example someone drugged, unconscious or a child, then you cannot engage in sexual activity. A lack of no does NOT grant permission.

Still unsure? You shouldn’t be, but here is a handy flow chart if you ever find yourself still confused in a situation.

Feminism, Harassment and Rape Culture

Quite recently on our Facebook page, we’ve had some discussions with members of the public debating definitions, the relevance of sexism and feminism and a whole lot of other common misconceptions. As such, we’ve decided to do a post clearing these misconceptions up.

    1. Feminism

The dictionary defines feminism as the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state.

In short, feminism is about equality, so really, everyone in the world should be a feminist.

    2. Harassment

‘Behavior that annoys or upsets someone.’  Now, some people have asked us – how is harassment and/or sexual harassment only a problem for women? Now we aren’t denying that men can get harassed.  Of course not. But, for example, if a man comes up to a woman and says she has a great ass – that can be very scary, humiliating and threatening for a woman (particularly depending on the context) because there is the very real possibility that this situation can turn nasty. When a woman does it to a man, there is rarely a connotation of being in real danger, threatened, or harassed.

    3. Rape Culture

Defined as ‘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.’

We aren’t claiming that everyone in society is a rapist. However, certain behaviors and strands of thinking such as victim blaming and slut shaming teach us “how not to be raped,” rather than “how not to rape”. These attitudes trivialize rape, and propagate violence.

All these are ‘hot topics’ regarding sexism, so we will be doing more posts exploring each of these in more depth soon.

Kitty x