Content Warning: This article’s subject matter, discussing sexual assault, may be uncomfortable for some readers.
“A recent White House Report states that 1 in 5 female college students is the victim of rape, while only 1 in 8 victims reports the assault…” – UR Republic
So there’s this not-so-new thing out called “Rape Culture” that I learned about on Tumblr. As are most cultures, it’s a language, a way of life, a way of thinking and behaving composed of all the ways we enable and condone rape and sexual assault. Included in this twisted cognitive orientation are concepts like “victim blaming,” which most often takes the form of a questions like, “Well… what was she wearing?” At the core of this question is the implication that an outfit, behavior or lifestyle choice can deem one “worthy” of being attacked. Christine Fox unintentionally unpacked this loaded question by simply asking victims what they were wearing when they were sexually assaulted. She even shares her own experience to warm the water.
“jeans, tank top, heels… he put something in my drink at his house… I was there alone.” – Christine Fox
Before Ms. Fox realized it, hundreds of victims were in her mentions sharing their stories and unanimously debunking the myth that what a person wears makes them eligible to be taken advantage of. How dreadful it is that we often subscribe to this myth unknowingly.
Common attitudes toward rape often manifest themselves in the form of comments and questions like these:
- Well, did she lead them on?
- Well, since she was drunk, how does she know that she didn’t concede?
- She shouldn’t have been dressed like that.
And there are countless others. Coupled with these is another heavy component of rape culture, called “slut shaming.” This is centered on the idea that if a woman enjoys the pleasure of sex with multiple partners, she is then a slut or “hoe”; a loose woman, if you will. A huge problem with this line of thinking is the double standard it represents: men don’t receive such verbal abuse and slander for their sexual endeavors. In fact, sex with multiple partners is a simple conquest for men. There is no culture that shames men the way that we shame women that simply enjoy sex. And so when women dress like “sluts,” we shame them and make it easy to rationalize why they would be attacked and raped. The variable that is most unspoken for is a man’s will. According to rape culture, men just can’t control themselves. We teach “Don’t get raped” instead “Don’t rape.” We teach women that enjoying themselves the same ways that men often do warrants physical and verbal abuse. Welcome, again, to the Double Standard.
All of this may be a little hard to follow, so let’s let a man tell it…
Awareness is key. Being cognizant of thought patterns we so readily buy into is crucial.
So as not to beat a dead horse, I’ll drop the mic here, let you read Ms. Fox’s original article and do some critical thinking on your own.
Peace… – Nina Ruff