Monday, February 8, 2010

Rape Culture

I tend to struggle when describing "Rape Culture" to those who are unfamiliar with the term and came across this article from another blogger that puts it into words better than I ever could:

Thought it might be interesting for everyone.


  1. I can't see what the use of this term "rape culture" achieves. The linked article seems to just list many different ways rape manifests itself in society and some of the attitudes and depictions of rape in culture. But what is it really saying? That people all over the world are all in some kind of vast global conspiracy to keep women enslaved by fostering these attitudes and making rape seem acceptable? Does anyone really believe that? A minority of men continue to commit this terrible crime and we need to find out the reasons and do whatever we can to stop it. We should try to challenge the attitudes that say rape is sometimes OK, or that it isn't always a big deal. But just to slap this label of "rape culture" on everything doesn't help us understand anything about rape or how to prevent it happening.

  2. I think that people able to label a certain situation or instance as an example of something that is part of the greater "rape culture" does help people understand something. It helps them understand how underlying sexist, racist, and homophobic beliefs collectively create a culture that makes violence against women okay. The concept of rape culture doesn't imply that people are purposefully promoting rape or domestic violence, but that they are contributing to this culture without their direct knowledge. Laughing at sexist jokes, listening to music that dehumanizes women, and belittling sexual violence, among other things, all contribute to the current rape culture we live in.

  3. I understand your point, but it is important to be clear about our thinking on this issue. The law defines "rape as an assault by a person involving sexual intercourse with another person without that person's consent." This is a very serious crime, and many people (rightly) regard it as serious a crime as murder or serious physical assault. Laughing at sexist jokes or making fun out of rape is offensive and I agree that it should be challenged. But it is clearly not as serious as the crime of rape. A man might make sexist jokes but otherwise never hurt or assault anyone.
    Making the link between these behaviours has the danger of trivialising rape and also providing a convenient excuse for rapists. For example a rapist could blame his crimes on a "rape culture" he grew up in, say all the right things, and claim to now be a feminist. He may then have his punishment cut as a result, and then go out to re-offend, raping and murdering women behind closed doors.
    We should challenge sexist attitudes but I'm not sure it helps to equate making bad jokes or listening to bad music with the act of rape.

  4. Hi
    Excellent articles ... A question.... is this due to the hybridization of cultures? ... I read a book about by the writer Nestor Garcia Canclini

  5. Interesting article, added his blog to Favorites