The Invisible Voice: We Are A Rape Culture

By Brittany Barnes

SC Staff Writer

 

It was around 11 p.m. on a summer night. I was walking up the subway terminal stairs to get above ground when I heard a man call out to me multiple times.

He rushed up to me and when we made eye contact he said, “You need to take those earphones out; I could’ve came up, grabbed you, and taken you.”

Turns out the man just wanted my number, but I can not figure out when it became acceptable to say something like that to a person.

I have come to realize that we live in a rape culture.

Rape culture is defined as “a culture in which dominant cultural ideologies, media images, social practices, and societal institutions support and condone sexual abuse by normalizing, trivializing and eroticizing male violence against women and blaming victims for their own abuse,” according to the Huffington Post.

There are multiple reasons why America is a rape culture. Examples of rape culture can be found in our TV shows, music, and movies.

Rapper Rich Homie Quan recently released a song that gave very graphic detail about raping a woman.

The lyrics read: “Don’t want your ho / Just want that cookie from her / She tried to resist so I took it from her / How you gonna tell me no / You must not know who I am.”

The worst thing about Rich Homie Quan is that these particular lyrics were not the first lyrics he wrote about raping a woman.

Back in 2013, popular rapper Rick Ross released a song where he raps, “Put molly all in her champagne / She ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that / She ain’t even know it.”

Most lyrics are not as a blatant as these. Popular songs such as “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke hides his support for rape culture.

“Good girl, I know you want it,” sings Thicke over and over. He is pretty much saying, “I know you want to have sex with me, you just don’t want to say it,” with these lyrics.

Lisa Huyne posted an article to her blog, “Feminist in L.A.,” titled “Has anyone heard Robin Thicke’s new rape song?”

She writes, “Call me a cynic, but that phrase [I know you want it] does not exactly encompass the notion of consent in sexual activity … Seriously, this song is disgusting.”

I feel that there is a strong “no means yes” vibe from this song. Fortunately, I am not the only one who feels that way.

We live in a world in which it seems a police officer’s advice to not getting raped is “women should avoid dressing like sluts.” Victim blaming is another reason this rape culture is thriving.

We live in a world where many believe that the way a woman is dressed has a direct correlation to her chances of being raped. Many believe that if a woman is dressed in any means provocatively, in a skirt, tight clothes or dress, that they are ‘asking for it.’ This is called victim blaming.

Victim blaming is defined as “putting blame for the occurrence of a traumatizing event on the survivor instead of blaming the perpetrator,” according to Humboldt State University’s website.

Journalists are notorious for using the word “sex” instead of “rape.” In May of 2013 Seattle Times reports “Ex-Student Sues Tacoma Schools over Restroom Sex,” as if going into the restroom at school and raping someone is the same thing as “restroom sex.”

Just last month USA Today reported “Jared Fogle jetted numerous times to New York City to have sex with at least two underage girls.” Once again, as if a 37-year-old man can just “have sex” with underage girls.

The word sex does not sound as harsh as rape, so why use rape? That would go against the rape culture we live in.

Another reason America is a rape culture include people not taking street harassment seriously. After all, women are merely objects sent for men’s entertainment.

This is an underlying belief that is constantly shown to us. Since women are shown as objects just for pleasure, some men will treat women as such.

This is all in addition to the fact that rapists aren’t getting sent to jail. Only 3 percent of rapists spend even a day in jail. This means that on the off chance that a rapist is sent to jail, he or she will not be there for long.

The most important reason why America is a rape culture is because rape is way too common. 1 out of every 5 women have been a victim of attempted or completed rape, UltraViolet.org reports, and more than half of them are not reported.

1 in 3 female students experience sexual assault while in college. The Telegraph surveyed 1,000 undergraduate students. 97 percent said they did not report the assault and 44 percent said they did not report the assault because they felt the university would not do anything if they did.

The only reason someone would not take a sexual assault claim seriously is if they too are a part of rape culture. It’s the American way.

Email Brittany at:

bbarnes1@live.esu.edu

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