This is my second post, I do not know why I am writing another, it is not like anyone has even seen let alone acknowledged my first. I guess I just like to vent, as I said before, and get my ideas and opinions somewhere other than my head, it gets awfully confusing sometimes. Anyway, on with the post:
The subject of the “rape culture” has always confused me, the mere suggestion of any type of “culture” to me indicates widely and generally accepted social conduct and a dominant view or opinion of one aspect of our everyday lives, if that makes sense? For example, there could be a “Lazy” culture, where the majority of a set group of people tend to act lazily and not go to work and no exercise etc, and everyone in that group would think how they were acting was fine. In our modern day society I can think of nothing more unacceptable and frowned upon than “rape”; the mere word offends all those who hear it, the committing of this act carries harsh judicial penalties and some even go as far as to assert that the crime of “rape” demands nothing less than the worst the legal system can offer.
The definition of a “rape culture” is as follows:
“Rape culture is a concept that examines a culture in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.
Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape, denial of widespread rape, or refusing to acknowledge the harm of certain forms of sexual violence that do not conform to certain stereotypes of stranger or violent rape.”
Firstly, in our culture, the crime of rape is in no way normalized. I think the only example of the concept of rape not being taken with the utmost severity and disdain is in the form of comedy. One article hosted on the website “EliteDaily” claims the normalization of rape is mainly conveyed through rape jokes and humor. This, to me, seems an almost “cop out” like move. In the world of comedy and humor, nothing is off limits. I think Seth Macfarlane said, when discussing his flagship television series “Family Guy”, that he will makes jokes and offend everyone. Black People, white people, homosexuals and transgenders, heterosexuals and women, the point unless everyone can be mocked, then no one can be mocked. No one race, sexuality, nationality or indeed gender can be beyond the reaches of comedy.
To further dispute the claim of “rape” humor indicated the presence of a rape culture, we have to really understand how jokes work. All the wit in the world cannot trump the value of shock and surprise when it comes to a successful joke. When someone dares to go where no one else will, we are so in shock and awe we forget that the joke is offensive and just take it for what it truly is, a joke. Then we laugh and underneath we all still know that racism is wrong, sexism is wrong and rape is definitely wrong. The existence of “rape” humor is proof to me, that our society or “culture” understands the severity of rape and sexism, and that is why we are so shocked, that is why the jokes are so god-damn funny. I do not think censorship is the solution to this so called “rape culture”, when a society groups up and starts telling people, especially comedians, what they can and cannot say. By censoring the jokes made against women or rape, then one is placing women above the rest, beyond the reaches of comedy and humor, which is a clear message of superiority.
Furthermore, there is another form of rape humor that exists in our culture, one that is rarely recognized as “rape jokes”. That is prison rape, the prison population is made up of predominately men, and statistics show that up to 1 in 10 prisoners are subjected to rape whilst incarcerated. I have never heard a self identifying “feminist” complain about thus humor, I have heard many people shamelessly make “dropping the soap jokes” etc to no shock or anger, so clearly this opposition to “rape humor” is not as all inclusive as some claim, but rather just another effort to further superiority of women, over their male counterparts.
Anyway Back to the original definition:
I do not think I need to explain how rape is far from “trivialized” by our society, but I will put it as simply as I can. In the UK, if you are a man, convicted of the intentional rape of a woman, then you can in theory by sentenced to life imprisonment (something I agree with 100%), the crime of murdering another human being carries the same penalty. I struggle to see the trivialization here, in the legal system. Not to mention how society as a whole treats rapists, even just accused rapists. To provide a small anecdote; Luke Harwood, an 18 year old teenager was accused of raping Alice Hall, which turned out to be a false allegation, was brutally murdered and horrifically mutilated by Emma Hall, the sister of the supposed “victim” and 3 of her close friends. Did his crime, which he did not even commit, seem trivialized to you. Even after being acquitted, Luke was still punished for the crime of rape, because it is so frowned upon and resented in our “culture”. I would assert that we live in the furthest thing from a rape culture, where men are guilty when accused, on trial and even when acquitted. It says so much about how society portrays “rapists” that countless men, and boys are beaten and murdered and abused before the verdict is even announced.
Now on to the final point I want to address, “Victim Blaming”. Now I want to start by saying, it is never a woman’s fault if she is raped, it does not matter what she was wearing, how much she has drunk, where she was, the blame falls completely on the rapist and no one else. I can understand the anger directed at those who think otherwise, however, I am sick and tired of this responsibility absolving and victim playing attitude held be a concerning number of people. Let’s be clear, there is a difference between responsibility and blame, and there is a difference between cause and prevention. Let me provide a scenario, if 2 different women are walking home alone after a night out, one has a short skirt and cropped t-shirt, the other wears a tracksuit. One has makeup on and ones does not. Now imagine the short skirted, heavily made up woman also carried pepper spray in her purse, and the other woman did not. Neither of these women are more or less likely to be raped, the description of appearance was just a test, however the woman carrying the mace/pepper spray has an infinitely higher chance of fending off a attempted rape than the other woman, is that not common sense, apparently not. Many a time have I been reprimanded and cursed for daring to suggest this, “it is not a woman’s decision to be raped, teach men not to rape” they all yell at me, I usually end up completely befuddled. Both women in this scenario still remain completely blameless, the only difference is one woman took her safety into her own hands and decided to bring a means to defend herself, the other did not. To me this shows a lack of responsibility, not a attempt to blame a woman for another’s actions. I guess what I am saying is, it is not that women should be prepared to defend themselves, but that they could be.
If my house was robbed, imagine two unarmed thieves crept through a window I had left open by mistake and began taking my possessions, it would not be my fault that my home was robbed, but I would be partly responsible, and if someone said to me after “why did you leave your window open” I would not be offended, so what is the difference. In life, everyone must take responsibility for their actions, and their mistakes. Now lets identify what constitutes a mistake. If a woman dresses very provocatively and is preceded to be sexually assaulted, could you say she made a mistake and therefore must accept some responsibility, if your answer was yes then you need to rethink your attitudes to women. However, if a women chose to get extremely drunk, then wandered alone down a dark ally way, in a crime ridden neighborhood, I think it would be fair to say that she made a mistake. Now before you get upset understand that responsibility is not synonymous with “blame” and “fault”, but I think absolving yourself of any responsibility is foolish, as doing so could help prevent something like that happening again in the future, and whichever way you look at that is a positive thing.