A Culture Of Rape Acceptance

Submitted By royalhighness666
Words: 1835
Pages: 8

Jane Haack
Professor Miller
Section 1677
25 February 2014

A Culture of Rape Acceptance Rape culture is more than a term thrown around by feminists. It’s a serious issue that affects many college women. Rape culture is the thought that our culture has lead to a normalization or acceptance of rape and sexual assault. The thought of rape culture was first brought to light in the 1970’s. It often goes unrecognized due to the common thought that society would never view rape as acceptable. Although rape is viewed as an inexcusable crime culture has downplayed the seriousness of rape. Cultures normalization of rape is an issue that can be addressed by informing adolescents of the characteristics of rape culture such as the lack of a clear definition of rape, rape myths, and a low conviction rate for rapists. Our culture has many definitions of rape. Each person views it differently. Some view only certain forms of penetration to be rape. In 2003, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality stated “rape is a term that refers to forced or attempted sexual intercourse with a male or female, by an offender that may be of the same sex or a different sex from the victim. Sexual assault is usually defined to encompass rape, attempted rape, forced oral and anal sex, penetration with objects, touching of intimate parts, and other types of threats or coercion in which unwanted sexual contact is attempted or occurs between the victim and offender.” (Kahlor, 729-730) However in 2011, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network defined sexual assault as “any vaginal, oral or anal penetration that is forced upon another regardless of sex and sexual orientation, using any object or body part.” (Aronowitz, 1) Many view that if the situation lacks penile penetration or violence it should not be labeled rape. Since definitions vary rapes tend to go unreported and unrecognized as rape. In a study where the participants were mainly women who had dealt with some form of rape it was reported that those “who believed that women who are sexually teasing deserve to be raped and who view their own behavior as sexually teasing were less likely than other participants to label their experiences as rape.” Similarly, “participants who believed that it is not really rape if a women does not fight back and who did not fight back [during their own experiences] were less likely than other participants to label their experiences as rape”(Fanfik, 18-19) Depending on the situation victims may not recognize it as rape due to societies definitions of rape. Similarly, each person interprets consent differently. In a 2011 study among college students “men were more likely than women to indicate their consent via nonverbal cues, and women were more likely than men to indicate consent verbally in response to being asked if they wanted to engage in sexual activity by their partner.”(Jozkowski, 518) Since men rely on physical cues that can often be misread the lines between consensual sex and rape may be blurred. Society contributes to the confusion about consent with the pressure on women to please men. The same study showed “most men (62.4%, n¼53) interpreted the question as asking how they would consent to receive oral sex; they seemed to assume that women perform oral sex on men and not the reverse.” (Jozkowski, 520) Through media our culture has created a common view among society that women are meant to serve men with nothing in return. At the heart of rape culture is rape myths. Rape myths are statements that are commonly believed but untrue about rape. “Two of the most common rape myths are: (1) victims lie about rape when they regret consensual sex after the fact, and (2) a victim’s provocative dress, suggestive behavior, or “bad reputation” is often to blame for the “mixed signals” that led to the rape.”(Kahlor, 2) It is common that when a rape victim comes forward the first questions are about whether they were intoxicated or what they were