Rape Culture: For What Are We Responsible?

Rape culture is pervasive in our society, disproportionately affecting women. Women are sexually objectified, yet blamed for being sexually assaulted. Every 2 minutes, someone in the US is sexually assaulted. 9 out of 10 rape victims are women, but rape is not considered a serious issue by many. How many times have you heard “she was asking for it” or “girls shouldn’t wear this; it will distract the boys”? A woman is blamed for inviting rape when she flirts with others or dresses skimpily, when the blame should be on those who rape. All of this feeds into and is caused by the toxic rape culture.

Everyone should care about rape culture, whether it directly affects us or not. As Bell Hooks says, “Without a doubt, our collective, conscious refusal to act in any way that would make us complicit in the perpetuation of rape culture… would undermine the structure.” Attitudes toward rape and behaviors such as slut shaming and victim blaming are often taught to us by the people we observe and the media we consume. We need to speak out against rape culture. We are all responsible for our unintentional contributions to it, and we are all responsible for rejecting the rape culture mindset embedded in our society and ourselves.

Hooks, Bell. “Seduced By Violence No More.” Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations. New York: Routledge, 1994. 109-13. Print.
“Statistics.” RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. RAINN, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.


4 thoughts on “Rape Culture: For What Are We Responsible?

  1. Pingback: Barbara Hewson and moral responsibility. | Sometimes, it's just a cigar

  2. Pingback: Racism is a Reality and so is Gender Inequality « TheSoulJunkie

  3. brookingstyler

    If most everyone loves bikes and most people buy bicycles in order to ride them you could say we have a “bicycle culture.” Naturally, there are always a small percentage of criminals who will steal what they want rather than attain it by lawful means. So when bicycles end up stolen is it because of a “bicycle culture” or a “theft culture?” You are putting the onus on theft, which I think is incorrect. I believe it is an attempt to raise the value of “bicycles” or va-j-j’s in the eyes of the general culture by making the crime and anything possibly associated with it into the most egregious offense possible. Don’t sell off your assets too cheaply.

    1. pennjennywrites Post author

      It is demeaning to compare someone’s body to an object that can be bought and sold. Stealing a bicycle is different from raping a living being. The bicycle does not have feelings of its own and its owner, while they will be upset, is unlikely to be traumatized from the experience, feel a terrifying loss of power, and maybe even die. A bicycle is not as relevant to one’s sense of self as one’s security in their body is. Who is attempting to raise the value of vaginas and for what purpose would that serve? I do agree that we live in a society that often commodifies women’s bodies, though, which feeds into rape culture by making people objectify and dehumanize women. I think you misunderstood what I meant by rape culture. I was referring to a culture that sexually objectifies women, blames them for being raped, and trivializes rape. There isn’t anything like that for bicycles, and I think the analogy is fundamentally flawed because it compares a living person’s body to an object that can be stolen.


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