Friday, 10 June 2016

The Culture of Rape

(Photo credit to www.longislandpress.com)

Culture: 
  1. the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time
  2. a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.
  3. a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)
Rape: 
  1. an act or instance of robbing or despoiling or carrying away a person by force
  2. unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent
  3. an outrageous violation
Does it bother anyone else that we're joining the two?

I'm as aware as the next person that rape occurs worldwide in a whole host of different situations and scenarios. I'm also incredibly aware that it shouldn't. Period.

I get the feeling or rather the message that's being sent by there even being a 'rape culture' is that it's permitting it to happen and continue happening. It's not okay that it's happening, but since it is, it may as well be glamorized in the way that 'party culture' is, right?!

I completely understand how sensitive a subject it is for a lot of people. You don't need to be personally affected by it or know someone that has been in order to feel sensitive towards it. 

Whenever I'd heard the word used, it's made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, regardless of the context that it's in. But I think for a lot of people, it's a common feeling, so it ends up just not being talked about when it really should, and not be attached to a 'culture' of any kind that would appear to be accepting or even promoting (however passively) it's existence.

(Photo credit to www.theodysseyonline.com)

During a discussion in one of my Philosophy tutorials this semester, there was talk about freedom and if viewing pornography was a breach of that. While people have the right to view pretty much anything they can get access to, the question was around the freedom or rights of those taking part in the filming of it.

One of my classmates pointed out that when it comes to shows like Game of Thrones, where nudity and the like are all part of it, it is expected that people can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Another classmate argued in response that ill-educated people could easily watch Game of Thrones or even just porn, then go out into the world genuinely believing that this kind of behaviour was commonplace and acceptable.

A different classmate pointed out to the first that a lot of women are still terrified to walk around alone at night, and there's emphasis on walking in pairs. Why are the women talk to protect themselves when there doesn't appear to be any courses or part of the school curriculum that tells males that they can't just put their penis in wherever they want. If there's no consent, if the person says yes then changes their mind at any point, no means no!

It should also be pointed out that rape isn't only male to female. This is something that I'm sure a lot of people aren't or weren't aware of. I know I wasn't until I heard a statistic about it several years ago.
While the cases are significantly less, they're still significant.

There's also something to be said for the false accusations of rape. This is not okay either. Accusing someone of something out of spite or jealousy or whatever motives you have not only makes a mockery of those who've actually experienced sexual assault, but it creates emotional and financial distress for the accused. This may be what was intended by the accuser, but there are doubtless other things to spend time, money and energy on, rather than trying to ruin people's lives and reputations.

Going back to the ill-education argument, I was watching Murder by Numbers the other night, and the janitor was watching what was presumed to be porn based on the sounds being emitted from the TV. As he got up to check something for the guy he was selling drugs to (played by Ryan Gosling, in case anyone's interested), he made an offhanded comment about how the sounds the woman was making as she was being spanked indicated her enjoyment of it. "Look at her, she's loving it!" he said.

If the only things an adolescent or even mature male knows about sex and women is limited to what he's seen in porn, it explains a LOT, but it most definitely does not excuse his actions!

(Photo credit www.brasandbodyimage.com)

For those of you who can't fathom how a person's knowledge of the outside world can be limited to only what they've seen on a screen, this is essentially how I grew up. Aside from my lived experiences in high school, I understood the general idea of it to be exactly what I'd seen in TV shows and movies, nothing more, nothing less. I went to a religious private school in a semi-rural area where the only public transport I ever saw was the odd taxi, but even that was a rare occurrence. I also attended church every Sunday and dance class on a Friday for 45 minutes. 

When you combine all of that, there's really not a lot of real-life external influences to broaden my perception and understanding of the world. I didn't associate with anyone else outside of these areas and was too scared to even try since the fear of the unholy and unknown had been drummed into me from an early age.

That has changed significantly for me not only since finishing school and pursuing further education, but by moving homes twice after the age of 21 and gaining employment in an industry where I have to engage with people on a daily basis.

Bringing this back to point, I'm sure everyone has heard of the Stanford rapist story by now, as well as the open letter the victim wrote about her harrowing experience. As you read through, you become incredibly aware of how the perpetrator seems to be incapable of taking responsibility for his actions or how they've impacted the victim. He continually blames alcohol and the 'party culture' for what he did, even though the numerous readers throughout the world have pointed out that they've been completely drunk or at parties and managed to not sexually assault someone whilst under the influence.

'Rape culture' always tends to focus on women and how they were 'asking for it' or as with porn and what Brock mentioned in his statement 'she loved it'. 

Unless a woman who is in full control of her cognitive functions and aware of her surroundings (not under the influence of alcohol or any other substances) actually says that she wants to have sex with you and doesn't change her mind or lose consciousness at any point during the act, do not have sex with her. 

She's not asking for it. She's not loving it and you should not proceed.

It doesn't matter what she was wearing, what she was doing, saying or thinking, where she was or why she was there. If she did not consent, she doesn't want sex, regardless of what your genitalia is telling you or what it is that you want. 

She is a person, not a thing, not a piece of meat, a person and she should be treated with nothing less than the respect a person deserves.

(Photo credit to www.motherjones.com)

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