What is Rape Culture?
Rape culture is comprised of everything in our current culture that creates, normalizes, and prevents justice in sexual assault cases. Rape culture does not simply victimize through the act of rape, but also through its creation of an environment that so strongly supports victim silence. The way we talk, drink, dress, and act are all a part of rape culture.
Rape culture creates misperceptions and dangerous assumptions. A man who has had a tough week of classes my want to just head to the bar, have a few drinks, meet some new people, relax, and head home. This is easily comprehended and accepted. However, if it is a woman in this scenario, an entirely new situation is percieved. Her presence at the bar, casually and drinking, and not with a large group of her female friends makes her "fair game" and assuming the sexual advances of men. This is one of the many double standards of "sluts and studs."
This culture of double standards and dangerous misperceptions promotes victim silence after an attack. She (or he) is made to feel as though they are in some way at fault and to blame. They get this message from a variety of sources. "She shouldn't have been dressed like that--she knows what that looks like", "She just got drunk and made a bad decision", "Why is she always so damned flirty? What does she think is going to happen when she acts like that with guys?", and so on. The aftermath of a rape is filled with downplay, skepticism, and dismissal.