Rape culture is not a culture

By Wangari Muranga - Staff Reporter

One in five women will be raped at some point in their life and for men the ratio is one in 71.

According to the group Women Against Violence Against Women rape culture is a term that was coined by feminists in the United States in the 1970s. It was designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male violence.

The fact that rape culture today is still as prevalent, if not more prevalent, than it was back in the day, is absurd. It's been almost half a century. You would think things would've changed by now.

Rape culture is so normal in this day and age and we contribute to it every single day. The crazy thing is that we don't even realize it.

It's in the music we listen to, the shows we watch, the social media we spend hours on, the jokes we tell, the books that we read, and even the clothes we wear.

I listen to music a lot and most of the time I overlook what the artist is saying because it's so catchy it doesn't even seem to matter.

Highline's Intercultural Center recently had "Women of Vision" and "Men of Vision" awareness meetings where they discussed rape culture and sexual violence and the specific purpose of it was to raise awareness of the severity and consequences of taking these issues so lightly.

They had quotes of some of the verses from the song Blurred Lines in which Robin Thicke calls a girl an animal and in the chorus he says "I know you want it" repeatedly.

I used to sing that song all the time but I didn't even realize what I was saying.

I read a blog the other day by Jessica Valenti and she said "rape is as American as apple pie", there is so much truth in this and that's ridiculous.

Take for an example Donald Trump. He has several allegations of sexual assault made against him, even one having to do with a 13-year-old girl, but this man could still potentially take office come January.

This is just one of the many cases where privilege and power as well as excuses come into play.

Due to the fact that courts do not see the seriousness in sexual violence, a lot of sexual assault victims don't speak up. Some 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported.

Also did you know that only 97 out of every 100 rapists receive no punishment? That's only three that will ever spend even a single day in prison.

These kind of statistics send a clear message to offenders that they can commit this horrible crime and ultimately get away with it.

Courts minimize the seriousness of rape by defending the rapist or blaming the victim. Normal things you would hear in a dispute would be things such as "what was she wearing?" or "It wasn't really rape" (if the woman doesn't have bruises or marks) or even "but he has such a bright future" (i.e. the Brock Turner rape case).

"They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest," said author Louise O'Neill in her book Asking For It.

We need to wake up and realize that "rape culture" should not be a thing.

No matter the stats, no matter the circumstance, if you or someone you know is a rape or sexual violence/assault victim you need to speak up, break the myths, and report it.

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