The idea, behavior and the demonstration of rape culture is still not clear to a lot of people. Rape culture is a sociological concept used to describe a setting in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.
Behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, slut shaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape, etc. When we talk about rape culture, we’re talking about cultural practices that (yes, we engage in as a society) excuse or otherwise tolerate sexual violence.
Below are some examples of how society enables rape culture. Share with someone
- First of all, the law abets rape culture, and these images are proof.
After the long and tedious process to prove without reasonable doubt that a rapist indeed raped someone (in some cases, with fatal results), a judge will then give light sentences, with option of a fine. In other words, if you can afford the N300,000 (for example), go ahead and rape that person you desire. Well done, law.
- Mothers who blame girls for posting sexy selfies and leading their sons into sin, instead of talking with their sons about their responsibility for their own sexual expression.
- People who say “boys will be boys” as an excuse for aggressive behavior.
- Policemen asking a victim what she was wearing or why she was where she was when she reports rape.
- Supporting/defending celebrities who are accused of rape/sexual assault just because they’re celebrities and ignoring or denouncing what the victim has to say and calling them career-destroyers.
- Refusing to call out our ‘friends’ when they rape/sexually assault/harass or enable rape culture in any way.
- People who believe that girls “allow themselves to be raped.”
- Journalists who substitute the word “sex” for “rape” – as if they’re the same thing.
- The commonness of street harassment – and how victims are told that they’re “overreacting” when they call it out. Go to Yaba or a typical Nigerian market on a good day and see for yourself.
- Rape jokes – and people who defend them.
- Sexual assault prevention education programs that focus on women being told to take measures to prevent rape instead of men being told not to rape.
- Assuming that false reporting for sexual assault cases are the norm, when in reality, they’re only 2 – 8%. In other words, more than 90% of reported cases are true.
- Only 3% of rapists ever serving a day in jail.
- Women feeling less safe walking the streets at night than men do.
- 1-in-5 women and 1-in-71 men having reported experiencing rape.
- Major news outlets waxing sympathetic about how two teen rapists’ “promising” lives will be destroyed by a youthful mistake, without once mentioning how the rape might affect the survivor.
- Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what they wear, how they wear it, how they carry themselves, where they walk, when they walk there, with whom they walk, who they trust, what they do, where they do it, with whom they do it, what they drink, how much they drink, whether they make eye contact, if they’re alone, if they’re with a stranger, if they’re in a group, if they’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if they’re carrying something, how they carry it, what kind of shoes they’re wearing in case they have to run, what kind of purse they carry, what jewelry they wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people they sleep with, what kind of people they sleep with, who their friends are, who they give their number to, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where they can see who’s at the door before they can see them, to check before they open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch their back always be aware of their surroundings and never let their guard down for a moment lest they be sexually assaulted. Problem with all these is, if they don’t do it, they are then blamed for the rape. And by the way, women have been hearing these for years. What has it changed?
This is not an exhaustive list. There are so many other examples of daily occurrences that enable rape culture. We as a society need to accept that these things are happening, these things encourage rape, entitlement, sexual assault, and so on, and we need to be outraged by it. Men need to be outraged enough to change the way we act, speak, and behave around women. More importantly, we need to – every time we CAN – refuse to enable rape. While we push for a society where rape survivors are not victimized and better laws to ensure penalty for rape is enough to deter rapists, talking to our friends who are ignorant and think women are their entitlement, refusing to let a colleague be sexually harassed, reporting a randy lecturer who harasses women for sex, refusing to let a girl who’s walking alone be harassed, etc., would also help to kill rape culture. As painful as being aware is, we can’t interrupt the culture of violence unless we are willing to see it for what it is.
If you still do not understand how much of a menace rape in Nigeria is, click HERE
Even worse, click HERE to see some CHILD rape cases.