The notion that we do not live in a culture that tolerates rape and violence directed at woman is sadly not correct.
Just ask a woman in your life and you will see.
We engrain into every girl the facts of life. We tell them about always traveling in groups, we warn them on giving a stranger a smile.
It doesn’t stop there. Rape or other forms of violence aren’t rare to hear about. This is something that many women have experienced.
The fear a woman has of their attacker is almost matched by the fear of coming out and sharing their story, however. Considering the response, it can be just as traumatic.
A lot of the time sexual assault is a crime with only two witnesses. If a woman chooses to come forward, which is about 10 percent of the time, they have to endure not only doubt but also a defense that will seek to destroy her credibility. This is all to someone who has just experienced severe trauma.
That is rape culture.
Rape culture is not wanting your female friend walking at night. Rape culture is giving your sister pepper spray for her birthday. Rape culture is having your friends get unsolicited ‘dick pics’.
The notion that we are somehow better than other countries is illogical as well. As recently as the 1990s it was impossible to rape your wife. Now it is illegal luckily, but in several states, a woman can’t file rape charges if she was incapacitated at the time.
According to the Nation Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center,
“Ten to fourteen percent of ever-married women have experienced at least one forced sexual assault by a husband or ex-husband.” This is according to a study from the 1990s.
That still exists today. What also exists today is a misunderstanding of the act of rape. According to Jon Krakauer’s book, Missoula, we aren’t dealing with rapists that wear ski masks and break into houses. Rather rape is something done by quote-on-quote average people.
In an interview that can turn stomachs we learn of a fraternity man, simply named ‘Frank’. Frank and his friends would spend days crafting guest lists to parties, making sure to include freshmen because apparently, they were easier to get drunk. After getting the girls drunk Frank would forcibly have sex with them. The scariest part of this interview was Frank didn’t know he had raped anyone.
So, many people may say rape is wrong, but it is all about definitions. This is all documented if you are willing to look for it. These disgusting stories are there, and countless others are hidden under shame and a justice system that tries but fails to prosecute rapist due to the beyond reasonable doubt clause.
This is why so many college rapists don’t get charged, even if a victim comes forward. All too often we can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt due to the situation that rape creates, only two, very different witness testimonies.
This is rape culture.
In these situations, you will see Universities expel students, even without a conviction. It is because according to Title IX one doesn’t have to prove beyond reasonable doubt, but rather there has to be proof that it most likely happened.
This isn’t a one-off thing either. This happens across the country at every University countless times every year.
Trying to distract or downplay from these issues is nonsensical. This is something we hear countless times as friends. This is something I pray I never hear as a future parent.
Rape culture is something we can change and something we should change, but we need everyone. Even if you don’t consider yourself a feminist try to educate yourself on these crucial issues.
Before you know it, your friend will tell you her story. Maybe an aunt will come forward and discuss a time someone tried to take advantage of her. This is when we realize we can’t be hung up on definitions, but rather the instances of rape that are happening every day in this country.