Rape Culture: a culture we can all live without

By: Mason Benovy

More than 20% of college women will be raped in their lifetime according to a study by The Association of American Universities. Our time in high school is preparing us for the exciting times of college. It’s nearing the time of year when seniors are applying to schools, juniors are preparing for the SATs, and underclassmen are anticipating all of this chaos. It’s an exciting time for most but not with the looming statistic that 1 in 4 college women will be victims of rape. Rape culture is any instance when rape is normalized due to society’s thoughts about sexuality and gender.

A common form of rape culture is victim blaming, which is when the victim of a crime is blamed for the crime that took place. Although victim blaming is a large part of rape culture, there are many more everyday examples of this atrocious display.

Rape culture is making and laughing at rape jokes. It’s the many “Meninist” Twitter accounts that tweet things like,  “rape should be legalized” and  “women were put on this earth to please men…” It is supporting athletes who were charged with rape and grieving over the death of their careers. It is telling girls they cannot wear certain clothes because they are a distraction to boys.

Acts like these may seem like harmless jokes, but in the long run, they can and will become a detriment to women and society as a whole. When a topic as serious as rape is turned into a joke, it becomes an acceptable part of public discussion, and is something people neglect to take seriously. When women and girls are told that their clothes are distracting to men, it leads to women being blamed for a crime committed against them. It defines women by their appearances rather than their intellectual abilities.

Rape culture is all around us.  It’s everywhere, and exists in the halls of every high school in America. On a daily basis, teenage girls are asked to change their clothing because it’s deemed distracting to males. It is not girls’ responsibility to make sure their fellow students aren’t sexualizing their body. Wouldn’t it make more sense to teach boys that women’s bodies are not sexual objects?  When women are told that their attire is overly sexual, it distracts from the core problem: males from a young age are taught that women are sexual objects.

It’s not just the way society portrays rape, it’s how we view a woman’s body. I’m not saying that men can’t be victims of rape culture, because they can be, and they are. But as a whole, society sexualizes the female body to a point of destruction.

Rape culture is everywhere, and it’s everyone’s job to stand up and make a difference. Don’t blame rape victims when they need your support.  Don’t retweet the “Meninist” accounts who attempt to justify rape and domestic violence. Don’t laugh at the jokes that make sexual assault seem less serious than it is. Don’t support the athletes who have been charged with sexual assault. Don’t listen to music that speaks about rape in a casual manner.

Instead, stand up and have a voice for those who do not. Be the change.