Rape Culture Series- Part One

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This series has been written to educate our society on the insight and understand of rape culture.  This series will comprise of several pieces which will in return help to bring awareness on the topic of rape culture that we have been facing over a number of years.

 First we must understand what rape culture is and as this series continues we will shed light on some critical areas such as the history of rape within our Caribbean region to that societal impact that rape culture has on society as a whole and to the acceptance of rape culture that is presently demonstrated in St.Vincent and the Grenadines. I would like everyone to take five minutes of their time to read these series or read it to someone who is not able to read so that we can reach the masses and make an impact together.

Rape culture is a term that was coined by feminists in the United States in the 1970’s. It was designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence. This term can relate to exactly what is taking place within St.Vincent and the Grenadines as of lately and has become a major concern to many within society. Many Feminist have provided great definitions to rape culture and how is plays a major role in society day to day.

According to Emilie Buchwald, author of transforming a rape culture describes that when society normalizes sexualized violence, it accepts and creates rape culture. She defines rape culture as “a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women.

It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranged from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against woman as the norm. In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable. However much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitude that can change.”

Rape culture is further explained as rape culture being translated within the images, language, laws and other everyday phenomena that we see and hear every day that validate and perpetuate rape. We live in a society that teaches do not get raped instead of do not rape and then we wonder why we have so many rape victims who have remained in silence sometimes for years or for a lifetime.

Here are a few ways in which rape culture if being promoted

  1. The media’s constant glossing-over of sexual assault with euphemistic language, inappropriate behaviour, sexual misconduct and even plain old having sex.
  2. The lack of support and degrading of women who speak of being sexually assaulted or raped.
  3. A magazine editor’s blasé admission that the women we feature in the magazine are ornamental and objectified.
  4. No rape kits or rape kits that are sitting on shelves and not being used.

The list goes on but let us stop here, maybe you can think of a few ways in which rape culture is being promoted within your own society.

Now, reflect on what has been read and take an in-depth analysis of rape culture. Can you relate to what you have read? Is there a rape culture in your society? If your answer is YES, then change must come to the society in which you live. We need to take notice of what is happening around us and within our society and be outraged with this rape culture. We must see what rape culture really is in order to interrupt it. Rape culture should never be accepted and the series will continue with more insight to understanding rape culture.

Leave Out Violence in SVG Association (LOVNSVG)  lovnsvg@hotmail.com