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Rape Culture

By: Sierra Taylor, Managing Editor

Boys will be boys. Or, at least, that is what I’ve been told my whole life to justify male aggression.

Since the days of monkey bars and pigtails, the normality  placed into our society is that male aggression towards women should be considered a sign of affection. This is where I believe rape culture begins.

According to Women Against Violence Against Women, the term “rape culture” was coined in the 1970s by feminists, as an approach to show the ways society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male violence.

In the last few years, the awareness of rape culture has been on the rise. I first started to realize that our society had a horrifying victim-blaming problem in 2012, when the Steubenville rape case hit mainstream media.

According to an article published in “The New York Times,” on Aug. 11, 2012, a 16-year-old girl was raped at a number of parties by two Steubenville High School football players while their friends watched and recorded. Of course there was a large outcry demanding justice for the victim, but I also remember several people say things like “She should not have of been drinking,” “She was asking for it in those clothes,” and “She’s just trying to ruin their football careers.”

Rape is the only crime in our society where we focus on what the victim did wrong instead of blaming the attacker. We shame women who get attacked for walking alone at night in their neighborhoods because women should know better than to walk alone. We blame the girl at the party for getting drugged and date raped because she should have watched her drink and not have dressed so provocatively. Society has a problem because we teach how not to get raped instead of not to rape.

When I was in the eighth grade, some family members sat my female 14-year-old cousin and I down to have a talk. With good intentions, they began to give us what I like to call “The Don’t Get Raped Tips and Tricks” lecture. My aunt gave us the same list of “Nevers” that has been repeated to women for years: “Never leave your drink unattended,” “Never accept a drink from a stranger,” “Never walk alone at night,” “Never go anywhere new alone,” and my favorite, “Never put yourself in that situation.”

Every girl has been given this lecture at some point in her young adult life, but it was not until I was in college that I realized that most males were never given this lecture or even an in-depth talk about not raping people past just being told, “Don’t do it.” As a society, we have to re-examine masculinity and drop the “Boys will be boys” belief. It needs to be understood that rape is not a natural masculine urge.

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