The Stages of Rape Culture

Rape culture has many stages of development. Often people dismiss issues because there is worse out there. The problem is that you don’t get to worse without going the other stages.

Normalisation

It starts as early as birth with all pink toys (dolls, kitchen toys, etc.) for girls and colourful action toys for boys. Everything from medicine to the entertainment is researched and created with men in mind. Lack of representation and good female leads.

It continues in Kindergarten when dress codes are used to put the responsibility of paying attention to the shoulders of little girls. Even in elementary school, you see little girls being told not to wear spaghetti strap dresses and tanks. Why? They’re little children. But it only gets worse as they grow and girls are pulled out of class because the boys can’t concentrate. That is rape culture. Saying boys will be boys and putting the fault of distracted boys on the bare shoulders and thighs of the girls, rather than having the expectation that they control themselves.

It only gets worse as they grow and girls are pulled out of class because the boys can’t concentrate. Saying “boys will be boys” and putting the fault of distracted boys on the bare shoulders and thighs of the girls, rather than having the expectation that they control themselves.

Using gendered words as insults. This kind of language is so deeply ingrained in our culture that a lot of people, both men and women, use it all the time without thinking about its implications for gender and worth.

Locker room banter and joking about rape and women making sandwiches, or being bad drivers when statistics show the contrary.

Automatically blaming the victim for any crime. Always assuming that someone “asked for it.”, “deserved it.”, or is “lying.” This causes crime to go unreported. Telling women that they are responsible for avoiding rape.

“I thought my head was going to explode because I could not believe that this was how these crimes were being handled and that lives were being discarded.” – Mariska Hargitay

Unequal pay for equal work. Dismissing or excusing why it’s still happening.  Some people even get extremely anger and defensive when the subject is brought up. There is a wage gap in Canada and is a fact greater among women of colour and white men than it is between white women and white men.

Having an extra tax on female products for no other reason than gender. CBC reports that women pay up to 43% more than men for care products. This includes hair care, deodorant, razors, shaving, soap, etc.

Policemen can’t do anything against stalking. You can have a restraining order done, but between me and you, a piece of paper doesn’t stop anything.

Non-consensual photos – Upskirt photos – Unsolicited dick pics

Revenge porn becomes go-to for heartbreak. Destroying someone’s life for a temporary hurt or for the sake of pride becomes acceptable.

Catcalling and street harassment becomes a daily occurrence and people genuinely think it’s flattering. Street harassment is often a way to express power over women. It isn’t about compliments. It isn’t about meeting new people. It’s the thrill of the hunt, emphasis on the word hunt.
Removal of autonomy

Catcalling and street harassment goes from vocal to physical as men start to grope women in public spaces.

Having government pass laws and regulations on female bodies. Having every personal choice made into a public debate.

Covert condom removal. Taking away a woman’s right to protect her own body. Placing male wants above female needs.

Explicit violence

We know too many women who have been abused, assaulted or raped. We know we could be next. We know it could happen again.

Women are more likely to be killed by a boyfriend or husband than a stranger.

Domestic violence rates don’t shock people. The pressure is on the victim to

Slavery / Human Trafficking – There are more slaves in the world right now than were ever present in slave-owning America.

Conclusion

These are not isolated incidents, it’s systematic. The attitudes and actions on the lower stages reinforce and excuse those higher up. To reduce explicit violence, we have to look at what we normalise.

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