Rape culture is a term or concept used to describe a culture in which rape and sexual violence are perceived to be common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone sexual violence. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women's and men's bodies and the glamorization of sexual violence. Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification and trivializing rape.
Dangers of Pornography
Pornography facilitates the GROOMING process
a. Pornography is a child’s first form of sex education.
- Children are usually exposed to porn once they have internet access—before age 11.
- 95% of children have seen porn before age 16.
b. Pornography normalizes sexual violence and exploitation.
- Close to half (46%) of adolescents age 13-25 see nothing wrong with, “sexual acts that may be forced
or painful” (Barna Group, 2016).
- Porn viewers are more likely to believe that women desire rape or that rape is their fault.
- One in five pornographic images are of children (child sexual abuse images/videos), and there is a
large market for rape and incest porn
c. Pornography constructs sexuality in a way that eroticizes power inequality (especially between men and
- Porn affects the forming of a person’s sexual template.
- Porn users eventually may only be aroused by porn or only aroused by violent, painful, body punishing, and/or degrading sex acts with a partner.
- Girls are sexualized early, may be expected imitate acts in porn, endure sexual pain and violence, groomed into the sex industry, and are sent the message that they will be valued most by their sexual appeal and pleasing men.
- Boys develop attitudes of objectification, may believe that girls/women are only valuable for sexual use, and may groom boys into perpetrators of sexual violence, as well as buyers and traffickers.
- Nearly ninety percent of the most popular porn scenes contain physical violence (Bridges, 2010).
- Common forms of violence and degradation: strangulation, choking, gagging, slapping, drowning, bondage, gang-rape, multiple penetrations by multiple men at one time, verbal abuse, humiliating acts, ejaculation on woman’s face, and torture
d. Pornography is used as a training tool for prostituted/trafficked people.
- Traffickers may have victims watch pornography demonstrate what sex acts victims will be expected to perform on the men who purchase their bodies. They also use porn to normalize, desensitize, and monopolize the environment and media of victims to groom and normalize sexual exploitation.
Printed with permission: © 2018 Rebecca Kotz | www.rebeccakotz.com
Examples of Rape Culture:
- Blaming the victim ("He/she asked for it")
- Trivializing sexual assault ("Boys will be boys.")
- Sexually explicit jokes
- Tolerance of sexual harassment
- Inflating false rape report statistics
- Publicly scrutinizing how a survivor's dress, mental state, motives, and history
- Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
- Defining "manhood" as dominant and sexually aggressive
- Defining "womanhood" as submissive and sexually passive
- Pressure to "score"
- Pressure to not appear "cold"
- Assuming only promiscuous people get raped
- Assuming that men don't get raped or that only "weak" men get raped
- Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
- Teaching potential victims to avoid getting raped
- Rape Language
How Can We Combat Rape Culture:
- Avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women or men.
- Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape.
- If a friend talks to you about being raped, be supportive, encouraging and take it seriously.
- Think critically about the media's messages about women, men, relationships, and violence.
- Be respectful of others' physical space, even in casual situations.
- Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent.
- Define your own manhood or womanhood. Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.
Examples of Rape Language
Through metaphors, common English phrases contribute to and perpetuate attitudes that condone or trivialize rape. The metaphors which we commonly use to talk about sex often create or legitimize attitudes which connect sex with violence, sex with degradation, and sex with dominance. (The following list is an incomplete adaptation from Timothy Beneke's "Men on Rape.")
SEX IS A SPORT:
- I hope I score tonight.
- I struck out with him/her.
- I got to second base.
- She/he made a pass.
- He/she is playing the field.
SEX IS ACHIEVEMENT:
- I'd like to make it with him/her.
- He/She is successful with men/women.
- I went all the way with her/him.
- I didn't get anywhere with him/her.
SEX IS A GAME:
- If you play your cards right, you'll score.
- Your best bet is to go easy or you'll strike out.
SEX IS PERFORMANCE:
- You were great last night.
- I got rave reviews in bed.
- He/she is good in bed.
SEX IS WAR:
- He/she got shot down.
- She/he was hitting on him.
SEX IS BEING SERVICED:
- She/he wouldn't put out.
- He/she wouldn't do it for me.
SEX IS A COMMODITY:
- I never had to pay for it.
- I couldn't get any.
- Is he/she available?
SEX IS A POSSESSION:
- I'd like to have her/him.
- I bet I could get him/her.
- You're going to lose her/him.
- I'd like a piece of that.
SEX IS A CONQUEST:
A SEXUALLY ACTIVE WOMAN IS BAD:
- What a slut.
- She's a little tramp.
A SEXUALLY ACTIVE MAN IS GOOD
- He is a stud.
- He's a player.
Words the describe sex also describe ways of hurting or taking advantage of:
- Screw, Nail, Fuck, Hit, Bang