Column: Let’s end rape culture one person at a time

Column: Let’s end rape culture one person at a time

Rape is a powerful word. When you think of rape, people automatically think about a woman getting sexually assaulted.

The saddest part of this article is acknowledging that most people won’t think twice about rape. If it doesn’t affect them or any particular person they are close to, who cares? In this society people see rape as “slut shaming” and “victim blaming”.

These terms go hand and hand with the term rape culture. Over the years our society has collectively picked up and molded together this horrible aspect of what gender harassment is.

“Slut shaming” is a term that belittles a person for their means of sexuality and behaviors that follow. This affects people of every race, gender and even religion. For example, women are accused of promiscuity for doing something as simple as taking birth control. Another example is calling a man out for buying an excessive amount of condoms. Both examples depict the destruction of people’s reputations for trivial reasons. This is what makes rape culture such a significant problem.

This issue, in fact, is a double standard. If a woman is being promiscuous, she’s insulted and degraded. If a man is in the same position, he’s given a high-five. If a man gets a woman pregnant and walks away and comes back later in the child’s life, he’s in the clear. What happens to the woman? Her chance for being sexual is now slurred on an invisible permanent record. That is rape culture.

Another term people may be familiar with is the term “victim blaming.”

Let’s say a male or female wants to go out for the night and have a nice, fun time. Let’s say they dress with good taste or even a little provocative. Should that mean at the end of the night someone should force them into something they don’t want to do, like intercourse? No, it doesn’t mean someone should overpower you just because you dressed the way you did. This is a case of victim blaming, where you blame the man or woman wearing such clothing and blame the victim that is was their fault they were taken advantage of. Instead of paying attention the crime that has been committed, they immediately point a finger at the victim, again, this is rape culture.

Double standards, slut shaming and victim blaming do not desire the attention they have been receiving for centuries. Rape culture must end.

The UTM website contains the Annual Security Report, a report of sexual assault and domestic violence that have happened on campus. Fortunately, the numbers are low. The percentage of students who reported dating violence in 2011 was only 6%, a figure which slowly decreased during 2012 to 2% reported before then rising to 3% reported in 2013. Stalking was reported to be 2% during 2012 and 1% in 2013. Domestic violence remained the same through the years of 2011-2013 , with three reports each year.

Though the number at UTM may be low, these numbers need to continue to decrease and hopefully eventually disappear. Violence is not acceptable by any means. That is rape culture.

Rape culture is mainly a weapon against women, as described by the VAWA, (Violence Against Women Act). Yet that is always not true to say, since we have prejudice against men as well, specifically against gay men. Violence against women and men need to stop, but stopping this problem is difficult if not everyone reports what’s going on behind closed doors.

Let’s start a conversation about rape culture and help stop the violence, double standards, victim blaming and slut shaming. We must restore the balance between men and women and set us as an equal. Let’s help end rape culture.

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