First things first, it is important to understand what the terms rape and rape culture truly mean. Many people see the two terms and interchangeable. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Rape Addendum, rape is defined as “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim” (Rape Addendum). Meaning, that any sort of nonconsensual sex is and should be considered rape. Rape culture on the other hand, is a term coined by feminists in the 1970’s. According to Women Against Violence Against Women, rape culture is “the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence.” In simpler terms, it is society 's way of justifying sexual violence towards women.
Rape culture through American History
80-year-old historical definition of rape which was “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” Effectively, the revised definition expands rape to include both male and female victims and offenders, and reflects the various forms of sexual penetration understood to be rape, especially nonconsenting acts of sodomy, and sexual assaults with objects. (Rape Addendum)
Rape stats over time
Redefining Rape: Sexual Violence in the Era of Suffrage and Segregation
America has become known for its...
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“The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations. ( Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie )” Taking a step back, it is clear that rape culture is not a part of our society that will change anytime soon. Nonetheless, it is important to recognize the role that we play in institutionalizing rape. We have become blinded by the presence of sex in the media and there is a lack of awareness in terms of rape in our society. This, in turn, has led to a belief that most rape crimes are more or less victimless. As a society it is time to enact change, promote truly equal gender equality, and create an environment where the victims are free from shame and prosecution.
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