Essay about Rape Culture Within The United States

Essay about Rape Culture Within The United States

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As discussed in my exploratory paper over the possibility of a rape culture existing in the U.S., the conversations surrounding this idea often splits feminists (and other advocates) over the label’s legitimacy. The general consensus of the debate surrounding rape culture seems to rest on two sides: some feminists believe we have aspects of society that normalize sexual violence, particularly rape, while other advocates and feminists believe that while the U.S. has barriers to overcome in decreasing sexual violence, rape culture is an exaggerated way to label those barriers. In my research, my loudest proponent of a rape culture existing in the U.S. is Kate Harding, whose book Asking for It: Slut-Shaming, Victim-Blaming, and How We Can Change America’s Rape Culture delivers an analytical assessment about what aspects of U.S. society allow “rape culture” to flourish. Coming out against the label rape culture, would be libertarian feminist Wendy McElroy and the organization Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network known as RAINN both echo the sentiments of the basic idea that our focus should not be placed on cultural factors, but the number of individuals that chose to knowingly commit rape.
In response, to the research I’ve read so far, I intend to argue in my research paper that while it is no doubt the United States has taken great measures to ensure sexual violence is a crime punishable by law, certain aspects of society have allowed a “rape culture” to flourish. The defining aspect of a rape culture is often the blaming of victims. Too often victims are confronted with a reproachful line of questioning that shifts focus from the perpetrator of the sexual assault, but on the victim. In the book Asking For it by Kate Harding, ...


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...g sexual assault or rape? Does this trivialization allow in a way for there to be a “grey area” in discerning what constitutes as rape and what doesn’t? As Sally Kohn, notes in her article for CNN, many instances of sexual assault involved multiple bystanders, but not one intervened to halt the crime, in some of these instances the crime was either captured on video or photographed.
In essence, acknowledging the notion of a rape culture in the United States is pertinent for the advancement in preventing sexual violence. An unstable environment for victims to come forward, low prosecutions of rape, extruding rape myths that deter progress, and aspects of pop culture, all of this can allow a rape culture to flourish. As a society, we must acknowledge the cultural factors that can influence sexual violence, if we ever want to continue to decrease this type of violence.

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