By Jueseppi B.
My grandmother used to say to me 42 years ago…”boy, common sense ain’t so common at all.” I was 12 years old back then and whenever I was in trouble and having “the talk” with her about some thing I had done, those were words she managed to slide into “the talk.”
In 2013 those words are as relevant today as they were in 1971. I see not much common sense, logic or critical thinking in America.
These problems I am addressing in this post effect all of the planet, but I am addressing “America’s Rape Culture.”
Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, and trivializing rape. Rape culture has been used to model behavior within social groups, including prison systems and conflict areas where war rape is used as psychological warfare. Entire countries have also been alleged to be rape cultures. Although the concept of rape culture is used in feminist academia, there is disagreement over what defines a rape culture and to what degree a given society meets the criteria to be considered a rape culture.
Rape culture has been observed to correlate with other social factors and behaviors. Research identifies correlation between rape myths, victim blaming and trivialization of rape with increased incidence of racism, homophobia, ageism, classism, religious intolerance and other forms of discrimination.
- 1 Origins and usage
- 2 Theory and manifestations
- 3 Victim blaming and slut shaming
- 4 Sexual assault advocacy and treatment
- 5 Criticisms
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
Emily Yoffe Responds to Her Critics
By Emily Yoffe
I wrote a story whose message is obvious: The campus culture of binge drinking is toxic, and many rapists prey on drunk young women. I said that when women lose the capacity to be responsible for their actions, sexual predators target them for attack. As banal as these observations are, I knew this story would result in a torrent of outrage. Torrent it has been, so I wanted to characterize the responses and reply to some of my many critics. But it’s hard for me to know what to say when my story deploring the all-too-common sexual assault of women gets described inFeministing as “a rape denialism manifesto.” It’s also discouraging to see willful distortion of what I wrote, of which there was much. I never said in my piece that women shouldn’t drink, only that they shouldn’t get drunk to the point of incapacitation. So it’s baffling that that the Daily Mail would claim I said, “Don’t drink if you don’t want to get raped.
The overwhelming majority of critics accused me of blaming the victim and promoting “rape culture.” They were outraged that my message about drinking was primarily aimed at women. I said in my piece, “The culture of binge drinking—whose pinnacle is the college campus—does not just harm women” and cited the injury both young men and women suffer. But I focused on a danger that overwhelmingly affects women: rape. Because of the strong evidence that intoxication and sexual assault are linked and that a kind of predator seeks out intoxicated women, I concentrated on informing young women that avoiding incapacitation could help them stay safe. But there was extreme offense taken to the idea that women should change their behavior in any way to protect themselves. One college professor summed it up when she wrote to me, “to reiterate the old Puritan line that women need to restrain and modify their pleasure-seeking behaviors is a big step backward.” Apparently I was mistaken that it is common sense to acknowledge that part of growing up for all is recognizing dangers and learning to restrain one’s pleasure-seeking behaviors in order to better avoid them.
Many others said I should have written a piece not focusing on women, but on men, who, after all, are the rapists. I did note in the story the importance of rape education—especially teaching young men and women what consent means and that a highly intoxicated woman can’t give it. But I agree with critics that the education of men is an important issue and I should have hit it harder. However, the argument went beyond that to declare that when it comes to sexual assault, women’s behavior is a verboten topic and the only thing to discuss is men. Many said college women don’t need to change their drinking habits—what has to change is a male culture of sexual entitlement. No doubt that culture should change, but at best it will do so slowly and incompletely. In the meantime, this weekend, some young, intoxicated women will wake up next to guys they never wanted to sleep with. I believe it’s worth talking about how keeping within a safe drinking limit can potentially help young women avoid such situations.
Critics, by the dozen, asserted my story should have consisted of the one simple, utopian message. Here’s a typical email: “Men should NOT RAPE. Period. End of story.” My Slate colleague, Amanda Hess, in her rebuttal to my piece, had a more sophisticated take. She wrote, “We can prevent the most rapes on campus by putting our efforts toward finding and punishing those perpetrators, not by warning their huge numbers of potential victims to skip out on parties.” I certainly think resources should be put toward finding and punishing rapists, but prosecutors, whose job it is to convict people of crimes, have a difficult time bringing cases of alcohol-facilitated sexual assault. Many college-student victims bring their complaint not to the police, but to campus authorities. It’s highly unlikely college administrators will do better than the criminal justice system at adjudicating these cases. So I remain puzzled why people would attack me for looking for ways to reduce the number of victims. And since I encouraged responsible drinking in my piece, it is simply a mischaracterization for Hess to say I said suggested women “skip out on parties.”
Hess writes that I harm college women by telling them that not getting drunk will decrease their chances of getting raped. She explains that this is because women who are raped suffer psychologically, often blaming themselves. That’s painfully true, and I want the blame squarely on the rapist. But it is a natural, human response after a terrible event to wonder if it could have been avoided. It seems counterproductive to say that in order to try to make victims less burdened by these feelings, we shouldn’t arm women with information about how to avoid being victims in the first place. I made a statement about wanting to warn women that there are rapists who use alcohol, not violence, to commit their crimes. In response, Hess says I’m trying to spread the idea that rape is not a violent crime if alcohol is involved. Let me clarify. I was describing a type of predator—not well enough known by the public and especially by young women—who does not brandish a weapon or twist arms to subdue his victim. She is already subdued by intoxication, and he often is able to simply lead her home where he then commits his assault.
I quoted University of Virginia Law professor Anne Coughlin in the piece about the need to tell young women they should protect themselves. After the article came out, a young woman wrote to Coughlin expressing concerns about this message. Coughlin replied to her in part:
Heavy consumption of alcohol and rape go hand-in-hand. The correlation is staggering, much too significant to ignore. And the women who are raped are hurt—very, very badly—so I have come to believe that I must give that practical advice, when people ask me the question … Over the years, I have had students tell me that feminists were doing them a disservice by not raising these questions. One student told me that she had been taught that we were living in a brave, new world for women, that women could drink as much as they wanted and that the women would be safe, that the law would somehow keep them safe. She and her friends learned, through hard experience, that the law—and new feminist views—could do no such thing, and she wished that she had received a more subtle, nuanced message about how to proceed in a changing culture.
Since the initial backlash against me, there’s been a growing backlash to the backlash. I am starting to hear from people who agree with me. One mother wrote, “My gut was to scream ‘victim blamer,’ then I read the article. I’m putting it aside for my girls when they get older.” Another woman thanked me and said she has to keep quiet about her reaction. She is a rape crisis advocate who’s worked with many intoxicated victims. She wants to warn young women about the perils of getting drunk but doesn’t know how to tell students “such risky behaviors can get them into trouble.” She says, “It shouldn’t be a controversial message, and the fact that it is disturbs me so much.” She acknowledges, “It’s an issue that’s so fraught with defensiveness and fear that it makes me feel like I’m walking on eggshells mentally.”
If this woman were to speak up, she’d be accused of being part of the “rape culture”—one of those elastic terms that’s used as a cudgel to shut people up. But when a woman who is counseling victims of rape feels constrained from giving practical advice to young women about the beneficial effects of keeping their wits about them, we really have a problem in the culture.
The need to close down discourse on difficult subjects was another popular response to my piece. This was best summed up in Jezebel’s rebuttal to my story, which stated: “DON’T write ‘how not to get raped’ columns in the first place.” It’s unfortunate that instead of wanting to engage in discussion of complicated, sensitive topics, a fellow journalist would prefer to dictate that only certain points of view are ideologically acceptable. As I was working on this story, several of my friends counseled me not do it. Talking about things women can do to protect themselves from rape is the third rail, they said. But why be a journalist unless you’re willing to dig into difficult subjects and report your findings? My story churned up a lot of outrage, but I remain hopeful it will start some conversations and prevent at least some sexual assaults.
I’m not an expert parenting professional but I have more common sense than the average bear and my common sense tells me this “American Rape Culture” is a phrase created by some idiot to excuse raping women/girls and in some cases even men/boys. It is devoid of common sense, logic and critical thinking to label rape as a culture.
It’s a crime. A felony. It is NOT a fuckin culture.
My solution for rape is pretty simple, and pretty barbaric. You rape and get convicted, you get castrated. Issue solved. I bet you Mitt Romney’s $10,000 that rapes drop drastically….if not disappear altogether. Rapist won’t rape if their penis is removed for forcibly inserting that penis where it does not belong.
There is no such thing as a “Rape Culture” in America. What there is in America is a lack of parenting. Parents don’t spend time being parents, parents believe that once you have a baby, the duties of being a parent then transfer to others to raise, teach, nurture guide, train that baby. We blame schools, teachers, society and peers for a parents lack of time, education and patience with their own children.
Parenting is not the only issue that allows rapist to rape and then go free. Our American justice system, which is loaded with male judges and male prosecutors, is insensitive to the crime of rape. When a judge can say a girl “wanted it”, or that a young girl was aware of what she was doing at age 14. When a judge hands a school teacher, who raped his student and she commits suicide, 30 days county jail time….THAT male judge AND the American justice system is criminal itself.
Here’s some advice for “America’s Rape Culture” parents: Teach your male children respect and admiration for ALL females no matter age, position or appearance. Educate your male children that forcing themselves on a female is a crime punishable by prison, where they very well may experience rape on their own virgin anuses. Explain to your male children that you, their loving parents, will NOT under any circumstances defend them, protect them or lie for them in defense of the crime of rape.
Tell them if they do the crime, expect to do the time with no support from mom & dad. If these same parents have a female child in the home, this should be common sense, logic & critical thinking.
You want to change this “Rape Culture In America”, follow these simple rules: 1) Castrate ALL convicted rapists. 2) Hold BOTH parents responsible for their child’s crime of rape. That includes prison time. (as a parent, parents are responsible for the actions of their children) 3) When a justice system fails the woman raped and she gets no justice, send those criminal justice system professionals to prison. 4) Educate ALL law enforcement, legal, judicial & medical professionals about how to treat and care for raped humans.
To those who will criticize this post and my suggestions on how to stop “America’s Rape Culture”….come see me when your daughter, aunt, mother, sister, grandmother, niece, friend, wife, girlfriend, fiancé is the victim of a rape.
There is no nationally accepted definition of rape in the United States, instead each state has their own laws. These definitions can vary considerably, but most of them do not use the term rape any more, instead using, “sexual assault”, “criminal sexual conduct”, “sexual abuse”, “sexual battery”, etc. There is, however, one universal definition of rape throughout the United States Military in the United States Uniform Code of Military Justice [Title 10, Subtitle A, Chapter 47X, Section 920, Article 120], which defines rape as:
(a) Rape.— Any person subject to this chapter who commits a sexual act upon another person by —
(1) using unlawful force against that other person;
(2) using force causing or likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm to any person;
(3) threatening or placing that other person in fear that any person will be subjected to death, grievous bodily harm, or kidnapping;
(4) first rendering that other person unconscious; or
(5) administering to that other person by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or consent of that person, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance and thereby substantially impairing the ability of that other person to appraise or control conduct;
is guilty of rape and shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
Nearly 90,000 people reported being raped in the United States in 2008. There is an arrest rate of 25%. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics states that 91% of rape victims are female and 9% are male, and 99% of rapists are male, using the definition of rape as penetration by the perpetrator.
According to the American Medical Association (1995), sexual violence, and rape in particular, is considered the most under-reported violent crime.
The most common reasons given by victims for not reporting rapes are the belief that it is a personal or private matter, and that they fear reprisal from the assailant.
Main article: Rape in the United States
The U.S Bureau of Justice Statistics, which defines rape as penetration by the offender, states that 91% of rape victims are female and 9% are male, and 99% of rapists are male. One of six U.S. women has experienced an attempted or completed rape. More than a quarter of college age women report having experienced a rape or rape attempt since age 14. Some types of rape are excluded from official reports altogether (the FBI’s definition, for example, used to exclude all rapes except forcible rapes of females), because a significant number of rapes go unreported even when they are included as reportable rapes, and also because a significant number of rapes reported to the police do not advance to prosecution. As well as the large number of rapes that go unreported, only 25% of reported rapes result in arrest. Many rape kits are not tested. Only 16% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police (Rape in America: A Report to the Nation. 1992 and United Nations Populations Fund, 2000a).[ Factoring in unreported rapes, about 5% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail.
Contrary to widespread belief, rape outdoors is rare. Over two thirds of all rapes occur in someone’s home. 31% occur in the perpetrators’ homes, 27% in the victims’ homes and 10% in homes shared by the victim and perpetrator. 7% occur at parties, 7% in vehicles, 4% outdoors and 2% in bars. From 2000–2005, 59% of rapes were not reported to law enforcement. One factor relating to this is the misconception that most rapes are committed by strangers.
RAINN: The nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. One of “America’s 100 Best Charities”
- 44% of victims are under age 18
- 80% are under age 30
Sexual Assault Numbers
- Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted
- There is an average of 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of sexual assault each year
Reporting to Police
- 54% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police
- 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail
- Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim
- 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance
National Sexual Assault Hotline | 1.800.656.HOPE(4673) | Free. Confidential. 24/7.
Low estimate of the number of women , according to the Department of Justice, raped every year: 300,00
High estimate of the number of women raped, according to the CDC: 1.3 million
Percentage of rapes not reported: 54 percent
A woman’s chance of being raped in the U.S.: 1 in 5
Chances that a raped woman conceives compared to one engaging in consensual sex: at least two times as likely
Number of women in the US impregnated against their will each year in the U.S. as a result of rape: 32,000
Number of states in which rapists can sue for custody and visitation: 31
Chances that a woman’s body “shuts that whole thing down“: 0 in 3.2 billion
Rank of U.S. in the world for rape: 13th
A woman’s chance of being raped in college: 1 in 4 or 5
Chances that a Native American woman in the U.S. will be raped: 1 in 3
Percentage of women in Alaska who have suffered sexual assault: 37 percent
Number of adult men accused of repeatedly gang raping 11-year-old girl in Texas: 14
Quote in the New York Times regarding the rape: “They said she dressed older than her age.”
Age of woman raped in Central Park in September, 2012: 73
U.S. state in which, in September 2012, mentally disabled rape victim was required to provide evidence of her “kicking, biting, scratching” in objection to her rape: Connecticut
State seeking to reduce childcare welfare benefits to women cannot provide proof of their pregnancy-causing rapes: Pennsylvannia
Percentage of sexual assault and rape victims under the age of 12: 15 percent
Percentage of men who have been raped: 3 percent
Percentage of rapists who are never incarcerated: 97 perent
Percentage of rapes that college students think are false claims: 50 percent
Percentage of rapes that studies find are false claims: 2-8 percent
Number of rapes reported in the military last year: 16,500
Pentagon’s estimated percentage of military assuaults not reported: 80-90 percent
Percentage of military rape victims who were gang raped/raped more than once: 14%/20%
Percentage of military rape victims that are men: 8-37 percent
Chances an incarcerated person is raped in the U.S.: 1 in 10
Increase in chance that LGTB prisoner is raped: 15x greater chance
Number of rapes noted in commonly used World War II statistics: 0
Number of rapes of WWII concentration camp inmates: Untallied millions
Number of rapes of German women by Russian soldiers at the end of WWII: between 1m and 2m
Number of women raped in 1990s Bosnian conflict: 60,000+
Number of women raped per hour in Congo during war: 48
Country where 12 year old was forced to participate in the rape of his mother: U.S.
Country where women are imprisoned for being raped: Afghanistan
Age of Moroccan rape victim who committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist: 16
Worldwide number of “child brides” under the age of 18 forced to marry every day: 25,000
Ages of girls forced to marry a 59-year-old at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministry in Arkansas: 8, 14, 15
Estimated number of people, primarily children, sexually abused by priests in the U.S. versus the number of senior Catholic officials found guilty of sexual abuse related crimes in the U.S.: 10,667 to 1
Chances that a woman in the U.S. is raped versus gets breast cancer: 2 to 1
Percentage of victims of rape who report the use of a weapon: 11 percent
Prison sentences for four men found guilty of participating in gang rapes of two teenage girls in France over two years: one year, six months, suspended sentence
State where in 2012 a doctor is facing the loss of her medical license for providing an abortion to a pregnant10-year old incest rape victim: Kansas
Country where doctors (but not the rapist) were excommunicated for performing a life-saving abortion to nine-year-old incest rape victim: Brazil
Recent Related Post:
Trista Hendren, author, feminist and co-founder of Rapebook, discusses Facebook’s issue of child sex abuse images and human trafficking
Republican ‘War On Women’ – ‘Tea Party: Impregnated Rape Victims Who Abort Should Be Jailed As Long As Their Rapist’
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