Saturday, January 31, 2009

Rape culture

To be an equal in society one needs to be able to go where one chooses, feel free to speak up when needed, be taken seriously by others and be free from the fear of violence. Rape and the fear of rape are effective at keeping women from sharing the public world equally with men, an effective means of controlling women's lives. When women are asked if they tend to avoid certain activities such as going for a walk at night, going on a solo camping trip, at the back of their minds is the awareness of the possibility and the danger of rape. the vast majority admit to shaping and adjusting their activities around the fear of rape, even though they may not acknowledge it at the time. when men are asked the same question, the vast majority admit to never thinking about rape. To make matters worse, women routinely look to men for protection, frequently feeling safe only in the company of men. Incest is on the rise, which means even relatives can be perpetrators...
the adjustment to a rape culture is reinforced by the myths about rape. the notion that men cant help themselves, "its just biology" and that women are really the source of the problem "she was dressed provocatively" or "she really wanted it" resign us to accepting lives limited by masculine violence. Working class women and women of color are viewed as promiscuous and therefore not worthy of concern, an attitude that is reflected in a lack of response when they are raped. it ensures that women will look inward for explanation, in the form of self-blame, rather than outward in the form of holding men accountable for their actions. this way of looking at the world is reflected and reinforced throughout all levels of the media, both classical and popular.
On a daily basis i come in contact with clients who have been sexually assaulted and although it would be quick to lecture them that if they had dressed differently, or not been alone with their male friend, or walking alone in the dark it never would have happened, is irrelevent. A man doesnt rape because he is unable to control his sexual urges. If that was the case, he wouldnt put a condom on when he rapes a woman nor would he be able to stop if a police officer approached him and asked him what he was doing. In islam women dress modestly to protect their bodies from being looked at as sex objects and yes rape is low in islamic countries however the point is men need to be held accountable for their actions and the blame needs to be put on them, not the woman. Contempt, hostility and outright violence toward females can be found throughout the media, cartoons, comic strips, soap operas, and television in general, movies, advertising, novels, romance novels, talk shows, computer games, and the internet. Pornography is one example, but violent images are equally pervasive in mainstream media. Women are the gender most often exploited, manipulated, raped and violated bymen, yet one gets the impression from the media that men are the victims and women are the ones in control.

1 comment:

NiDa said...

wow. Powerful post sister! I absolutely have to agree. Sometimes I come across as some kind of 'feminist' or what ever they want to call me, but In the west this title is inescapable for women who want to protect their rights. For Muslims this is not needed for women have established rights since the 7th century - in the west it's a different story, though rape is not exclusive only to the west! Rape is not about sexuality it's about power and control. A rapist feels content that he can control his subject he can control the woman, while he could not exert his power in the same way with another man for example.

I would not however, disrule the women's play in such a scenario. In no way am I saying she wants it - but chances are a woman in a miniskirt and short shirt with tons of make up is going to be picked up sooner than one who is completely covered head to toe. So women have some accountability - though it's not their fault for being raped.

Why do women consent to appear in rap videos which demine their character and paint womanhood in a very ugly picture? as much as men are to blame - the rape culture you are talking about is also a fault of women who allow to be degraded!