Rape Culture Proves There’s Still More To Go For Women

rape culture

Trigger Warning: I discuss rape culture in this article.  This is sensitive material.


I’ve heard people say that women have achieved equality in the United States, so women’s rights activists need to back off.  They say there’s no space for feminism (even positive feminism) anymore.  Personally, I’ve had comments from those asking me for proof that women still struggle.  I thought it was self-evident, but apparently not.

So here’s some proof:

There are hundreds of metrics you can still use to “prove” that women are still fighting to be viewed as human beings.  One of these metrics, and arguably one of the most important, is the fact that rape culture still permeates our “developed” nation.

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Some statistics tell you that 1 out of 6 women have been raped.  Others say 1 in 5.  While that seems bad enough, remember most women are too frightened or ashamed to report rape.  If all women were able to speak freely without repercussion, the stats would be altered to a terrifyingly high percentage.  Let’s be holistic in our approach – men get raped too.  But the stats are significantly lower. Approximately 9% of rape incidents happen to males.  That doesn’t lessen the fact that this is horrendous for them too.  It’s an issue that crosses gender lines, but women are being terrorized FAR more often.

Don’t be fooled, rape culture seeps much further than the violent act of rape.  Rape culture is found in a woman walking down a street.  She is sexually harassed by a man and has to make a decision.  Do I stand up for myself?  Or do I smile it off and not upset him?  This is an extremely difficult and degrading decision.

I was walking down Fremont Street in Las Vegas by myself during the day.  Two men walked up to me and started talking about my “sweet ass.”  This was no genuine and respectful comment.  This was harassment, and it scared me.  My gut reaction was to tell them to “f*ck off” – but my fear said, “Be polite, Taylor, be polite and stay safe.”  I sheepishly smiled at the men who were harassing me. I HATE THAT.  That is rape culture too.

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Thinking two steps ahead about where to park, figuring out how to get to safety before the sun goes down or how to make other men think your boyfriend is at home when he’s gone, being forced to stay inside until a potential predator walks away – These are things children must do.  When women are being forced to act like fragile children in this world, there is still a problem.

Lady Gaga recently wrote and released a disturbing and extremely important video about the mass occurrence of women being raped in college.  I’ll post it here and highly recommend that you watch it.  But know it is graphic and uncomfortable, and rape is depicted:

“Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels.  Until it happens to you, you won’t know, it won’t be real.”

To those needing PROOF that women are not equal in America – I could feed you statistics all day long, but that’s a drop in the bucket.  Statistics pale in comparison to the stories of women everywhere.  “What’s truer than truth? A story.” I’ve sat next to countless women who share their stories of harassment and sexual assault.  That’s where rape culture kills: in the stories, in the lives it crushes, in the individual woman who can’t breathe anymore. When we look outside America, the stories only grow in number with fewer options for hope.  It’s desperate.

When women are treated like objects, they’re stripped of humanity.  Crying for help isn’t about bashing men or saying that women should be better than men. Women’s stories are wrecked by rape culture; demanding an end to the violence isn’t being a “Femi-Nazi” – it’s a cry for our humanity!  

So feel free to wave your “You don’t need feminism. Women are already equal.” banner.  Instead, I’ll be waving the banner for the brave people and organizations that get their hands dirty to do something about this atrocity.  THE HOPE BRINGERS!!!  They are the people who don’t need statistics to prove what they heard from their sister or mother or cousin or friend.  They are the people saying: “I’m going to be a solution of hope.”  They are the people creating beautiful and brave art from a terrible global monstrosity – like my friend Kelly did with this incredible, raw, and enlightening poem “An Ode to the Rapist” (FOUND HERE).  I love and admire these people.

Here is a list of incredible organizations that are doing important things for women globally.

Here is the number of the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

And I still think this is best video EVER about what consent is – so great! “Unconscious people don’t want tea.” (Language warning)

11 thoughts on “Rape Culture Proves There’s Still More To Go For Women

  • September 23, 2015 at 9:50 am
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    Thanks for sharing this. Rape culture is so prevalent that it disturbs me. Most people look at it only in the instances that rape occur but it’s so much bigger than that and it needs to be recognized. It’s in how we speak, in how we act towards women and their clothing and decisions, it’s in how our legal system does nothing to deter crime. It’s disgusting and all too real. Heavy topic but thank you.

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    • September 23, 2015 at 11:24 am
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      I completely agree. It’s a big situation, a big problem.

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  • September 23, 2015 at 10:42 am
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    The video and song from lady gaga is tragically beautiful and really draws much needed attention to the rape culture that still exists in our society! it is able to persist because, like you mention, so many are still in denial that inequality is still a big problem here! Thank you for taking the time to talk about this important issue, I hope to raise my two sons to abhor rape culture and treat women as equals and with respect and hope things are better for my daughter’s generation than previous ones.

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    • September 23, 2015 at 11:25 am
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      Completely in agreement about the Lady Gaga song. I’m sure with a mom like you your boys will turn out to be jewels. I think it is so important for really good men to be speaking about this too.

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  • September 23, 2015 at 12:50 pm
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    Rape Culture is everywhere! It is so often overlooked or justified. Thank you for writing about this!

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  • September 23, 2015 at 1:45 pm
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    Let’s not forget all of the UNPROCESSED rape kits sitting in evidence lockers degrading every second that allows known rapists to roam free raping again and again.

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  • September 24, 2015 at 3:47 pm
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    Thank you for never fearing to “go there” in this space; I think this is really important to talk about, to remind ourselves that when we DON’T talk about it, that doesn’t mean it’s stopped happening.

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    • September 25, 2015 at 7:10 am
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      Thanks Emily! Great point – just because we ignore it does not mean it doesn’t exist!

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  • September 25, 2015 at 4:36 pm
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    Excellent article. I suspect these statistics are way off and the number of victims of sex assault is much higher. As a young police officer, I attended a get together where I was drugged and woke up with a friend of a friend trying to rape me. I didn’t know him. I’ll never know if he succeeded as I have no memory and I didn’t report it. I was too ashamed. My sister in the 6th grade was assaulted by a teacher repeatedly, yet it was not reported. Later, he would be convicted of dozens upon dozens of rapes. I have a daughter who was repeatedly raped, for five years, by her father as a child. Some folks wish to downplay this type of sexual assault and call it incest. I refuse to do so. Her father pled under Alford, but didn’t go to jail as he had an excellent attorney. (Who happens to be our district attorney now). This (incest), too, is part of the rape culture. I have several friends who have also been sexually assaulted. We have all gone on to be powerful, successful women. If you saw any of us, you’d not know we’d suffered such horrific injustices. However, no doubt these experiences left each of us with trust and betrayal issues. Thank you for keeping this subject in the forefront.

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    • September 29, 2015 at 12:30 pm
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      Thank you so much for sharing a part of your story (and the story of the women around you). It is incredibly powerful. I fully agree with your analysis!! It’s so important that we keep talking about this. It needs to be brought to light.

      Reply
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