Combating Rape Culture And Victim Blaming

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Rape culture creates a society that disregards people’s rights and safety while victim-blaming attitudes marginalize the victims that make it harder for victims to come forward and report the abuse that they have experienced. We have to be a society that does not support rape culture and will continue to change the societal norms.

Bates, compiled tweets of women about how rape and rape culture impacts women’s lives. *shows materials* One of those tweets said, “Followed to home from primary school by a gang of boys saying they’d rape me -- didn’t know what it meant but I was scared, I ran”. Some people do not know what rape means or how can someone even consider an act as rape. According to The United States Department of Justice, FBI Director Robert Mueller, defined rape as “The 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.” Day by day, there are victims of this horrible act. We should just not know its definition or its facts. We should see its disturbing reality. Rape is not just forcible intercourse; it means to inhabit and destroy everything.

According to Southern Connecticut State University, “Rape Culture is an environment where rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence is normalized and excused and sometimes ignored in the media and popular culture”. With these, sexual assault can be disregarded with jokes or excuses, even used in a text or chat lines or displayed across a T-shirt, even embedded on the lyrics of songs that are very popular today. There are dominant social norms that degrade, ignore, make fun of or even seem to tolerate rape and sexual assault. This normalization of rape and sexual assault are so great that often victims are blamed, either implicitly or explicitly, when these crimes are committed against them. Our society has created a culture in which factors such as media objectification make it easier to view other people as dehumanized objects that are for sexual purposes alone. (3-second pause)

Now, victim blaming. According to Schoellkopf, “Victim-blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or abuse is held partly or entirely responsible for the actions committed against them. In other words, the victims are held accountable for the maltreatment they have been subjected to.” Even though a crime was committed against someone, people have the tendency to blame the victim rather than the perpetrator for the crime that was committed to them. By saying, “It wouldn’t happen if you were more careful or none of this would’ve happened if you didn’t provoke the abuser.”, we assume that the victim is equally to blame for the abuse they experienced. People reassure themselves by thinking and saying, “Because I am not like that and because I do not do that, whatever happened to him or her, would never happen to me.” We need to help people with this mentality realize that this is never a helpful reaction -- it just makes the situation worst.

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But, why? Why do other people see all these things lightly as if they are not affecting the rights and dignity of a person? To define manhood as something that is sexually aggressive and dominant? To define womanhood as submissive and sexually passive? Because of the pressure on men to score? Or because of the pressure on women to not appear cold? Regardless of the reason, all of these should come to an end. This is not just for the women but for all the people regardless of gender, age and nationality, who have experienced the same abuse just like how we think women have it and encounter it.

Rape culture and victim blaming exist because by doing these, we think that we have distanced the abuser and the blamer from an unpleasant occurrence which confirms their own invulnerability to the risk of being abused by pointing out that the victim have done something wrong. By having these attitudes, we are tolerating these violent acts which may result in the increasing of rape and sexual abuse incidents because people view rape as something normal and not a serious act that is punishable. According to CNN Philippines, police records show that one woman or child is raped every hour in the Philippines as cited in the Center for Women’s Resources. Reports show that from January to October 2017, there were 7,037 reported rape cases nationwide. These are just the reported cases. What about the cases where the victims weren’t able to speak out? Do we still want this number to increase?

This mentality let the victims have the feeling that speaking up wouldn’t be safe thinking that what happened to them should be blamed to themselves. Imagine the pain and suffering that they have been through and still going through because of people ignoring and setting aside the issue.

We can do something to stop these misconducts to fight, protect, and uphold the rights and dignity of a person. As a person who is concerned for the welfare of others, we should avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women. Be an active citizen who is ready to speak out if you ever hear someone making an offensive joke or is trivializing rape. If someone talks about that he or she is experiencing abuse, take them seriously and report to the elders and authority to hold the abuser accountable of their actions. Don’t let these people make excuses like blaming the victim, alcohol or drugs. Be mindful, sensitive, and respectful of others’ personal space even in casual situations. Be brave and stand up for yourselves. Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.

Rape culture and the practice of victim blaming are inherently linked phenomena and both are very rampant in our society. These strongly affects how the victims see themselves, the system against violence and abuse and the treatment of the people to the victims.

Rape… Abuse… Violence… Victim… As these words start to lose meaning, it becomes harder to object to rape culture and victim blaming. Worst of all, the normalized and widespread nature of rape culture and victim-blaming makes it increasingly hard for victims to speak and stand up for themselves as they learn to believe that they won’t be taken seriously. Let’s be one in this fight. Let us stop turning a blind eye. Rape is rape that is why we must never stand idly by and watch it happen and let the victims suffer. Stop Rape Culture and Victim Blaming.

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