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How Rape Culture Contributes To The Prevalence Of Rape

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Rape culture is the normalization of violent sexual acts and abuse. Without even realizing it, this society has turned into ones of prey and predator. Wild animals on the loose looking for release within its prey. All around people find themselves to be shocked and disgusted by the existence of rape, when they themselves, unknowingly, foster acts of rape. Rape culture has somehow slipped its way into our ways of existing, making it harder and harder to escape these tormenting acts. Starting from the gender roles developed in the past, history of rape, victim blaming and much more. Without realizing how rape culture is woven into our society we can never begin to extinguish the prevalence of these acts.

Though society’s current state is the main issue at hand, rape culture is dated back centuries and centuries in the past. Beginning in 1642, rape first became acknowledged world-wide as an issue that should be mentioned in laws. Backed up English common law, the American colonies passed a statue deeming a male’s carnal copulation with any person under specific restricts, illegal (James 234). This would seem like a step in the right direction when it came to safety and protection of all victims, but it wasn’t. The “specific restricts” that would deem this act illegal are: if the woman is under 10 years old, if the victim is a female, if there was physical violence used during the act against the will of the woman, and more (James 234). The issue with these restrictions is that it invalidates the rape of males, same sex rape and any other rape not included in the set. It makes it extremely difficult for a case to be considered an actual rape. Moving forward into the 1900s, rape laws were beginning to modify themselves. Though the laws were being modified to support victims better, the citizens and people involved in these acts weren’t. Rapes committed by people close to the victim, such as date partners and family members, were entirely disregarded by the public and the government. Everyone was soon turning a blind eye to an act that could never be forgotten.

Rape culture has several faces, some too ugly to forgive. One of the few is victim blaming emphasized amongst people in the eyes of the public. A rape case involving famous basketball player, Kobe Bryant, was recently released to the public. The facts of the case are the basketball player brought an underage girl to a hotel he was staying at. When the girl was ready to leave the hotel, Bryant blocked her path forced himself on her while she continuously pleaded in objection (Rape Culture R9). When news of this was released, instead of going after Bryant, the public blamed the girl for going to his hotel, claiming she should have expected it to happen. When the trial was over the victim was left with a lifetime trauma while her attacker received sympathy from the press and no consequence to his career. This is what rape culture truly looks like. The victim getting the short end of the stick. This case doesn’t go unnoticed. With Bryant being such a big figure, millions of people have heard the case and realized what happens in similar situations. Because Bryant was able to get away with such a large offense, people of the same character will believe they can get away with it as well, thus turning into more rape cases. This issue will continue to present itself if rape culture is not put to a stop.

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Gender roles and power imbalances amongst the sexes are a great contribution to rape culture and the prevalence of rape itself. From very early in history, men and women were taught to accept completely different roles. While women took on the quiet and passive roles, men took the aggressive and violent roles. Women were conditioned to take up less space in a setting where a man was present, while men boisterously made their presence clear. Society constantly insisted that this is right way to live. So in a relationship between a man and woman where the woman assumes the subordinate role, rape only seems a like logical extension of the power imbalance and usual interactions between them (Power Imbalances). Because of these gender roles, in many sexual assault situations, women feel as if they can’t speak out against what is happening to them. That it’s considered “unladylike” or “inappropriate” to do so. Men’s aggressive and dominating traits lead them to most likely being the perpetrator in a case with a vulnerable victim. It’s in their nature to have that controlling trait to them. Because of the roles they were conditioned to accept as young kids. Adults are unknowingly adding to rape culture by teaching these roles to their children. In order to begin turning around the darkness that comes with rape, people must begin to change their opinions and views on gender roles. In the people’s plaza on November 30th 2019, a peaceful protest took place in honor a person who was raped and killed on the outskirts of India (Hanging rapists not enough). To ensure that rape doesn’t continue, it’s necessary to extinguish rape culture which is fueled by society’s view on gender roles.

When speaking on rape and rape culture, feminists tend to be on top of the matter. Feminism is known as advocacy for women’s rights. While rape isn’t only a woman centered crime, women tend to be the majority of the victims. Many in advocacy for feminism are the ones trying to dismantle the existence of rape culture. In this process there are many that are still skeptical about the reality of rape culture. Many of the common views of these critics are that it’s feminist hysteria, and that only women acknowledge its existence (STIEBERT 63). That feminists created rape culture in their heads to create a climate of fear. While this could be possible in other circumstances, the widespread acceptance of rape culture makes that statement invalid. Throughout the world rape culture has shown its face in the thousands of rape cases that ended with the perpetrator being free, blaming the victim, insensitive rape jokes passed along school hallways and much more. Due to critics refusing to acknowledge its existence, they’ve become the perfect example of why it’s still prominent in today’s society.

In concluding rape culture has been around for centuries. That being said it will be very difficult to erase its existence completely. Dismantling gender roles and letting people act as equals instead of one being higher than the other is a good start. Getting rid of rape culture is extremely necessary when trying to decrease the amount of sexual assault acts. These acts cause the victims to lose all peace within themselves, their physical and mental health depletes, and they could even lose the support of their families. The effort to get rid of this toxic culture is so future generations can grow up in a society where vicious acts like this aren’t being normalized. A world where girls and boys can walk the earth safely without worrying about being violated.

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How Rape Culture Contributes To The Prevalence Of Rape. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 26, 2023, from
“How Rape Culture Contributes To The Prevalence Of Rape.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022,
How Rape Culture Contributes To The Prevalence Of Rape. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Sept. 2023].
How Rape Culture Contributes To The Prevalence Of Rape [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2023 Sept 26]. Available from:
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