Before feminism in the 19th century, society holds an old concept of gender inequality and gender roles; they did not respect the marginalized groups such as women and other racial groups. Men, in general, considered women as property. Sadly, over the years, even after the emergence of feminism—where people are now actively doing something to promote rights equality in all the concept persists; women are still objectified.
U.S. feminists coined the term ‘rape culture’ for the first time in the 1970s. Emillie Buchwald (1994) in her book Transforming a Rape Culture described rape culture as: “ a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women.” However, we ‘do note’ that men are also victims, truly everyone is, but the majority of victims of sexual violence are women. Rape Culture according to Kacmarek and Geffre (2013) in Rape Culture is: Know it when You See It in Huffington Post, Lynn M. Phillips stated that rape culture is a society in which dominant cultural values, media images, social practices, and social structures promote and endorse sexual abuse by ‘normalizing and eroticizing male violence against women and blaming victims for their own abuse.’
Rape culture exists because we refuse to believe that it does, which is why it’s important for us to know about it. We have all been socialized into a society that accepts, normalizes, and ads humor to sexual assault. By excusing acts such as catcalling, rape jokes, and victim-blaming, it supports violence against not only women but against all possible victims of abuse. Without us realizing it, this evil culture widely spreads in our community in many forms; images, jokes, TV shows, advertisements, and so on.
Rape culture is also becoming increasingly rampant in the Philippines, with even our president telling rape jokes, students sharing nude pictures of them or other students, and men masturbating in jeepneys while staring at women. And to bear sad news, the 2016 Philippine National Police records showed that there were 7,037 reports of rape, implying that 1 Filipino is raped every hour. However, a study by the U.S. Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) estimated that only 31% of cases were reported to police, and a measly 0.6% of offenders go to prison. This demonstrates that there is a need to improve our justice system and the way we handle rape cases. More attention needs to be given to this disease of an ideology.
Too few of a few people are beginning to take rape and sexual violence more seriously and the rest are just standing on the sidelines watching it happen. Too many victims have suffered, now it is etched in our minds that these occurrences are “just the way things are.’ but No it is a terrible and sickening way of thinking. As said by Prochuk (2013) rape culture persists, and “it is a root cause of violence and devastating form of violence in its own right”.
Our society normalized sexual violence as men’s basic instinct, and everything will come back to women’s fault for the violence that afflicted them. This is what we call victim-blaming. Rape culture tells women to cover their body parts, to cover up and wear ‘proper’ clothes, to not be seductive and appealing to men, and to always be careful because they are vulnerable. Rape culture teaches young girls not to get raped, instead of teaching young boys not to rape, giving women tips and tricks on how not to be raped, and so on, it’s like emphasizing that the responsibility of rape (or being raped) always lays on the hands of women, That the main reason for rape is women, and the fact that it is always the fault of women for being raped, we call this slut-shaming.
In the end, none of the rape prevention falls on the responsibility of the perpetrators – therapists. This just goes to show that we are very apologetic about rapists blaming everything but themselves – their surroundings, their peers, their past experiences, even the victim – and that we sometimes justify their actions and see them as the “real victims.” The truth is, there is no one to blame but therapists because it’s as easy as RESPECT and “NO MEANS NO”, but we fail to see this. Why? Just because they are our sons? Our fathers? Our good friends? Best friends? Our authorities? But what about our sisters? Mothers? The Victims who kept their mouths closed, minds shut as they were violated again and again in their minds, who had to live through if they are strong enough to the fact that this happened to them? Sadly victims of rape culture today usually and immediately resort to suicide without resorting to help, this is because of the violation and the humiliation that comes after, also caused by rape culture.
Rape culture is truly a terrible thing to live with, not just for women but for everyone else, yet not much importance is given, but our silence helps rapists get away with it. With all of that being said, Rape IS NOT A JOKE. Rape culture is a mean problem that has basic solutions. Adults should teach young children respect, Parents and Teachers should discuss matters of sex and hormones with teenagers and sex is for married couples only and that it must always be consensual, and as for each and every one of us, especially to my peers, sex is a God-given gift for married couples that we should not abuse, we should learn to have self-control and self-respect.
By doing these things, we would be able to gain personal, social, and global benefits. First, we would all feel more secure in our surroundings. Everyone would be able to wear and do what they want to, without being looked down on by society. We would all grow up to be more respectful towards others, allowing us to build stronger relationships.
Second, we would be able to protect the next generations from suffering the struggles that we face today, resulting in an improved justice system, one with better laws regarding rape and one that doesn’t discriminate against others.
Let’s start with ourselves to change rape culture for the better and eventually may even get rid of rape culture for good.