Please note that this take is purely commentary on what I personally believe is rape culture. I understand that this term is something that is defined differently by everyone and like most things, cannot operate under a black and white glass.
This Take is prompted by Brock Turner's release from prison today. For those of you who have not heard of the incident, Brock Turner was a 20 year old swimmer who swam for Stanford University in California CA before his arrest. He was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person; penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object; and penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. Even without a rape charge (which in California is specifically defined as penetration with a penis) these hold a maximum jail sentence of 14 years, but he was sentenced to 6 months, and released in 3.
Brock Turner was defended by his father saying that 20 minutes of "action" should not define the rest of his life and that a full jail sentence would impact his progression and future opportunities. With no indication or recognition of the impact on the victim and how those 20 minutes for her, likely will affect the rest of her life. That is rape culture, that even in this confirmed case of sexual assault, more consideration and pardons were given to the perpetrator than to the victim. Even in his statements in court, there was no recognition of wrongdoing aside from admittance that he was drunk. An unconscious woman cannot give consent.
So what is rape culture exactly? The best definition I've come across, is: Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable. A quick google search brings up pages and pages of memes that make a joke of rape.
To me, this is what rape culture is:
Rape culture is when a man expects his wife to have sex with him whenever he wants because they're married, and he's entitled to it regardless of whether or not she wants it.
Rape culture is when a victim is asked whether or not he or she wore anything or said anything that could have been construed as an invitation rather than understanding that they had explicitly said no, or never actually agreed in any way or form to sexual activities.
Rape culture is when a partner in a relationship is coerced into losing their virginity early or having sex with their partner unwillingly because that's how "relationships should be" and are pressured into sex in order to "save their relationship".
Rape culture is when girls in schools are sent home for wearing leggings or shorts/skirts that don't go past their knees because it can be "distracting" for boys.
Rape culture is when society is more focused on teaching women how not to get raped rather than teaching men not to rape.
Rape culture is assuming that men cannot get raped. For me, any unwanted and forced sexual acts are considered rape. Whether a man or a woman commits it, is completely irrelevant.
Rape culture is when more than half of real rape cases are not reported because of fear of the process the victim will be put through, the interrogation, the ridicule, the distrust of the system.
Rape culture is when people use "raped" as a term of achieving significant victory in video games or sports.
Rape culture is when people refuse to date victims and see them as "broken goods", perpetuating the idea that there is something inherently wrong with them. Victims did not chose to be victims.
Rape culture is defining “manliness” as dominant and sexually aggressive and “womanliness” as submissive and sexually passive.
Rape culture is turning a blind eye and conditioning ourselves to acceptance because in other cultures "it's normal".
Rape culture is assuming when you go out that every nicely dressed guy or girl is looking for a hookup or someone to go home with at the end of the night. Rape culture is what I've personally seen going out in New York, at the end of the night, at 3am, when all the guys who didn't get a girl in the club mill around outside and chat up every single girl that walks out trying to take them home.
Rape culture was when I was called a bitch for turning down a man's sexual advances after I had said NICELY that I was not interested and I had a boyfriend and I was out only to celebrate a friend's birthday, and also having him tell me that I've probably never been fucked right but he could show me what it'd be like.
Rape culture is when I'm dancing with a guy and on multiple occasions and with multiple people, they've tried to finger me under my dress and pull me back when I walked away.
Rape culture is all of these things and more, and needs to change. How? That's a discussion I welcome in comments.