3 Ways to Combat Rape Culture

For those of you who have no idea what rape culture is or means, it is a huge influence and impacts you more than you realize. Here are 25 everyday examples of rape culture.

The effects of normalizing rape are why issues like sex trafficking are at the forefront. Buyers think they have the right to anyone they want and victims have been surrounded by media that says they should quietly comply. Below you will find an example of how rape culture is shaping the next generation...

It's terrifying. The most alarming thing about that survey is that even girls were saying it's ok to be raped. It is NEVER ok. We have to combat this, and I want to give you three ways you can stop the influence of rape culture in your life, and in those around you.

1) Recognize that you are being desensitized.

We are constantly being assaulted with masked media. There is a message hidden in everything you listen to, watch, or are entertained by. Often times, we don't realize what that message is because it's not our focus. Our focus is on the great beat, the humor, or the simple fact that we can shut our brain off and be entertained for a moment rather than having to perform in some way. Pay attention, because your brain is absorbing every message even if you don't realize it. These messages are called subliminal messages. These are things that are absorbing into our unconscious mind and still showing themselves in our behavior and thought life. Example: Justin Beiber's song "What do you mean" illustrates what has now happened due to our media making girls feel pressured to "give it up," setting an expectation by men to receive and feeling confused when she doesn't comply with this cultural expectation.

2) Eliminate "raped" as a common expression. "Raped" has become a cultural word that is often thrown around. 

Above, you will see a crowdsourced definition of "raped" from a popular slang dictionary called the urban dictionary. To those of us who have been raped (approx 293,000 per yr according to RAAIN), the idea of using the term to describe a sports or video game outcome is nauseating. The real problem with "raped" becoming a slang term is that it has changed the true definition of the word, making it seem like no big deal. Comedian Dane Cook put's it well during his stand-up comedy sketch. There are so many other words that can be used. Get a thesaurus and find a new adjective because "raped" should not be a description for anything other than someone being forced to have sex against their will.

3) Call people out!

When you hear people improperly using the term “raped” or encouraging rape culture, call them out! People need to be reconditioned into understanding that using the word rape in as slang, making jokes about rape, or supporting entertainment that encourages rape is extremely wrong and insensitive. How awesome would it be if fans started realizing that the lyrics they are listening to are encouraging them to exploit others or make it easier for someone to exploit them by normalizing the behavior! Pay attention to your favorite songs, shows, and movies. Analyze what kind of messages they are sending you about sex, love, and relationships and really think about whether it is healthy. If you’re not sure, ask a mentor.

These are three practical but culturally shifting things we can call do to stop rape culture. I would love to hear your feedback and how you have been putting this into practice!

Lexie Smith