Rape Culture

What is Rape Culture? 

Rape culture is a term that refers to different cultural beliefs and attitudes that normalize interpersonal violence. These attitudes and beliefs are reinforced in popular culture and media.  Some examples of beliefs that normalize violence include: victim blaming, rape myths, strict conforming to gender roles, hypermasculinity, objectification, and any belief about one population of individuals being lesser than such as; sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, anti-semitism, ageism and so on. 

Everyday Examples of Rape Culture 

  • Romanticizing stalking like behaviors and other signs of relationship violence
  • Attacking the character and the validity of a survivor/victim that reports their assault 
  • Advertisements, music and media that objectifies women or views them as sexual objects 
  • Street harassment or “cat-calling” 
  • Utilizing derogatory terms 
  • Social sexual expectations/scripts being gendered, such as the expectation that men should always want sexual interactions and do not have that choice to not be interested 

Pyramid of Violence 

The Pyramid of Violence, pictured below shows how attitudes and beliefs that are learned can escalate into verbal expression, and physical expressions of sexual violence and/or physical violence. In order to create change to our culture, we need individuals to intervene when they witness individuals that are expressing these attitudes and beliefs. By intervening and educating each other we will create a culture that is not supportive of interpersonal violence. Learn more about how to use different bystander intervention strategies here