Pop Culture: The Degradation Of Rape Culture Research Paper

Most people do not even know rape culture exists, but it is alive and strangling society tighter by the second. Rape culture is an environment where rape is prevalent and where sexual violence is normalized and excused in the media and pop culture. It is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, victim blaming, objectifying women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence. Rape culture creates a society that disregards people’s, most often women’s, rights and safety (SCSU). Some still do not believe rape culture exists, which is exactly why it does exist.

Rape culture thrives upon casual misogyny in normal conversations with our peers. It depends on the media Americans consume everyday. Society accepts the degradation of women and hyper-masculinity of men (Moseley). Rape culture is seen in almost every aspect of society. From dismissing sexual assault by saying “Boys will be boys! ” to blaming a victim of sexual assault by saying “She asked for it! ” (SCSU). There are sexually explicit jokes within everyday conversations, like a college chant saying “Y is for your sister. O is for oh-so-tight. U is for underage. N is for no consent. G is for grab that ass” (Ridgway).

Classifying manhood as naturally dominate and aggressive and pressuring men to ‘score’ is an example of rape culture. Another is defining femininity as submissive and sexually passive and telling women not to appear cold and distant. Teachers and parents try to teach girls not to get raped, but they do not teach boys to simply not rape. Some adults even encourage their sons to be with as many women as possible, which can pressure them into committing rape (SCSU).

Rape culture is in all aspects of society; from popular songs singing about the “blurred lines” of consent and telling women “you know you want it” to a 50-year-old man only sentenced to 30 days in jail for raping a 14-year-old girl who later committed suicide. He was given a short sentence because the girl was “older than her chronological age. ” Rape culture is found in sports, with athletes committing rape but being let free because their career would be ruined. It is found on the streets with vulgar harassment and women feeling unsafe on their way home from work.

It is found in Hollywood by people who defend celebrities who commit sexual assault simply because they are celebrities. Only three percent of rapists ever see the inside of a jail cell (Ridgway). Rape itself is one of the biggest problems facing America today. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, over one million women are raped each year. Within that number, 54 percent of rapes go unreported. One in five women are raped in the United States and three percent of men. 32,000 women are impregnated as the result of rape.

These rapist fathers can sue for custody and visitation rights in 31 states, when they should have no right to be near the child they forced upon their victim. In Houston, the state that is ranked second in America for forcible rape, over 6,000 rape tests go unused. Since Texas has a high number of rape, these tests should be used often (Ridgway). In Texas, 18 men were accused of gang raping an eleven-year-old girl. The New York Times said regarding the rape, “They said she dressed older than her age. ” as if that justified the gang rape (Mckinley). Only four of those men were sentenced (Texas, NY Times).

In Detroit, 11,303 rape tests go unused even though it is one of the most dangerous places, especially for a woman, in the US (Ridgway). In Connecticut, a mentally disabled woman with severe cerebral palsy and the mentality of a three-year-old was raped. The court required her to show evidence of biting and scratching. Not resisting does not mean consent. The woman did not comprehend what was happening and was molested. She still deserves justice. Her rapist left a free man (ThinkProgress). Most people think half of all rape claims are false when, in actuality, only six percent of rape accusations are false (Ridgway).

A young woman was recently raped and abused by her partner. After months of suffering, she was able to find the courage to inform the police. Living in a small town, the gossip spread like wildfire. Soon, everyone she saw gave her strange looks and spoke down to her. The woman came to her mother and asked in tears, “Why is everyone acting like this to me? I didn’t do anything. ” The mother replied, “Because you stayed with him. You were stupid, said something you shouldn’t have, and when he hit you, you stayed with him. We all know you probably said something to make him angry.

This, along with thousands of other examples, is victim blaming. Victim blaming is the act where the victim of a crime, an accident, or any type of abuse is held as wholly or partially responsible for the crime committed against them. Victim blaming can be in the form of negative social reactions from legal, medical, and mental health professionals, as well as from the media and family members and other acquaintances. Usually victim-blaming is used in racist and sexist forms (Victim Blaming Law and Legal Definition). This makes victims of rape and abuse afraid to come forward.

They know they will be judged and even seen as a liar by some. A survivor will not feel safe around the people that are accusing him/her. Victim blaming also reinforces the idea that the abuser wants everyone to believe: that it was the victim’s fault all along. Obviously, it is never the victim’s fault for being abused. Even if the victim started an argument or brought out the anger in the abuser, the abuser has the choice of how to handle the situation; abuse is not the right choice. When society victim blames, it allows the abuser to continue raping or assaulting without holding accountability for his/her actions (SCSU).

Donald Trump, the current president-elect, has been guilty of committing acts of rape culture. As a noble figure, he is a role model for millions of kids across America. He has actually been accused of rape on several occasions. These accusations include one of a 13-year-old child, his ex-wife, and a former business associate. In the pedophilic rape case, Trump allegedly tied the girl to a bed, exposed himself, and raped her in a “savage sexual attack”.

The now 35-year-old woman says she screamed at Trump to stop and in retaliation to her pleas, Trump hit her across the face said that “he would do whatever he wanted. The woman claims that Trump threatened to ruin her and her family’s life if she ever told anyone of the incident (Ensler). Even though the women remained anonymous, she received threats from all over the nation. Trump supporters called her a liar. Though, statistically, there is only a six percent chance of her lying. She has recently dismissed the rape case. Whether she did this because of the threats or because Trump and his associates had something to do with it, the world may never know (Grimm). During Trump’s time judging the Miss USA Pageant, he regularly went backstage while the women were changing.

He would look them all up and down and take notes on each one. He once asked Miss Alabama, “Who’s the most beautiful woman here? ” She answered, “Besides me? Uh, I like Arkansas. She’s sweet. ” He replied, “I don’t care if she’s sweet. Is she hot? ” Although beauty pageants in itself are extremely sexist and objectifying, they also showcase the women’s talents and intelligence. They show the women as role models for young girls. However, Trump only focused on dividing the girls on who he found ‘hot’ and who he did not. Many girls left the room crying because of the comments he made towards the women. Most found the exercise humiliating.

Trump has even been objectifying towards his own daughter. He once asked Mahealani Lee, the Miss Universe at the time, “Don’t you think my daughter is hot? She’s hot right? ” At the time Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, was only 16-years-old. Trump has also said on the View, “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her. ” This crosses the line into incestious pedophilia. This man will be the next president of the United States (Ensler). As for his elected Vice President, Mike Pence, he wants to criminalize all abortions, including rape and incest related ones because rape is just “another method of conception” (Ridgway).

The fact that these awful men have been elected goes to show how much rape culture in prevalent in America. Trump is not the scary one, the group of people who decided he should be the most powerful and respected man in America are. Rape culture affects the people immensely. Victims of sexual assault are terrified of coming out as assaulted because they will be blamed or called a liar. Male victims are terrified because they will be made fun of for not being proud of being sexually assaulted. Rape is normalized and seen as a common, causal occurrence in college.

Victims live the rest of their lives, some suffering from PTSD and other disorders, blaming themselves. Women are objectified and men are encouraged to have sex as much as possible (Bates). Americans have to fight rape culture to help end the suffering. Society has to start by naming the real problems; violently sexual masculinity and victim blaming are the biggest concerns. The first question asked when discussing a rape should not be about the victim’s sobriety, clothing, or sexuality.

The first question should be, “So how long will s/he be serving? ” or, “How could s/he think that was acceptable? Society needs to re-examine masculinity. Rape is not a normal or natural masculine urge. Society needs to understand the lines of consent by being responsible for knowing one’s partner is 100 percent interested in what is being performed. A slight resistance is means to stop. Also, one can be enthusiastic about their own consent so his or her partner knows to continue. Being media literate is another way to stop the spread of rape culture. Knowing when women are being objectified to sell a product is wrong is important. Stop the idea of, “Sex sells. ” Another way to stop rape culture is by spreading awareness.

Society needs to know when someone is not being treated correctly; one small voice can create an avalanche of change. People also need to stop laughing at rape and start taking it seriously. Rape jokes are not funny; they can hurt a victim and bring them back to depressing thoughts. They also normalize rape and convinces past and future rapists that those actions are okay. Victims need to be shown empathy. Listening to victims, sharing personal stories and beliefs, and making sure rapists get locked away are the best ways to end the monstrosity that is rape culture (Moseley).