Posts Tagged rape culture

Rape Culture, Sexual Assault, and Domestic Violence

EJ Graff has been on FIRE at the American Prospect with a series of posts about the rape culture, sexual assault, domestic violence and ways to confront and change the world.

I don’t think it’s stretching things to say that sexual assault and domestic violence are linked.  Before I go to far, I want to point out that women can be perpetrators of both sexual assault and domestic violence.  And, importantly, men who commit both sexual violence and domestic violence are the minority.  The goal eliminating sexual assault and domestic violence no matter the gender of the victim.  Women are far more likely to be victims of both than are men.  In a recent post, Graff addressed the Steubenville case and called for a move from rape culture to respect culture.

Some background is necessary on Steubenville.  The basic outline feels all too familiar.  A group of local school athletes have been accused of raping a 16 year old.  The case went viral when a video surfaced:

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Purity Culture Is Rape Culture

EJ Graf’s title says it all.  Her article at American Prospect is powerful.  The money quote:

“Rape culture,” as young feminists now call this, isn’t limited to India. It lives anywhere that has a “traditional” vision of women’s sexuality. A culture in which women are expected to remain virgins until marriage is a rape culture. In that vision, women’s bodies are for use primarily for procreation or male pleasure. They must be kept pure. While cultural conservatives would disagree, this attitude gives men license to patrol—in some cases with violence—women’s hopes for controlling their lives and bodies.

It’s a culture that sees women’s sexuality as property of men.  It’s a culture that values women according to their supposed sexual purity.

A culture in which women must cover up or be threatened is a rape culture. You’re thinking of hijab and burquas, right? Think also of the now well-known SlutWalks, which were launched after a Toronto police officer told young women that they could avoid rape by not dressing like “sluts.” The protests, which have spread worldwide, make the point that no matter how we dresswomen are at risk; and no matter how we dress, our bodies are our own.

Purity culture is a culture that is threatened by female autonomy.

 

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