Rape Culture is Alive and Breathing

Posted on March 15, 2017
By Pareli Amirkhanian
      Rape Culture is not always as obvious as physical actions, such as grabbing someone without their permission or engaging in sexual activity without consent.
      Most do not consider how everyday language contributes greatly to rape culture and the extreme damage it could cause. Casual language is so embedded into rape culture that most of the time it goes by unnoticed and uncared for.
     What are these phrases that should not be tolerated? Here are a few.
1. Rape Jokes 
      Any kinds of rape jokes contribute to rape culture and are absolutely inappropriate. Rape jokes give the idea that rape or sexual assault is a funny matter and moves away towards the seriousness of it, thus potentially leading to more future rapists.
       These jokes, no matter how small, can remind and trigger a past survivor’s traumatic experience. You never know who is around and what they may have gone through.
2. “I know you want it”
        It may seem harmless at first, but the phrase can go a long way. This phrase is usually used regarding sexual situations, implying that the person is not being truthful when they are not agreeing to the act.
        This implies that the verbal and enthusiastic consent of the partner is not needed, because it is assumed that they are willing to do the act.
        The saying can pressure someone into doing something that they are not comfortable doing, thus not fully consenting to.
3. “Stop being shy”
This phrase, used in sexual situations, can be extremely harmful. It should never be assumed that someone does not want to participate in something simply because they are “shy” about it. Making this assumption can lead to one being manipulated into the thought they actually are being shy, when in reality, they are uncomfortable engaging in the act.
         Anyone who is fully ready and comfortable engaging in a sexual act should not be shy or afraid about it; they should be enthusiastic and fully consented to it.
4. “I’ll convince you”
       If there is a phrase that screams rape culture, this would be it.
       These three words coming out of someone’s mouth imply that they are going to continue doing whatever it is that they want to do, regardless of what the other consents to or doesn’t.
        This is sexual assault.
        No one, under any circumstances, should say this in a sexual situation.  Whether you are dating someone or not, no one should “convince” you of anything if you have not fully consented to it.
5. “Why don’t you want it?”
       Any phrase like this that has an underlining tone of shaming the person for not wanting to do something sexual contributes to rape culture.
       This can leave one feeling ashamed or feeling like a “prude” for not wanting to engage, which has it’s ever lasting negative effects.
       Like other sayings, this one in particular puts pressure on the person if they are not strong enough to stand up for what they do not want to do. It can lead to them to participating in a sexual act simply to seem “normal,” or to fit in to the other person’s standards.

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