The Effects of Rape Culture

When people feel like you're not listening or when they feel like they are not your main focus is when people become their most honest. It's when people feel as though they can be their most truthful selves, when they can say how they really feel or their true perception on an issue. This is why people watching at malls, grocery stores, and other establishments where people can congregate and interact with one another is interesting because they are being their most honest selves, thinking that they are not being heard or paid attention too. I ride public transportation any and everywhere it's available, the thought of driving honestly makes me nervous especially because nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year. I know, I actually keep up with stuff like that. I'm honestly scaring myself. Public transportation is the next area that is good for people watching, if you're into that sort of thing of course, but it is also where you can hear how people really feel, especially about social issues. I don't know what it is, but people really do like to talk about social issues with people they barely know. Maybe it's because they know that is the last and only time they will see them so they are not concerned with being judged. Which if that is the case, I wish people were like that on a daily basis.

I usually sit on the bus next to two older ladies who generally have their morning conversation as to where most of the bus can overhear, but no one is bothered by it as they are so nice.  I walked on to the bus, we said our usual morning pleasantries and I sat down ready for the early morning ride. One of the ladies was cleary engrossed in a conversation led by the other lady about her stint with a doctor who had put her on the wrong medicine which led to her being in the hospital for a couple of months. The ladies then progressed into a conversation of pedestrians, but specifically the pedistrians that walk by the local university. One of the ladies started the conversation by saying, "They're just stupid, the students are just stupid. They just walk everywhere and they never look." A little much to be calling the students stupid, some people just don't look when walking. I know grown adults who are not stupid who do that. The other lady then procedded to say, "Oh, I know. I see these girls once I get off my stop just walking. They're on their phones, they don't look up and they're not paying attention to their surroundings. They scream about rape, but they deserve to be raped because they don't pay attention."

Wait. They deserve to be raped? No one deserves to be raped, male, female, or non-binary, no one deserves that.

The lady's response surprised me, but I tried not to show it on my face.

The other lady responsed with a yeah and sort of nodded her head and moved the conversation in another direction, but the other lady's response stuck with me. How could she think that a woman not paying attention while walking deserved to raped?

It sounded like one of the many arguments that victims of rape typically hear, "Oh, it's what you were wearing." "You shouldn't have been out so late." "You were drunk, so you deserved it." It is very common victim blaming, something I can not stand. Victim blaming is not only detrimental to the criminal justice system as it causes less women to want to report rape, it also gives rapists an excuse, an out. Victim blaming puts the blame on the the victim, not the actual rapists thus creating the percetption that rape is okay and is your fault if it happens to you. Not only does victim blaming not hold the rapist accuntable, it also adds to rape culture. For those who do not know, rape culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence is normalized and excused.

Why are we so quick to blame the victim? Why do we never want to hold the wrong doer accountable?

See the idea of victim blaming doesn't make sense to me. Not because I don't understand what victim blaming is or why it happens, but I don't understand why anyone would want to blame the victim in the first place. If someone is in a tragic car accident, I don't think nor do I say, oh that person deserved it. So why can we not treat victims who have been raped the same way?

In an article published by Psychology Todayvictim blaming comes from people within society avoiding vulnerability and culpability. Rape threatens the idea that our world is a safe and moral place where only good things happens. We in society allow for victim blaming because it allows for us to distance ourselves away from the situation and the person. We start to think as long as I'm not like the victim or dress like them I will be fine and what happened to them was their own fault.

There are various problems with victim blaming, but one of the main consequenes of victim blaming is that people are less likely to report rape when they know they will be blamed. We can see this in the media and in Hollywood, when victim blaming is even depicted in movies and shows such as, Law and Order: SVU.

Victim blaming contributes to rape itself because rather than addressing the problem and trying to educate people about rape and sexual assault we spend our time trying to figure out where the victim went wrong. One of the ways we as a society can contribute to less victim blaming is by educating others and changing the perception of rape and addressing the misconceptions about rape.