Rape culture refers to a form of society in which the victims of sexual assault are held responsible for the actions of their assailants and where the atrocity is often reduced to a trivial matter. Phrases like “Men will be men”, “She was asking for it”, or “How can it happen to a guy”, reflect the mentality that fosters rape culture. As a matter of fact, every attempt to justify or normalize rape reflects this mentality.
The matters that could be held against victims (generally women) range from: the clothes they were wearing, the time of the day they were out, who they were accompanied by, their personal life, their “character”, their occupation, and even their gender. The result: women are reduced to second class citizens, whose voices and opinions are of no value, and society simply isn’t interested in helping them; men, on the other hand, are reduced to deranged beings who can’t be held accountable for their own actions.
While men don’t have to take the blame for their assailants’ actions they are often subjected to far worse treatment when it comes to reporting the crime. Whenever victims attempt to report the crime that has been committed against them, forget justice; they aren’t even taken seriously. It is often taken as a joke and laughed upon.
One can only imagine the consequences of such an inhumane culture. Victims of sexual assault often silence themselves, and try to return to their normal lives, while struggling against PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), loss of trust, lack of confidence, and fear. Those who dare to seek justice are forced to recall the traumatic incident multiple times to strangers, which again drastically affects their mental well being. The worst part is that all of this is deemed as an exaggeration of a normalized event.
It is estimated that 54 % of rapes go unreported. [A United Nations statistical report compiled from government sources showed that more than 250,000 cases of rape or attempted rape were recorded by police annually. The reported data covered 65 countries.] With these alarming statistics, a culture that justifies and normalizes rape is utterly nonsensical . We need to promote a culture that empathizes and gives support to the victims of rape, not its perpetrators. The need of the hour is to recognize the fact that a sexual assault isn’t just an assault on a person, it’s an attack on civilized society, and it can never be justified.