Ten Ways to Combat Rape Culture

Link to The Nation: "Ten Things to End Rape Culture"
Link to The Nation: “Ten Things to End Rape Culture”

I would like to add one thing to the list, for the male survivors who may have read the article: I believe increased awareness and improved support for male victims of sexual violence is also necessary in combating rape culture. Consider this #11.

Statistically speaking, most rapists are men and most victims of rape are female. Thus, the focus is upon violated women and violent men. This is important, obviously! Women and children face incredible abuse and exploitation across the globe. There are more documented instances of abused women than there are of abused men which is why most anti-rape organizations and sexual assault services focus on helping female victims. Yet, our culture commits a great injustice by drawing such an absolute line. Rapists are not always male. Victims of abuse are not always female.

One of the myths which rape culture encourages is that adult men cannot be sexually assaulted. Part of the world’s misconstrued, stereotypical view of masculinity is that men are too strong, too commanding, to be exploited. Yet, there are far too many men who have been victims of sexual abuse and exploitation, sometimes even at the hands of women. That does not mean abused men are weak. Suffering abuse does not make a man any less masculine.

Generally speaking, 1 in 4 women will be a victim of sexual abuse at some point in her life and 1 in 6 men will be a victim of sexual abuse at some point in his life. To combat rape culture, all sides of our rape statistics need to be acknowledged. Gender-specific pronouns ought to be interchangeable, not irreversible. Abused men must be treated as people with equal voice in matters of victim rights.

Rapists are responsible for rape, whether they are men or women. Victims deserve respect and support, regardless of gender.

For more on combating rape culture, read Killing the Root of Sexual Exploitation.

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