Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department

How To Argue Against Rape Culture

by Casey Suglia

When Brock Turner was sentenced to a light six months in a California county jail for the sexual assault of a female, people were outraged. So, what does any person in this century do when they're outraged? Take to Facebook to voice their opinion, of course. Brock Turner's case brings up a much needed conversation about rape culture and its prevalence in today's society, which happens on social media daily. Therefore Turner's case gives a great lesson in how to argue against rape culture — for all of those discussions on social media.

Just to be clear, Turner was convicted and sentenced on three counts of felony sexual assault, but sexual assault very much falls under rape culture. But, before you can argue against rape culture, a clearer understanding of what rape culture is, is necessary. According to Southern Connecticut State University, rape culture is "an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture." Furthermore, "Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women's bodies and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women's rights and safety."

Therefore even little things, like asking a woman if she was drunk when she reports a rape, or scrutinizing the way she was dressed at a party, all contribute to rape culture. Even quotes like "she was asking for it," and "boys will be boys!" which have now become so prevalent in today's society fall under rape culture.

But how do we argue against it when it has become so ingrained in today's society? Advocate, advocate, advocate. The awareness of rape culture and the ending of rape culture falls on the education of others about rape culture.

The most important thing to do when arguing against rape culture is believe in the victims and create an environment where they feel safe to come forward. Rape culture creates a hostile environment for women because rape culture is so normalized and written off. Then, educate others on just how embedded the culture is in our own culture, using examples from day to day interactions.

One of the most accurate representations of rape culture is shaming a woman for drinking too much, but then defending a man because he was under the influence of alcohol and can't make the right decisions. It is assuming that women are raped by strangers and shouldn't walk home alone at night when statistics show that 75 percent of rapes are committed someone known to the victim, according to Raw Story.

The education about rape culture doesn't have to be when children come of age and start to go to parties and become seriously interested in others — the education of rape culture should come as early as childhood. According to pediatrician Dr. Deborah Gilboa, parents can practice some simple ideas that will discourage the mindsets and actions that contribute to rape culture. Things like not forcing your children to kiss relatives or not romanticizing or sexualizing your kids friendships are a start.

Or, as Washington Post, writer Jody Allard puts it, it is up to not only women but for men to be against rape culture and therefore find a solution for rape culture. But rape culture enables those who commit crimes to get away with it. "When rape culture tells men that violating an unconscious woman's body is just another part of college life, it excuses them from those questionable moments in their own college memories," Allard said.

In order to argue against rape culture, we have to educate others in the fact that it is the norm. And that begins when we stop thinking "boys will be boys" and use the amount of alcohol that a person as consumed as an excuse or reason to blame someone for their actions. Rape culture ends when men are held accountable for how much they drank and their intentions when going out at night, not just women.

The more people who become aware of rape culture, the better. If people can educate, the more people can realize what it is and how it contributes to our society. Argue against rape culture and educate on it — the future depends on it.