No, She Didn’t Ask For It.

Outfits worn by unamed rape survivors during their attacks are shown to dispel the myth that rape victims provoked their attack.

What is rape culture?  Rape culture is “an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in media and pop culture,” according to the Marshall Women’s Center.  Rape is an act of terror and degradation to all people.  1 in every 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in every 71 men (1.4%) are raped in their lives.  Some examples of how rape culture is prevalent in our culture are things like saying “she asked for it” when victims come forward.  Or normalizing sexual assault like using the phrase “boys will be boys.”

RAINN, the nations largest sexual assault hotline, states that every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.  Rape culture comes from the world of patriarchal society.  The 2015 Stanford sexual assault case made this fact clear.  All-American swimmer found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on Stanford campus Brock Turner, a student athlete at Stanford, was found thrusting atop a woman who was unconscious and not moving.  This was an act of rape.  Brock Turner got a six-month sentence; however, the judge showed that Brock’s shining future shouldn’t be tarnished because of this “20 minute action.”  The victim of this “20 minute action” had to relive this traumatic experience all over again and stood up in court to talk about it.  This will be with the victim for a lifetime and Turner gets to leave it behind after six months of jail.  Because of cases like these, most rapes and sexual assaults are not reported.

According to RAINN, 3 out of 4 rape cases go unreported.  20% of college aged females report and 32% non-female students report, 28% of elderly people report, and 43% of female and 10% of male military members report.  Some reasons people did not report were fear of retaliation; they believed police would not do anything, thought it wasn’t important enough, or did not want the perpetrator to get in trouble.

Another misconception that places the fault more on the victim than the perpetrator is to place focus on what the victim was wearing at the time of the assault.  In 2014, the University of Arkansas created an exhibit titled,“What Were You Wearing?”  It shows 18 outfits worn by unnamed rape survivors during their attacks.  The goal of the exhibit is to dispel the myth that rape victims provoked their attack.  The stigma placed on the victim is just another example of why a lot of rapes go unreported, contributing to a prevailing rape culture.

This poem, found from the site Familyfriend Poems, shows the devastating effects rape can have on a person, not only physically but psychologically, making a strong argument for the need to mitigate the factors that feed into rape culture.


They Can Hurt me No longer


Blood boiled in every vain,

Like a flicker in every flame.

Tears streaming from my eyes,

‘Cause my life is built on lies.

Overpowered by my fears,

So I kept quiet for many years.

The secrets tore me up inside.

With a twisted mind and arms atied,

They took their turns,

So I buried the burns.

I grew up thinking it was my fault.

My fault for every rape and every assault.

Those dark memories still haunt my brain,

And still I feel I’m the one to blame.

Every night I lie awake,

Wondering how much I can take.

If only someone would have listened

To the screams and to the pleads.

Maybe I could have ended it all

And still be able to stand tall.

But enough is enough.

Tonight I will stay tough

And maybe for once they will see

That they can no longer hurt me.