February 24, 2018


Scars Across Humanity Posting 11

Chapter 8 Rape

We are told to forgive and forget . . . But I couldn’t forgive and I couldn’t forget . . . Then I realized . . . I have a right to remember and I leave the forgiving to a higher being.  Rape survivor

(Looking at some of the horrific stuff posted on social media, I’m posting a section from towards the end of the rape chapter, about the culture which spreads it…)

Rape Culture

In many societies, the passive silence about sex abuse can be compounded by the presence of an active rape culture which normalizes and excuses it. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, the glamorization of sexual violence and the entitlement given to men. Gender definitions themselves play a part in it. When ‘manhood’ is defined in terms of dominance and sexual aggression, then it is ‘hardly a man’s fault’ if he expresses this aggression towards a woman. The high level of rape carried out by soldiers in conditions of conflict is regularly justified this way. Defining ‘womanhood’ produces more ambiguous results. Women can be perceived as submissive, innocent and sexually passive, or as whores just waiting to be raped (‘she was asking for it’). Either way, they are at risk.

Other facets of rape culture are easily recognized: trivialising sexual assault, showing tolerance towards sexual harassment, inflating false rape report statistics, publicly scrutinising a victim’s dress, mental state, motives and history. RapeOne of the more alarming recent developments in many Western societies is the proliferation of ‘jokes’ about sexual violence. The growth of social media and the internet has brought a proliferation of sites specializing in sick rape jokes which go unmonitored and unregulated. ‘Jokes’ like ‘I had sex with a girl in public the other day, and I was amazing! So amazing in fact that she was screaming before we even started’ can clock up hundreds of endorsing comments within minutes of posting. Beyond the internet, the appalling rape-entertainment culture among the worst of the stand-up comedians has proved hard to combat. One brave woman in the audience of a Daniel Tosh comedy gig heckled ‘Rape jokes are never funny’ after he had told several in a row. His response was to insult her by suggesting it would be funny if she had been raped by five guys. He later had to apologise, but has continued his banal and empty patter, enjoy- ing the support of those who will always laugh.

Rape 4Rape culture has been exposed, not simply by sociologists studying social mores, but by organizations committed to bringing change. The Rape Is No Joke (RINJ) campaign, a Canadian anti- sexual assault organization founded in 2011 in response to ‘rape joke’ and pro-rape content on Facebook, has pressured media and law-enforcement agencies. A Socialist Students initiative in the UK of the same name has also been active. It refuses to accept that attempts at humour are innocuous and in a different league from any actual violence. Its stance is that:

this ‘comedy’ is lazy and un-intelligent. But it also, combined with prolific violent pornography on the internet, ‘lads mags’ in every corner shop and aggressive sexual imagery in advertising, adds to a culture that accepts, and even glorifies rape and sexual assault.


Read more in Scars Across Humanity pre-order http://www.amazon.co.uk/Scars-Across-Humanity-Understanding-Overcoming/dp/0281075085

Or come to one of the launches – see post on launch dates


  1. Erica Marsden says:

    Elaine, I despair – I am sending you a link from Radio NZ’s website…unbelievable.



    • Erica, I am very grateful to you for sending this on. It is indeed shocking. Tragically, the presence of rapists in the police is common in many countries where there are still no laws against rape. But this shows that, even when there are laws, the commitment to implementing them can be very weak.

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