Racialized Sexual Violence and Rape Culture is something very prominent in today’s society because sexual assault seems to be the woman’s fault a majority of the time. Not only is this victim blaming, but it is also stigmatizing rape as something that happens to women because they want it to. Although some believe there is no such thing as rape culture, we live in a society that contributes to rape by living in communities filled with words to deny, promote or camouflage sexual assault. Or, people don’t want to believe it because when you begin to think about rape; it’s awful, scary and defies reason.
It has been said that some people in society with higher societal “status” (men over women, for example) are entitled to rape and abuse people with lower societal “status”. The words “rape culture” is a concept that links rape and sexual violence to the culture of a society, which create attitudes and practices that normalize, excuse, tolerate, and even condone rape. People who don’t think we live surrounded by rape culture only think this because they refuse to look at sexual assault across the board and within the spectrum of institutions. A woman’s right to bodily integrity seems to confuse some individuals, but sexual assault that involves men and boys, existing rape myths seem to somehow fail. Decades of Catholic Church sexual abuse tragedies, the Boy Scouts, Penn State, rape in correctional facilities are all examples of entitlement to rape. It becomes easier to conflate abuse with sex in these cases mainly because girls and women are the traditional and stereotypically recognized survivors, easier to cast as liars and complicit. Because our culture normalizes sexual assault by portraying it as unavoidable, by shaming and blaming victims, by sympathizing with perpetrators, by failing to punish aggressors, by not talking to children about healthy sexuality, and by denying we live in a rape culture.
Sexual assault, domestic violence and abuse are all too gender-biased and create an image of society turning a blind eye to the problems existing in our communities. Women of color are not seen as legitimate victims of sexual violence due to historically persistent stereotypes about our sexualities – Black women are Jezebels, Asian women are generally submissive, Dragon Ladies, Geishas, or China Dolls, Latina women are “spicy” and curvaceous Mamis, and Native Women are “Pocahotties”, ready to cater to any man. Because of the racialized culture, and institutionalized racism embedded in this nation, stops women of color from seeking and receiving post-assault care. One in five women will have been raped in their lifetime, and 44 percent will experience sexual victimization other than rape. Data from the governments shows the 1 in 3 Native women, 1 in 6 Latina women, 1 in 5 Black women, and 7 percent of Asian women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.
Because of the rape culture, automatically women are placed in unfair power dynamics where they are spectacles. People of color are constantly going through agony of sexual assault and does not have community support to protect them, when there should be. We must demand the “rape culture” to be put to rest, and make society realize the racialism of rape also needs to stop so everyone can receive the same type of help because it is the same situation happening across the board. Domestic Violence and sexual assault does not discriminate, and the sooner everyone in society realizes that, the better.
Yours in Advocacy,