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Rape Culture and You: An Introduction

We are living in an interesting time. It is unfortunate, mind you, but it is an interesting time. We are at a moment where 'rape culture' is a concept, and a 'thing', and it is, in many groups, socially acceptable. Here are a few examples, pulled from Twitter (there are more on an article on feministing.com).

Now, why on earth is this acceptable? Has the internet just become a place for potential rapists and molesters? Is Twitter a place where we can place where dangerous individuals can openly admit that they are a threat, and this is what they will do if they find an attractive woman? (Or man, or child, for that matter. Maybe they're just not stating who their choice victim is) Or, rather than 'attractive woman'... vulnerable woman? 

Well... unfortunately this isn't the case.  That would be a very valuable and honest system, but that's what websites created by the government are for. You know, the websites created by offices like SORNA or NCJRS. Of course, these sites aren't as user friendly as something like Twitter, but they still offer some tools. But then again... The people who are posting these 'Tweets' are probably not sexual offenders. Though... maybe we should ask them. Would it be socially acceptable to respond to those tweets and ask if they're sexual offenders? 

Most people would probably get a bit uptight and offended as soon as you would ask. I mean, if you're not, that's kind of an offensive question. It's like flat-out asking someone if they cheat on their wife, if they've ever beaten their child, or if they've ever done anything of ghastly social disorder. Not generally questions you would ask. But still, when someone is practically admitting to something they would do, or consider to be okay, they are almost asking for such questions. 

Now, we are fairly aware that the people posting these probably aren't serious. Which, in most ways, makes it worse. It makes it exceedingly difficult to recognize the threats to society. It also masks the actual threats, because the people who are truly dangerous and psychotic are usually intelligent enough to keep their mouths shut. Still, these people on Twitter, in fraternities, and everywhere in our modern world, somehow think that it's acceptable to post such things. 

Personally, I find that it's not far from posting something that says 'I like being compared to serial killers.' But really... who would want to be compared to someone like this:

Not a terrible looking person, right? If we're purely surface based, that would be the case. However, a few of you might recognize this man as the notorious murderer Ted Bundy. 

In a nutshell, Ted Bundy was an American serial killer, rapist, kidnapper and necrophile. Shortly before his execution, he admitted to 30  homicides in seven states between 1974 and 1978. The true number of victims is actually unknown, and could actually be much higher. He would rape, desecrate the corpse through unspeakable means, take severed heads as momentos, and to make matters worse... He was described as charismatic and handsome, he was well-educated, and intelligent.

That last phrase doesn't sound far off from the frat members in universities, does it?

Ted Bundy is one of the most familiar serial killers, with the most victims. However, the list extends further, on an international level. Rodney Alcala, Benjamin Atkins, Lawrence Bittaker & Roy Norris, Terry Blair, Harvey Carignan, Alton Coleman, Dean Corll & Elmer Wayne Henley, Jeffrey Dahmer, Westley Allan Dodd, Ronald Dominique, Joseph E. Duncan III, Paul Durousseau, Mack Ray Edwards, Scott Erskine, Albert Fish, Joseph Paul Franklin, Gerald & Charlene Gallego, Billy Glaze, Paul John Knowles, Gordon Northcott, Carl Panzram, David Park Ray, Michael Bruce Ross, Altemio Sanchez, Edward Spreitzer, Abdul Latif Sharif, Paul Bernardo, Leopold Dion... These are the known serial killers who raped and molested women, men, and children, just from United States and Canada alone.

Now, let's review some interesting concepts. Approximately 76% of the world's serial killers are from the United States. The majority are white male. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the statistics are pretty similar to those of the people who find rape culture to be acceptable. 

Kind of scary.

Now, I'm not saying that every person who posts about rape culture is going to end up as a serial killer. But it's almost guaranteed that the amount of sexual violence will be affected. If it's acceptable among social groups, and it becomes a stud thing to take advantage of a woman, a lot of young men might take it upon themselves to commit an act of sexual violence, thus invoking a rite of passage. I don't know if this would happen, but to be honest, I would be afraid to be a young woman at a university fraternity party. 

Ultimately, I think that a lot of the people, who are posting these frightening and disturbing things on Twitter, are living in a very opaque bubble. A dangerous kind of bubble that desensitizes the reality of rape, sexual violence, sexual offenses, or the repercussions of committing such actions towards other person. If you type the words 'rape victim' into Google images, you do not see anything humourous. You see images of beaten women, covered in dark bruises, laying in hospital beds; women cradling themselves out of fear, disgust and anger; women protesting rape and admitting that they have been sexually abused. Men and women who find rape jokes funny need to look at these images and get out of their opaque bubbles. They need to realize that sexual violence is a reality, but that it doesn't need to be.

People need to be educated. That is the only way to rectify and steer away from this time we're in. Men shouldn't have (or be able) to be compared to notorious rapists and murderers. Women shouldn't have to be afraid or feel unsafe.  In writing this, I want to say that there are men who are honest, who understand that women are not objects to be taken advantage of. Women understand the same about men. Anyone can be a victim of sexual abuse, and it is our duty to educate everyone that this isn't the way the world should be. Talk to your children. Explain that men don't need to be monsters who pose as threats to women. It shouldn't be the women's responsibility to dress is loose fitting and obscuring clothing. Not to mention the fact that men should be insulted at the idea that they can't contain themselves and can't respect women. 

Respect others, and respect yourself. We don't need to live in a world where rape culture is a subject. Those words should not be together, and this is the time to educate individuals and make sure that they know why.

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