Friday, April 30, 2010

Rape Culture 101 -- The Underlying Victim Mentality

by Connie Chastain*

Rape culture is a term used within women's studies and feminism, describing a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence. (Wikipedia)

In my approach to the study of the mentality behind claims of rape culture, Wikipedia's entry is a good place to start. The term, "within women's studies and feminism," effectively eliminates most everyone else; i.e., you don't often hear normal folks talking about rape culture.

At least part of the mentality you find "within women's studies and feminism" is that of victimhood. Let me give you an example.

A couple of years ago, somebody posted in a chat group a link to an article titled "Misogyny, the Hatred of Women, Is Pervasive in US" by David Whitfield. Originally published in The Olympian, which appears to be the daily newspaper of record for Olympia, Washington, the article had been reprinted in an ultra-leftist e-zine, truthout.

If you can get past the breathtaking effrontery of the title (American women enjoy perhaps the cushiest female existence on the planet, created and supported almost exclusively by men), the article is still posted at truthout, in all its emotionally manipulative glory, for those who want to slog through it.

A couple of things you notice right away when reading this sort of propaganda. One, there's no balance (not a syllable about the 60/40 female-to-male ratio on college campuses; not a word about boys victimized by the educational system; no acknowledgment that divorce and child custody laws are slanted in favor of women; no mention of men dying earlier). Two, what happens to women is overwhelmingly bad (abused by boyfriends or husbands, tied down with children during their most productive years, denied advancement in their jobs and, of course, raped).

In other words, women are victims; men cannot be victims because they are victimizers. These are prerequisites for belief that rape culture exists.

Now. A disclaimer (not needed for thinking folks, just for the kneejerk emotionalists): Acknowledging that most American women enjoy the highest quality of life in the world does not negate the reality that some of them suffer negatives in their lives (as do many men). Similarly, acknowledging that rape exits doesn't negate the reality that false rape accusations occur -- except, perhaps, in the minds of those who accept the notion that rape culture exists, and we live in it.

Links to pages referenced in this piece:

*Connie is a regular contributor to FRS.  Her principal blog is