NEW MONTH// NEW SERIES!!
Hello fellow readers! Not only is it the end of another amazing week, but also the beginning of a brand-new month that we are so excited to jump start with a brand-new series! This will definitely be a topic that we will revisit in the future because the complexities within this topic are so vast there really isn't enough time in one post alone to be able to expand upon the content we want to share respectfully with everyone. That being said, we are going to continue doing what we do best which is speak from our own personal experiences, and continue to grow and learn from one another.
So, it is with great anticipation that we introduce our newest topic series we've entitled "Rape Culture and Relationships".
This week is all about the framework for future topics within this month(we will be having some guest writers we are very excited to share with you as well) but until then, let's dive into the foundation for this month's subject, shall we?!
As told by Devin Marie:
So, as mentioned before, while I was attending my university, I had an incredibly difficult time focusing on my studies due to the post traumatic stress I was still
Coping with from the rape I experienced my freshman year. I initially went to school for English and marketing but, God led me to pursue a separate discipline. So I took a chance and walked into a women and gender studies introduction course that changed my life for the better. It was within this time I was able to contextualize my experience of rape through education and figure out why this is so prevalent and why I and so many other individuals share in this experience without justice or even recognition. At that particular point I made the decision to dedicate my entire educational career around this particular discipline and do research outside of my classes that involved difficult topics such as rape culture, what it is, and how it influences our daily lives.
Many of us may never hear the coined term "rape-culture" unless in privileged settings within academia, but even so, it is a topic that isn't called Into question enough! It was important for me to share with you some of my knowledge to make sure for future reads to come we can have a better understanding of where Herstory is coming from. 😉Okay...soooo...we all know the sociological framework behind "culture" and what that signifies in terms of customs and traditions within a particular group of people, but "rape-culture".... is still unclear for some, and even rejected or denied by others.
In essence, " When we talk about rape culture, we’re speaking about cultural practices (that, yes, we commonly engage in together as a society) that normalize sexual violence and as result, this normalization deems it tolerable and even excusable.
Writer's note: although we at Herstory are speaking from a female's perspective, Rape culture affects EVERYONE; and intersects all races, genders (binary, and non-conforming), trans, cis & non-cis gendered individuals)
Now that we know what rape culture is, we can better assess how it affects us in our daily lives.
For example, the hypersexuality of women in particular and the American culture that I live in tells me that women like myself, women of color, specifically are seen as having no greater significance than that of an object that can be used, threatened, or harassed.
Ways in which we see hypersexuality acceptable within our culture are displayed within multiple mass media channels such as Magazine's, film, television, music videos, social media etc.
There is a fine line between sexual-exploitation of one's body and say "the individual's right of agency over one's body" some argue rape culture is a complete fabrication of reality, or an excuse for survivors who are upsetting the privileges within patriarchy. Hyper-masculinity often argue things by saying things like, "well, that model/actress/video-vixen CHOSE to parade around naked, she should expect men to be attracted to her/ want to be all over her."
But that argument fails to acknowledge the humanity behind that individual. The human side behind the pretty-girl or the occupation she voluntarily participates in.
Somewhere along the line, and perhaps, blind-sided by the pot-holes within patriarchy, many have forgotten the difference between WHAT we do and WHO we are.
As a result, our culture absorbs all of these hypersexualized images and videos of women who CHOOSE to use their bodies in these ways, and indirectly assume that women everywhere operate in the same manner OR that their right of choice is revoked in the presence of a male who has been conditioned to believe "it's a man's world, and therefore everything in it is mine for the taking"
Rape culture manifests itself in many ways within our lives and it is further reinforced through mass media. You can flip through many magazines, or scroll through Instagram, TV commercials, and film and come across many examples of society normalizing sexual promiscuity usually projected on women's bodies, however we are seeing more men's bodies being objectified as well.
Take for example well-known and popular Carl's Jr. commercials that spend 25 seconds showing a long-legged, busty model (accompanied by a Beyoncé fan blowing those perfectly blended hair extensions away from her face devouring their newest meaty-burger) and we get only 5 seconds of the actually burger that drops from an imaginary cloud of raining burgers we never see in the frame...and well, you get the point.
You might be wondering how a model eating a burger in a fast food commercial has any correlation with the 1 in 5 women who will be sexually assaulted in her college career, or the prevalence of rape in general? Or how the exposure of pornography (violent or non-violent) introduces a non-realistic and damaging portrayal of sexual relations between individuals where consent is NEVER communicated; and only further's the cis-gendered male's belief that women WANT to have sex, all the time, and its not too far-fetched to believe that after enough exposure to women being portrayed sexually that the day-to-day interactions with women would translate in similar sexualized ways.
Mass media translates into real life experiences such as cat-calling, and various degrees of harassment, including sexual assault.
When the culture accepts rape as something to be expected and NOT prevented; this because a major problem.
It is why today,
Athletes and celebrities are protected and defended from "accusations" of such a heinous crime like rape before seriously hearing the account of a survivor's story. Why survivors are blamed more for why they're dressed a certain way that "entices" men to want to pursue them sexually in the first place. Or why society has accepted that "boys will be boys" a saying that only furthers the privileges within a patriarchal society. It is also perhaps why The majority of reported rapes go untested for rape kits which leads to more closed cases than any other crime due to "lack of sufficient evidence." Or, like in my case, "The DA was not confident in pursuing your case because that would mean they would have to prove to 12 jurors (that make up a populous so ingrained & conditioned by influences within rape-culture) without a shadow of a doubt, that you are innocent, and we're not asking for it The night that you were assaulted."
This became an incredibly harsh reality that I had to learn to acknowledge in order to find ways to prevent the perpetuation of rape culture for future generations to come. I personally don't know if we'll be able to eradicate rape culture completely… But I am hopeful that with more education and more sensitivity to the prevalence of rape and what is truly influencing our Society as a whole, we can make strides in not furthering the damages it has in our daily lives.
There are so many other ways we can get across entertaining people in society as well as influencing people to purchase a product without compromising the safety and respectable representation of certain bodies that still have to function and navigate through society on a daily basis.
That being said, Cristal and myself want to dedicate this blog and future post to come in not only expressing our own personal experiences within rape culture but potentially help to educate and undo the damage and affects that it has on every individual exposed to it.
With all that being said, I do hope that this has introduced for some of you perhaps a new perspective on the prevalence of sexual assault and maybe answer a few of your questions that you might have had. We are open to your comments, or questions, and hope to have you back for future posts to come!
💗💗We are going to expand on this topic with the help of people that are incredibly close to us to get their feedback on rape-culture & relationships so please stay tuned for that! Thank you again for visiting are ever – growing blog as we continue to learn, grow, and heal together!
As always, with LOVE & solidarity,
💗Devin Marie& Cristal Lowe
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