Drifting off into a nap on the train when the men next to me start joking about raping a woman and filming it ‘as foreplay’. @EverydaySexism
— Emily Collins (@emmielouli) August 6, 2013
I hadn’t followed the horrific Steubenville case at all until Ariel Levy’s long report in The New Yorker last week, but this passage stood out to me as a real insight into what people mean when they refer to rape culture, and how there’s absolutely no melodrama in that phrase at all:
“Rape culture” is not an empty term or an imaginary phenomenon. According to a survey published by the Centers for Disease Control in 2011, one in five American women have been raped or experienced attempted rape. In May, the officer in charge of preventing sexual assault in the U.S. Air Force was arrested for groping a woman in a parking lot. Two days later, the Pentagon released a poll of a hundred and eight thousand active-duty service members showing that twenty-six thousand had been sexually assaulted. Worldwide, women between fifteen and forty-four are more likely to be injured or die from male violence than from traffic accidents, cancer, malaria, and the effects of war combined. This sustained brutality would be impossible without a culture that enables it: a value system in which women are currency, and sex is something that men get—or take—from them.