An Examination Of Rape Culture

First and foremost I want to give thanks to Owl for once again allowing me the pleasure to contribute to the Asylum.

 

Owl asked me to write this article after a bit of a tangent I had on twitter regarding the lack of critical focus displayed by some over a video on WorldStarHipHop.com (WSHH) referenced on twitter by the hashtag #HerschelwoodBustdown. The video depicted some men running a train on a woman (please note I have not actually watched the video so I am going the reports on my twitter timeline. I will refer to the participants as adults for the purpose of writing this post however if they are in fact not adults WSHH is liable for child porn distribution and should be reported).

 

As I watched my twitter timeline and the hashtag, there was this consistent chorus of disgust
surrounding the events in the video for all the wrong reasons. People were speaking on their distaste for the particular form of group sex depicted, for the woman’s sexual choices (slut shaming, misogynist), or they were questioning the sexuality of the men involved for having their dicks out around each other (heterosexist, and considering that being gay requires there to be some same sex attraction, quite stupid). The men involved utilized some very derogatory misogynistic language in reference to the woman they were having sex with. That reality transforms this scene of indiscretion, (which is misogynistic in its own right- due to the betrayal of that woman’s trust), into a scene of Rape Culture.

 

Now when I say Rape Culture I refer to the violent regime of sexual violence perpetrated primarily against women.

 

We arrive at what is called Rape Culture through the patriarchal masculine hegemonic imperative that demands men exist as dominators and controllers applied to the sexual sphere. Patriarchy makes sex a place where power and domination are expressed as the basis of the act, where pleasure is only a factor with respect to the man involved and thereby reinforcing the potency of one’s manhood. To groups of men who may find themselves oppressed by a particular social order, finding themselves locked out of political, economic, and social spheres of power as well as the sites of domination and control within those spheres the imperative for control and domination become concentrated in the body especially sex. The function of the body because it is the last site left where one can validate the potency of their manhood lest ego collapse or a rearranging of the concept of manhood occur.

 

I can’t recall, whether it is bell hooks or Patricia Hill Collins that illustrates this point by examining prison rape. Men in prison fit the description of being lock out of places of power perhaps better than any other group. Given the abysmal soul murdering conditions one is force to exist in while incarcerated acting out a patriarchal rubric is condensed into the body. In prison settings often the less violent, less aggressive “weaker” men are preyed upon and victimized by the more violent, more aggressive “stronger” men for a variety of purposes including the sexual. In a space where there is no access to women, “women” are created; objects to be dominated controlled and used at the whim of the strong men.

 

To return to the #HershelwoodBustdown, the misogynistic denigration of the woman involved by the men involved make this act not about a wild sexual escapade that should have never made it to the internet, but about trashing women as pleasure on the level of if not superseding that of penetration.

 

Take a moment and think about what it means for a man to vocalize his misogyny as a part of a sexual act with a woman. To do such a thing is to say that as a man, “sex is a site of power for me and you, the woman are merely the masturbatory tool that I use to assert my dominance and because of it you are trash. You are nothing to me. You are utterly disposable. You are and object for me and my friends to treat as we will. You are not human.”

 

This is sexual violence, and because this mindset of sex as power is systemic and based upon a desire to express domination and control it forms a culture of rape.

 

According to The New York Times a recently concluded study shows that 1 out of every 5 women reports being raped. According to Most Estimate 80-90% of rapes go unreported. 50% of the time the victim knows her rapist and that people from marginalized communities are at higher risk for rape due to their societal vulnerability. One would think with such disturbing numbers people would be vigilant and aware of preventing rape. However, the lack of critical thought on this event and the subsequent failure to link it to patriarchy and its culture of rape provides the consent for sexual violence in all of its forms to continue. Not to mention how the seriousness of rape is devalued by victim blaming and the casual usage of the term rape in indicated a level of intensity or to make joke. Even the strategies that are employed to combat rape are tainted by our rape culture as they teach women how to avoid rapes(implying that they bring it on themselves) rather than teaching men to not be rapists. The fact of the matter is that our patriarchal rape culture and its adherence created the men in this video it created the impetus for their misogynistic actions, and the environment that sanctions it. This is how rapists are made and our failure to recognize it means only more victims down the road.

16 thoughts on “An Examination Of Rape Culture

  1. Peace and POWER,
    Any examination of rape culture without an analysis of white supremacy, the psychological effects of dealing with it, or pedophilia (as most rape victims are children) seems incomplete to me. This is, however, a good analysis of the particular angle that the author chose to pursue.

    Is the fact that most boys are initiated into sex by older women apart of the culture of rape?

  2. Peace and POWER,
    Any examination of rape culture without an analysis of white supremacy, the psychological effects of dealing with it, or pedophilia (as most rape victims are children) seems incomplete to me. This is, however, a good analysis of the particular angle that the author chose to pursue.

    Is the fact that most boys are initiated into sex by older women apart of the culture of rape?

  3. Yo its _praxis_

    Khairi Akili brings up great points in references to white supremacy and its formation of the hegemonic gender culture. The psychological effects and sheer level of victimization it brings to bear. Are all essential in a comprehensive examination of rape culture in america. Now I don’t personally know it to be a fact that most boys are initiated into sex by older women, however its is not a reality that is unknown or by any means uncommon and is indeed apart of the rape culture and is not talked about nearly enough. It is an example of how patriarchy victimizes men with the pressure to live and behave within the hegemonic protocols it puts forth.

  4. Yo its _praxis_

    Khairi Akili brings up great points in references to white supremacy and its formation of the hegemonic gender culture. The psychological effects and sheer level of victimization it brings to bear. Are all essential in a comprehensive examination of rape culture in america. Now I don’t personally know it to be a fact that most boys are initiated into sex by older women, however its is not a reality that is unknown or by any means uncommon and is indeed apart of the rape culture and is not talked about nearly enough. It is an example of how patriarchy victimizes men with the pressure to live and behave within the hegemonic protocols it puts forth.

  5. “Most” is a word I’d like to take back. “Many” is more appropriate since I haven’t met most of the men or boys living under this culture and sweeping generalizations are problematic. I have, however, met many young and older men in which that was the case and I, myself, was introduced to sex by a woman almost 5 years my senior, who was a couple months away from that act being legally statutory rape. What I don’t understand is your response to that scenario. How is that an example of patriarchy victimizing a child through pressure and not a woman victimizing a child through rape? Pressure? So an ideology pressures a child and if he cannot withstand the pressure he’s a victim? But he has a choice, right? Couldn’t that easily lead to victim blaming? Or since neither young boys or the women are often blamed for this act, does it become a some form of rite of passage? Who has more control over that situation though? Perhaps our lack of dialogue on the topic is the reason for its murkiness…

    Owl posted another piece related to this one which delves in to the homosexual history of white supremacy and the hypermasculinity/misogyny that have emerged among oppressed men as a result. His piece lays a foundation for an understanding of the actual rape culture that is being discussed. Which leads me back to your post. I think it is disingenuous. Citing a WSHH post, which in I can only assume all participants were Afrikan, and using the response to it by, again an assumption, Afrikans as the examples for rape culture really doesn’t sit right with me. Especially when there was nothing written about the actual culture that molded these individuals. There was discussion of power but no mention of those who are actually powerful within this culture. There was discussion of violence but no mention of the normalcy of sexual sadism in european culture. Nor was there discussion of oppression or that the oppressed internalize the tactics used upon them and perpetuate them horizontally among themselves. And in leaving everything that can be traced DIRECTLY back to europeans out and highlighting the actions/programming of Afrikan people, you have unintentionally, again assuming, reinforced two stereotypes. Those of Afrikans being violent (men especially) and oversexualized.

    Now I’m not trying to say that individuals should not be held accountable for their actions/ideologies, I’m saying that we need to maintain a balanced view and examine the origins of the problem so that we can create solutions that pertain to problematic behavior instead of always focusing on the symptoms.

  6. “Most” is a word I’d like to take back. “Many” is more appropriate since I haven’t met most of the men or boys living under this culture and sweeping generalizations are problematic. I have, however, met many young and older men in which that was the case and I, myself, was introduced to sex by a woman almost 5 years my senior, who was a couple months away from that act being legally statutory rape. What I don’t understand is your response to that scenario. How is that an example of patriarchy victimizing a child through pressure and not a woman victimizing a child through rape? Pressure? So an ideology pressures a child and if he cannot withstand the pressure he’s a victim? But he has a choice, right? Couldn’t that easily lead to victim blaming? Or since neither young boys or the women are often blamed for this act, does it become a some form of rite of passage? Who has more control over that situation though? Perhaps our lack of dialogue on the topic is the reason for its murkiness…

    Owl posted another piece related to this one which delves in to the homosexual history of white supremacy and the hypermasculinity/misogyny that have emerged among oppressed men as a result. His piece lays a foundation for an understanding of the actual rape culture that is being discussed. Which leads me back to your post. I think it is disingenuous. Citing a WSHH post, which in I can only assume all participants were Afrikan, and using the response to it by, again an assumption, Afrikans as the examples for rape culture really doesn’t sit right with me. Especially when there was nothing written about the actual culture that molded these individuals. There was discussion of power but no mention of those who are actually powerful within this culture. There was discussion of violence but no mention of the normalcy of sexual sadism in european culture. Nor was there discussion of oppression or that the oppressed internalize the tactics used upon them and perpetuate them horizontally among themselves. And in leaving everything that can be traced DIRECTLY back to europeans out and highlighting the actions/programming of Afrikan people, you have unintentionally, again assuming, reinforced two stereotypes. Those of Afrikans being violent (men especially) and oversexualized.

    Now I’m not trying to say that individuals should not be held accountable for their actions/ideologies, I’m saying that we need to maintain a balanced view and examine the origins of the problem so that we can create solutions that pertain to problematic behavior instead of always focusing on the symptoms.

  7. In reference to my words regarding sexual pressure I was speaking about how as u said patriarchy normalizes early sexual contact in boys not ready for it. Now in my opinion someone acting under that pressure is not able to provide what I have called good consent (bad consent being akin to getting a yes to have sex with someone who is pissy drunk) in absence of good consent it is a rape. Early sexual contact has become imo a rite of passage that reinforces not only sex as power but also causes psychological trauma due to it being normalized. The murkiness is I think is built the question when can one provide consent for sex.

    In response to my reinforcing of stereotypes, I hear exactly what your saying however I would posit that a person who read my post a would assume that rape culture is a black man thing is not only foolish but also has significant anti-black consciousness. I am like you unsure of the ethnic make up of the individuals involved and made no reference to it because what I wrote centered around how sex as power creates an environment that enables rapists. If one were to hold my post as a discussion of who rapists are, yes, it would be very misleading if not worse. As I have said before it is essential to a comprehensive understanding of rape culture or patriarchy, to understand the people that installed it. I am in complete agreement there. Now could I have included a disclaimer to that effect, of course. All things considered I prolly should have. A comprehensive review of the roots and origins of rape culture was not my goal.

    1. Your point on normalized early sexual contact/ good vs bad consent is noted but again I see the onus being placed upon the young man/child while the marginalization of the thinking/actions of the one getting the good/bad consent. Would it be misogynistic to reduce that role?

      Perhaps the title of your post has thrown me off. I figured an examination would be a comprehensive review of the roots and origins so that we can begin solutionary action that is well-informed and not just well-intentioned.

  8. In reference to my words regarding sexual pressure I was speaking about how as u said patriarchy normalizes early sexual contact in boys not ready for it. Now in my opinion someone acting under that pressure is not able to provide what I have called good consent (bad consent being akin to getting a yes to have sex with someone who is pissy drunk) in absence of good consent it is a rape. Early sexual contact has become imo a rite of passage that reinforces not only sex as power but also causes psychological trauma due to it being normalized. The murkiness is I think is built the question when can one provide consent for sex.

    In response to my reinforcing of stereotypes, I hear exactly what your saying however I would posit that a person who read my post a would assume that rape culture is a black man thing is not only foolish but also has significant anti-black consciousness. I am like you unsure of the ethnic make up of the individuals involved and made no reference to it because what I wrote centered around how sex as power creates an environment that enables rapists. If one were to hold my post as a discussion of who rapists are, yes, it would be very misleading if not worse. As I have said before it is essential to a comprehensive understanding of rape culture or patriarchy, to understand the people that installed it. I am in complete agreement there. Now could I have included a disclaimer to that effect, of course. All things considered I prolly should have. A comprehensive review of the roots and origins of rape culture was not my goal.

    1. Your point on normalized early sexual contact/ good vs bad consent is noted but again I see the onus being placed upon the young man/child while the marginalization of the thinking/actions of the one getting the good/bad consent. Would it be misogynistic to reduce that role?

      Perhaps the title of your post has thrown me off. I figured an examination would be a comprehensive review of the roots and origins so that we can begin solutionary action that is well-informed and not just well-intentioned.

  9. i forgot this part.

    In reference to Owl’s piece I notice there is a bit of a difference in how rape is characterized. Owl writing if I am interpreting it correctly characterizes the term rape to include the particular kind of domination that black folk especially men through their representation as greater physical threats suffer that bent on emasculating thus the emphasis on not getting “fucked” as something that does not happen to men without reprisal. However the word that comes to mind to describe such a situation isn’t emasculating its dehumanizing. It’s the difference b/w I shouldn’t have to deal with this b/c I’m a man and I shouldn’t have to deal with this b/c I’m a person. Given that view, rape is something that I tend to see exclusively within the context of a forced sexual act and the
    getting “fucked” a and domination based on the reinforcement of a hegemonic gender ideology that the white power structure seek to actively prevent black men and women from achieving. That I have found to be highly toxic and pointless to pursue anyway.

    1. What I saw from Owl’s post was an overview of how the homosexual cultures of greece and, especially, rome led to the culture of sex being used to display not just power but also class distinction. And how subsequently, misogyny, homophobia and hypermasculinity came to be dominant themes that pervaded the entire culture. In my analysis, he broadened the effect of rape from being only physical to also being psychological, and gave examples as to the aftereffects of the psychological wounding.

      “Every rape, whether of a female body or male body, is a destruction of the psychic body with which one may never return whole from.”

      I think he dealt less in abstraction than what it seems like you’re implying. But perhaps he will comment and clarify for us.

  10. i forgot this part.

    In reference to Owl’s piece I notice there is a bit of a difference in how rape is characterized. Owl writing if I am interpreting it correctly characterizes the term rape to include the particular kind of domination that black folk especially men through their representation as greater physical threats suffer that bent on emasculating thus the emphasis on not getting “fucked” as something that does not happen to men without reprisal. However the word that comes to mind to describe such a situation isn’t emasculating its dehumanizing. It’s the difference b/w I shouldn’t have to deal with this b/c I’m a man and I shouldn’t have to deal with this b/c I’m a person. Given that view, rape is something that I tend to see exclusively within the context of a forced sexual act and the
    getting “fucked” a and domination based on the reinforcement of a hegemonic gender ideology that the white power structure seek to actively prevent black men and women from achieving. That I have found to be highly toxic and pointless to pursue anyway.

    1. What I saw from Owl’s post was an overview of how the homosexual cultures of greece and, especially, rome led to the culture of sex being used to display not just power but also class distinction. And how subsequently, misogyny, homophobia and hypermasculinity came to be dominant themes that pervaded the entire culture. In my analysis, he broadened the effect of rape from being only physical to also being psychological, and gave examples as to the aftereffects of the psychological wounding.

      “Every rape, whether of a female body or male body, is a destruction of the psychic body with which one may never return whole from.”

      I think he dealt less in abstraction than what it seems like you’re implying. But perhaps he will comment and clarify for us.

  11. In Praxis’ defense, I selected the title. Marketing tends toward the most poetic and not always the most accurate, and I’ll apologize on that end. Um, in the piece I wrote, I was stating that rape, (and in that regard, the culture of rape, right?) stems from the male hegemonic as a device of class privilege, which gives rise to what I presented as an atavistic tendency of domination. The “fuck” aspect, is at once dehumanizing, and also emasculating as one must act in, what I have seen and heard, extremely violent methods to gain back one’s, um, masculine body once invaded. That should be taken as the psychic body. You can’t “be the man,” so to speak, you can’t act as a man, or be accepted as such, until that rectification has occurred. And, of course, there are a myriad of things that ought to be consider here that we don’t discuss very often due to the nature of the subject. Um, you know? The male that is raped is forever stamped a “bitch”, which is, you know, the height of emasculation and dehumanization for the man. This is no longer the human “man” but now the construction of another persons aims, as you hint at in your piece, Praxis, when you discuss the men making “women”. Well, you can’t do that(not to offend the transgender readers, here). The thing is this though, you’ve taken this male, this person that is born with this anatomical equipment, a natural organic decision, okay? And, because of this natural order of things, a social construct is bequeathed, namely, the development of the gender role, a particular set of behaviors and feelings and beliefs that form the psychic body. And let’s not kid our Selves here, gentlemen, at this level, the psychic body is the Self, it is you. It is what you know of your Self. And what we see of men that are raped-and don’t retaliate to the degree of creating a sense of fear in those that might decide to return to do harm to what a rapist in that arena deems prey-is that their identities begin to fold in on them Selves, what is referred to as the “press game” unfolds, and you start seeing humans that once wanted to act and behave in one manner being forced by an alien ideology about them Self acting in the complete opposite way. Even outside of the concentration camps, as we saw in Haiti, that child is being humiliated through the emasculation of his psychic body. Don’t think for a second those soldiers and officers(damn “peace keepers”) weren’t calling him all sorts of insults to imply femininity. You’ve emasculated by removing that core strength, and then dehumanized by forcing a person to be that which they don’t want to be. It is a very similar process to what happened to Blacks in the United States. There is for men at least that option of murder, for women, I’m not always sure this society provides for an act that can offer catharsis. Which maybe why we do find in the Black community, this degree of hypermasculinity even in the women, where, you know, a sister will call a man a “bitch” or a “bitch ass nigga” with the same meaning of emasculation and dehumanization that comes with the idea of rape. Let it be known, there is no sympathy to be found. The danger of that seems to be internalization, and we’ve seen that in the numbers of women that don’t report rapes.

  12. In Praxis’ defense, I selected the title. Marketing tends toward the most poetic and not always the most accurate, and I’ll apologize on that end. Um, in the piece I wrote, I was stating that rape, (and in that regard, the culture of rape, right?) stems from the male hegemonic as a device of class privilege, which gives rise to what I presented as an atavistic tendency of domination. The “fuck” aspect, is at once dehumanizing, and also emasculating as one must act in, what I have seen and heard, extremely violent methods to gain back one’s, um, masculine body once invaded. That should be taken as the psychic body. You can’t “be the man,” so to speak, you can’t act as a man, or be accepted as such, until that rectification has occurred. And, of course, there are a myriad of things that ought to be consider here that we don’t discuss very often due to the nature of the subject. Um, you know? The male that is raped is forever stamped a “bitch”, which is, you know, the height of emasculation and dehumanization for the man. This is no longer the human “man” but now the construction of another persons aims, as you hint at in your piece, Praxis, when you discuss the men making “women”. Well, you can’t do that(not to offend the transgender readers, here). The thing is this though, you’ve taken this male, this person that is born with this anatomical equipment, a natural organic decision, okay? And, because of this natural order of things, a social construct is bequeathed, namely, the development of the gender role, a particular set of behaviors and feelings and beliefs that form the psychic body. And let’s not kid our Selves here, gentlemen, at this level, the psychic body is the Self, it is you. It is what you know of your Self. And what we see of men that are raped-and don’t retaliate to the degree of creating a sense of fear in those that might decide to return to do harm to what a rapist in that arena deems prey-is that their identities begin to fold in on them Selves, what is referred to as the “press game” unfolds, and you start seeing humans that once wanted to act and behave in one manner being forced by an alien ideology about them Self acting in the complete opposite way. Even outside of the concentration camps, as we saw in Haiti, that child is being humiliated through the emasculation of his psychic body. Don’t think for a second those soldiers and officers(damn “peace keepers”) weren’t calling him all sorts of insults to imply femininity. You’ve emasculated by removing that core strength, and then dehumanized by forcing a person to be that which they don’t want to be. It is a very similar process to what happened to Blacks in the United States. There is for men at least that option of murder, for women, I’m not always sure this society provides for an act that can offer catharsis. Which maybe why we do find in the Black community, this degree of hypermasculinity even in the women, where, you know, a sister will call a man a “bitch” or a “bitch ass nigga” with the same meaning of emasculation and dehumanization that comes with the idea of rape. Let it be known, there is no sympathy to be found. The danger of that seems to be internalization, and we’ve seen that in the numbers of women that don’t report rapes.

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