Rape Culture 101 (Debunked)

On permutationofninjas we often deal with (and run into) the concept of “rape culture”.  This rather poorly explained theory is almost omnipresent in feminist discourse, yet only rarely does someone deign to explain how it works.  We figured the simplest way to tackle it was to find the biggest target possible and get out the shovel.

The following post, and excerpts thereof, has been making the rounds on Tumblr for longer than any of PoN’s admins have been on the site.  It’s massive, it’s well-written (for certain values of the term), it’s emphatic….and it is almost entirely bullshit.  The original post is quite literally the worst example of the “Gish Gallop" that any of our admins have ever seen, and our full response to it is the longest post we’ve ever put up on PoN; 11,300 words written over the course of almost three months.  (In fact, it’s so long that tumblr started crashing when I was trying to edit it).  It’s been….well, "trying" is one word for it.  There was a lot of cursing involved.  However, one way or another someone had to do it, and that’s what we’ve done.

For your viewing pleasure, please enjoy our rebuttal to Ms. Shakesville’s definition of rape culture.

Frequently, I receive requests to provide a definition of the term “rape culture.” I’ve referred people to the Wikipedia entry on rape culture, which is pretty good, and I like the definition provided in Transforming a Rape Culture:

A rape culture is a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.


In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes. This violence, however, is neither biologically nor divinely ordained. Much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change.

But my correspondents—whether they are dewy noobs just coming to feminism, advanced feminists looking for a source, or disbelievers in the existence of the rape culture—always seem to be looking for something more comprehensive and less abstract: What is the rape culture? What are its borders? What does it look like and sound like and feel like?

Well, this might have to do with the fact that the entire “rape culture” notion is very ill-defined, and largely used to mean whatever a particular feminist wants it to today.

It is not a definition for which they’re looking; not really. It’s a description. It’s something substantive enough to reach out and touch, in all its ugly, heaving, menacing grotesquery.

Actually, a definition would be nice, though the imagery leaves something to be desired.  Surely Shakesy can be more imaginative than that!

This is going to be a long slog (even for me, and we all know that’s saying something), and I apologize to my readers for putting you through this.  There are undoubtedly some good points amidst the crap, but as usual they’re likely the slim minority.  Let’s be clear on one thing to start, though: our culture is permissive of violence.  Violence includes rape.  As such, our culture is, to a degree, permissive of rape.  However, when we look at the facts we find that our culture is less permissive of rape than virtually any other form of violence, and indeed accords to it not only the harshest punishments but the dubious position of “worst” among crimes.  With this in mind, the idea that we live in a “rape culture” is simply ludicrous when compared to the idea that we live in what bell hooks termed an “overriding culture of violence,” of which rape is but one part, and not even the largest one.

Rape culture is encouraging male sexual aggression. Rape culture is regarding violence as sexy and sexuality as violent. Rape culture is treating rape as a compliment, as the unbridled passion stirred in a healthy man by a beautiful woman, making irresistible the urge to rip open her bodice or slam her against a wall, or a wrought-iron fence, or a car hood, or pull her by her hair, or shove her onto a bed, or any one of a million other images of fight-fucking in movies and television shows and on the covers of romance novels that convey violent urges are inextricably linked with (straight) sexuality.

Well, except for the part where according to Scientific American and Nature (for plaintext, academic study located here) there are demonstrable biological links confirming what psychologists and sociologists have known for a long time: that violence and sex are inextricably linked.  It’s not culture, let alone “rape culture”, it goes right back to biology.  Similarly, the assertion in the first link that “….are men who seek to possess and control, and sex is the weapon they wield—not the ends, but the means” is not just wrong, it’s wrong on several counts.

First and foremost, there is a substantial amount of evidence pointing to sexual gratification as a motive in many cases of rape.  A variety of studies have shown that most rapists demonstrate a preference for consensual sex over rape, and evidence has shown that rates of rape have declined by over 80% since 1973.  The case is only strengthened by evidence on the effect of internet pornography on incidence of rape, as it shows that easy access to other sexual outlets contributes to a decrease in rape incidence.  This is also backed up by evidence that prostitution is also correlated with lower levels of rape, which makes sense when examined from an economic perspective.  Additionally, models of rape based on power and control fail to explain why rapists show a marked preference (as demonstrated by victimization distribution) for women who are young adults and thus deemed to be in their prime years of attractiveness despite younger and older women being far easier targets.

Secondly, the quote implies that the vast majority of rapists are men, and the vast majority of victims are women.  Statistical evidence from the CDC’s NIPSVS puts the lie to the claim, and demonstrates that somewhere between 25-50% of rape victims are men, and up to 40% of rapists are women.  This also ignores the over 200,000 people raped in prison every year, almost universally men.  In fact, in U.S. prisons alone over 300,000 rapes are committed every year.  For perspective, if 1 in 6 women are raped during their lifetime and each woman is raped only once, with the current U.S. population that adds up to….300,000 rapes a year.  Even disregarding every single man who has never been incarcerated, that’s an equal number of attacks on men, so this is far from a crime overwhelmingly suffered by women no matter how you look at it.  To recap: the CDC’s NIPSVS shows that outside of prison men make up between 25-50% of victims, and the male in-prison victims alone equal or exceed the number of female victims in the entire country.  Rape is not a crime that primarily targets women.

But wait, we’re not done!  The first link then attacks the oft-mentioned fact that over half of women have what are termed “rape fantasies” with the characteristic elements being a dominant and aggressive male partner, physical violence or force and a degree of submission or controlledness on the part of the woman.  While this obviously does not indicate a desire to be actually raped, it demonstrates that the combination of sex and violence is far from a male thing, unless you believe that half of all women are so inherently stupid and weak-minded that they can be deluded into fantasizing about something they don’t really want.  Given that about half of all women (and presumably a similar portion of men) fantasize about highly aggressive sex with dubious consent, perhaps our media is imitating our desires rather than the other way around.

The reason people act like violence and sexuality are linked is because they are, starting right from our basic biology.

Rape culture is treating straight sexuality as the norm. Rape culture is lumping queer sexuality into nonconsensual sexual practices like pedophilia and bestiality. Rape culture is privileging heterosexuality because ubiquitous imagery of two adults of the same-sex engaging in egalitarian partnerships without gender-based dominance and submission undermines (erroneous) biological rationales for the rape culture’s existence.

Silly us, and here we thought that was heteronormativity and homophobia.

There are several problems here, the first being that studies have shown rates of domestic violence and rape are just as high (and in some cases higher) within the queer community as elsewhere.  While less reported, this is largely a result of the overall homophobia within our culture; people who are already marginalized by their sexuality are less likely to report crimes to a hostile judiciary.  Second, the supposed “biological rationales for rape culture’s existence” haven’t actually been presented yet, so there’s no way to know if or how same-sex partnerships would or would not undermine them.

Overall, this would be an example of “not even wrong”.  There is no evidence given of how it relates to the discussion, no tangible argument, and basically just a bunch of blind assertions that doesn’t even make sense.

Rape culture is rape being used as a weapon, a tool of war and genocide and oppression. Rape culture is rape being used as a corrective to “cure” queer women. Rape culture is a militarized culture and “the natural product of all wars, everywhere, at all times, in all forms.”

So rape is tolerated and sanctioned within our society because it’s been used as a tool to attack and destroy in war and oppression.  Good news, I can now go grab a shotgun and shoot my annoying neighbor in the face!  ….wait, what?  I can’t?  You mean the things we do in war aren’t sanctioned within general society as being acceptable?  Can I at least lynch him?  I mean, way back when that happened all the time!  Still no?  Come on, give me something at least.  Sheesh.  So, wait, if the things we do in war aren’t acceptable, and the things some did in the past to oppress people aren’t acceptable….why would rape be any different? 

Rape culture is 1 in 33 men being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is encouraging men to use the language of rape to establish dominance over one another (“I’ll make you my bitch”). Rape culture is making rape a ubiquitous part of male-exclusive bonding. Rape culture is ignoring the cavernous need for men’s prison reform in part because the threat of being raped in prison is considered an acceptable deterrent to committing crime, and the threat only works if actual men are actually being raped.

Rape culture is 1 in 6 women being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is not even talking about the reality that many women are sexually assaulted multiple times in their lives. Rape culture is the way in which the constant threat of sexual assault affects women’s daily movements. Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.

Actually, if rape culture is anything it’s people (*cough*feminists*cough*) actively distorting the definition of “rape” so that it only applies to the categories of victim they deem acceptable and working very hard to ignore the fact that men and women rape and are raped at similar rates, but that’s not really the point here.

It’s interesting, though.  The first link points out that the fraternity in question has very strong anti-hazing policies, provides a wide variety of LGBT equality and rape prevention information on their web page, have a member education program devoted to these issues, and immediately disbanded the chapter after finding out about the problem….so-this-means-they-must-tolerate-rape-and-the-actions-of-one-single-chapter-of-a-fraternity-totally-represent-the-beliefs-of-society-as-a-whole.  Amidoinitrite?

The second link is perhaps the only thing so far that actually did made any sense at all….or at least it would if it had anything to do with the definition of rape culture that was presented back at the beginning.  Note how the definition clearly excludes men?  This is one of those “you can’t have it both ways” things; you can’t have a definition that directly excludes men, then turn around and use male victimization to prove your “point”.

It only gets worse from here.  Apparently rape culture involves “assum[ing] that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable as death or taxes,” while simultaneously ignoring the reality that women are sexually assaulted.  Besides the fact that (as mentioned) we do more ignoring of the fact that men are sexually assaulted and always have, this is literally self-contradictory.  Not only are certain levels of crime  by nature inevitable, you also can’t assume something to be a fact of life while ignoring it.  Simply by assuming it to be a fact of life you’re acknowledging its existence.  Logic.  It’s a thing.

The last link and everything after it all comes down to the difference between rational and irrational fear.  It goes on, and on, (and on) about how the threat of rape utterly rules women’s lives yet not only are men just as likely to be raped, they’re also roughly twice as likely to be victims of any other violent crime.  Fear is not risk, and equating the two vastly misrepresents the problem.  Apparently “rape culture” is the same as “treating rape the same way we treat other crimes”.  Yes, we question people who accuse others of crime to make sure they’re telling the truth.  Yes, we expect people to take measures to protect themselves.  We teach them to lock their doors, watch their belongings, not leave their keys in the ignition, never provoke the big drunk dumbass even if they’re in the wrong, and avoid the wrong neighborhoods, why the hell shouldn’t we give them legitimate advice that could help avoid them becoming victims in the first place?

Rape culture is victim-blaming. Rape culture is a judge blaming a child for her own rape. Rape culture is a minister blaming his child victims. Rape culture is accusing a child of enjoying being held hostage, raped, and tortured. Rape culture is spending enormous amounts of time finding any reason at all that a victim can be blamed for hir own rape.

There are a lot of things we need to examine in these three cases.  In the first one, let’s let the words of the judge speak for themselves:

Did she look like she was 10? Certainly not. She looked 16.

Let’s now note something very important here, something that’s been somewhat obscured by the wording of Shakesville’s “article” and indeed the news articles she chooses to cite. There is absolutely no evidence that there was any violence involved, or that the child was coerced, or in fact any evidence of rape beyond the age of the child.  When we say “no evidence,” we mean that as far as we can tell, even the prosecution did not suggest that there was any factor in the charge other than the ages of the people involved.  As far as can be known from the information given, the girl was (at least visibly) a willing participant in what happened.

For those people that don’t know, the age of consent in the UK (as well as many other countries around the world, including my own) is 16.  According to the judge, even doctors who examined the alleged victim believed her to be in her mid to late teens.  The judge’s “blaming a child for her own rape” basically amounts to the fact that he pointed out that the girl looked older than she was, acted older than she was, dressed older than she was, and could have reasonably been mistaken for a slightly underdeveloped sixteen-year old.  I’ve personally known people as young as twelve who could pass as twenty, and twenty-year-olds who could pass for twelve, so without further information I personally have to defer to the judge on this one.

Were the men out of line?  Certainly.  Was what they did creepy?  Absolutely.  Is the case deserving of review by a higher court?  Definitely.  However, claiming that this represents an outrageous miscarriage of justice when the men involved will serve jail time, have had their lives and reputations effectively ruined, and will be on sex offender lists for the rest of their lives for what quite literally could have been an honest (albeit utterly boneheaded) mistake?  I personally have to question that.  We can say all we want that “nobody would ever mistake a ten-year-old for sixteen,” but unless we’d personally seen the girl in question we just can’t know that.

The irony of all of this is that the next two cases (the second two links deal with the same case) actually do support what’s being said.  (Or at least they would, if the second one didn’t involve a boy.  Remember the definition from earlier?)

The second two, however, cannot escape scrutiny either.  See, in the first case the “viewpoint” being offered is that of the perpetrator.  Not the judicial system, not the public, not the victims, not anyone else even remotely associated with the case, only the perpetrator, someone we already know is of questionable morality.  Polling a child rapist as to what he thinks and projecting that onto society is like polling Hitler and using that as a judge of what German people think.  There’s no indication, in fact, that the courts took any of the beliefs in either of the second examples into account, and as far as I know both offenders were dealt with extremely harshly.

The last example uses the opinion of Bill O’Reilly, a man commonly known for being as obnoxious as he is stupid (albeit well listened-to).  Even in this case, though, his words have been substantially twisted and decontextualized.  Not only is O’Reilly a known idiot, his comments were in relation to abduction, not rape.  Additionally, despite Ms. Shakesville’s blanket dismissal, O’Reilly’s comments were made in the relative absence of relevant information.  While it did indeed come out that the circumstances were far from what O’Reilly posited and we can certainly argue that his remarks were irresponsible and blatantly stupid, that’s as far as we can go.

Even if we do take the latter two at face value, we cannot make any meaningful statement about culture from the actions of one person who’s in jail and another who most of the country thinks is despicable, especially when the actions of the courts demonstrate clearly that the crimes in question were treated with the utmost seriousness.

Rape culture is judges banning the use of the word rape in the courtroom. Rape culture is the media using euphemisms for sexual assault. Rape culture is stories about rape being featured in the Odd News.

More stories, less context.

The first story, while framed in an incredibly inflammatory way actually makes a great deal of sense.  A judge ordered an alleged victim at trial to refrain from using the words “rape” or “sexual assault” on the basis that they could prejudice the jury. Indeed, similar orders have appeared in a number of other cases (many of them having nothing to do with rape) in order to enforce specific discussion of the facts while reducing the potential connotations.  (Apparently, the term of choice was “sexual intercourse”.)

Ms. Shakesville, of course, takes great offense to this.  According to her: 

It’s also forcing them to commit perjury—which is why I can’t understand for the life of me how this can possibly be constitutional. Sexual intercourse connotes consent. Testifying to having “sexual intercourse,” when one has not given consent, is not accurate. Effectively, rape victims are being compelled to perjure themselves to protect their rapists. Charming.

Let’s play another round of the popular PoN game, “What’s The Definition?”!
Google:

Sexual contact between individuals involving penetration, esp. the insertion of a man’s erect penis into a woman’s vagina.

Merriam-Webster:

1: heterosexual intercourse involving penetration of the vagina by the penis 
2: intercourse (as anal or oral intercourse) that does not involve penetration of the vagina by the penis
OED:
sexual contact between individuals involving penetration, especially the insertion of a man’s erect penis into a woman’s vagina, typically culminating in orgasm and the ejaculation of semen.

I’d count off for you the number of times “consent” appears in those definitions (and the handful of others I saw while writing this), but I think you can do it on your own.  Ms. Shakesville has a point, of course….but the term she’s looking for is “making love,” and the day a judge successfully mandates that an alleged rape victim describe what happened to her as “making love” will be the day I eat my non-existent hat.

In fact, technically speaking, whether what happened was rape or not isn’t known until it’s decided by a court of law, just like other crimes.  There’s a reason media reports always include the “alleged” part.  While there’s greater lenience on the part of the press (and it’s their right to report what the charges are), within a court of law things must be done in a very considered and specific manner.

She also, of course, trots out the old chestnut that false reports of rape are no more common than other crimes, but that’s practically beside the point.

In the second example she (quite surprisingly) identifies something that many don’t: our (and the media’s) propensity to refer to the sexual victimization and molestation of boys as being “seduction” or similar rather than what it is.  This would, once again, be a wonderful point to make if it weren’t for the way it’s, you know, still not in line with her definition of what rape culture is!  (Yes, again.)

The third and last example is just plain reaching.  The implication, of course, is that because these examples are listed under “odd news” rather than “life-shatteringly important international news” the cases aren’t being taken seriously.  This couldn’t be further from the truth as both perpetrators were convicted, one of them receiving a life sentence (the other received slightly less than a decade in jail).  In fact, one case isn’t about rape at all, but rather about the specifics of how the justice system handles civil damage suits that arise alongside criminal prosecutions.  The other, of course, is “odd” for reasons that would seem entirely obvious: I don’t think anyone has tried to plead “not guilty” on the grounds of spider bite before.

Rape culture is tasking victims with the burden of rape prevention. Rape culture is encouraging women to take self-defense as though that is the only solution required to preventing rape. Rape culture is admonishing women to “learn common sense” or “be more responsible” or “be aware of barroom risks” or “avoid these places” or “don’t dress this way,” and failing to admonish men to not rape.

Murder culture is tasking victims with the burden of murder prevention.  Murder culture is encouraging people to take self defense as though that is the only solution required to preventing murder.  Murder culture is admonishing people to “learn common sense” or “be more responsible” or “be aware of barroom risks” or “avoid these places” or “don’t dress this way,” and failing to admonish people to not murder.

If we have a rape culture, we have an equally potent murder culture.  We teach people to protect themselves, we teach them to “learn common sense” and “be responsible”, we teach them who to watch out for in a bar, what neighborhoods not to go into, and certainly what not (gang signs, anyone?) to wear.

Take self-defense”?  Sure, there’s one good point: self-defense is not the be-all, end-all solution to rape.  However, this would only be relevant if anyone was marketing it as such….which they aren’t.  Nobody’s claiming that the solution to rape is to simply teach all women (and men) self-defense.  Rather, it’s one essential piece of a comprehensive package.  Do you know what else isn’t a comprehensive solution to rape?  ”Teach rapists not to rape.”  Maybe it’s just me, but I’d personally go with the one that doesn’t rely on criminals politely listening to you.

Learn common sense”?  This one’s particularly interesting, because she quite literally makes an argument, and then (quite unwittingly, it seems) demonstrates why she’s completely wrong. It doesn’t help in the slightest that the original events in question were the Duke Lacrosse case, now known to be one of the greatest examples of false rape accusation.  Her link to another blogger is a dead end which cannot be commented on, so I’ll just address the two examples.  First, she points to a case where a man was assaulted by a completely different member of the Duke team (one not involved in the rape case) after he asked several men (including the Duke team member) to stop insulting him using homophobic slurs. She questions whether “common sense” would have helped him.  Simple answer: “yes”.

Common sense would have told him that no matter what they were saying, confronting several athletes over a remark especially in a situation where (I’m guessing) there was alcohol involved is a recipe for disaster.  I’m queer myself, and I would probably think better of it even though I could probably even win in such an altercation.  There are better ways to deal with it, the very least of which is making sure that you have some kind of backup.  As for her last comment, “instead of focusing on what women should do to protect themselves, we might consider that there are some people who just don’t agree that they have no right to violate another person’s body—and that they should be the focus of our (ahem) helpful suggestions?”….well, the way I see it, common sense (yep, that word again) suggests the exact opposite.  When we know for a fact that there are many people who just don’t agree that they have no right to violate someone else’s body, so perhaps the best thing is to stop pretending that simply asking nicely is going to work and consider trying to teach people how to defend themselves.

Be more responsible”?  While it’s certainly necessary for everyone to take greater responsibility for themselves, alcohol doesn’t justify someone’s rape.  That said, there’s a reason this is getting the attention it is.  Over the years, there have been many concentrated campaigns, many originating from feminist sources that have claimed that alcohol has nothing to do with rape, and that the real problem was that women were being drugged by nefarious men.  What the study found was that the vast majority of cases thought to involve “date rape” drugs really had to do with people drinking more than they could handle and ending up vulnerable.  Is it a surprise that there was backlash?  The irony is that the article itself was a news piece, and was pretty well non-partisan.  Sure, they opted for a provocative headline (what news source wouldn’t?), but consider for a moment the fact that the headline was considered to be provocative and what that says about the expected attitudes of the readers.

Be aware of barroom risks”?  Well, I can’t see the original article, nor can I see the original response, so at best I’ve got things as presented by Shakesy and that’s….almost coherent.  As far as I can tell, all the article really did was point out that underage women are in many cases exposing themselves to risks.  Frankly, it’s no different than an article about the risk experienced by people who drive on days known to be bad for drunk driving.  (And yes, I’ve seen such an article.)  There’s very little difference, but of course the idea that women’s behavior might have an effect on their risk is too much for the radscum to handle as always.

Avoid these places”?  Besides basically being a rehash of sentences from the last few, it once again harps on the same point: rapists, not victims, commit rape.  Yeah.  We got it the first ten times.  However, telling rapists not to rape is not going to work (we’ve tried), so the next best thing is to make their targets less inviting and accessible.  Shakesy brings up her personal experience (again), despite that having absolutely no relevance because, you know, this is all about risk.  Of course, I’m sure Shakesy doesn’t understand how risk works either, given that I’m sure somewhere she’s decided that science and math are tools of the patriarchy.

Don’t dress this way”?  Yes, the cleric is an idiot.  What a fucking surprise.

Throughout all of these we see one thread repeated: that rapists, not victims, commit rape (accurate), and that as a result we should not in any way whatsoever take (or encourage people to take) any kinds of steps to reduce the ease with which they can be victimized.  As anyone who locks their door, practices defensive driving, shreds old credit cards and documents, and any other of the hundreds of practices that each of us engage in to reduce our risk every single day can tell you, that point of view is simply ignorant.  Rapists are not going to stop raping simply because we ask them nicely.  Stop pretending that they will.

Rape culture is “nothing” being the most frequent answer to a question about what people have been formally taught about rape.

Tell me, what have you been formally taught about murder?  Unless you’ve taken a class on law, the answer is probably also “nothing”.  In fact, that’s probably what you’d have to answer about almost every crime.  Our society doesn’t tend to teach people about crime in a formal fashion, but rather expects them to learn as they’re socialized.

As far as law is concerned, murder is often a far more complex crime: unlike rape, it’s generally divided into several completely separate crimes under the law, with varying standards and penalties.  Rape is almost simple by comparison. 

Rape culture is boys under 10 years old knowing how to rape.

And murder culture is 10 year old girls knowing how to murder?

Frankly, no.  The whole thing is misleading.  When children commit crimes like this, it generally comes back to one of two reasons: either they have no idea what they’re really doing, or there are severe mental instabilities.  Neither of these say anything about culture one way or another, except possibly about the societal prudishness surrounding some matters.  The idea that our culture somehow “trained” these young boys to rape is utterly ridiculous….hell, the murder idea is genuinely plausible by comparison.  Media often portrays murder as, if not admirable, at least acceptable.  When was the last time you saw a woman’s rape played for comedy?

Rape culture is the idea that only certain people rape—and only certain people get raped. Rape culture is ignoring that the thing about rapists is that they rape people. They rape people who are strong and people who are weak, people who are smart and people who are dumb, people who fight back and people who submit just to get it over with, people who are sluts and people who are prudes, people who rich and people who are poor, people who are tall and people who are short, people who are fat and people who are thin, people who are blind and people who are sighted, people who are deaf and people who can hear, people of every race and shape and size and ability and circumstance.

In which Ms. Shakesville refers back to her own attire when victimized for the eighth(?) time.  Her entire argument here is that rapists are completely indiscriminate (because she can find a news article from each category), and thus, implicitly, there are absolutely no relevant risk factors and behaviors to examine in those who are victimized (and by extension, a comment about rape as being a nonsexual crime: clearly if it were based in sex the most young and attractive would be targeted).

This is a house of cards of the worst kind.  First, the core contention is simply wrong.  Yes, rapists rape all kinds of people, just like muggers mug all kinds of people and murderers kill all kinds of people.  However, according to at least one (admittedly somewhat out of date, but there’s no reason to believe these demographics have changed) study, 91% of reported rape victims were aged 29 or younger, and 84% were under age 25.  This shows strongly preferential behavior corresponding to youth, especially given that victimizing a number of other groups (including the elderly) is less risky as there are under much less supervision and are generally physically weaker.  (This is why we know that the criteria isn’t simply “vulnerability”, because then we’d be seeing spikes in victimization on both ends of the age scale.)  In fact, even of Ms. Shakesville’s hand-picked news stories, the vast majority involve victims under the age of 30 and a slightly smaller majority involve victims under the age of 25.

Indeed, there are a number of quite demonstrable preference criteria that rapists exhibit, with the top three being age, level of vulnerability, and situationally-generated opportunity.  In other words those at the greatest risk are those who are young, vulnerable, and place themselves in dangerous situations.  This last one doesn’t make anything that happened to them their fault.  At all.  However, if our actual concern is stopping rape rather than ensuring that we’ll have pristine and blameless victims, it’s something we have to acknowledge.

As much as I hate to pummel a deceased equine, it’s somewhat telling that Ms. Shakesville is capable of believing that rapists are subhuman creatures who will indiscriminately attack anything that moves….yet still thinks that the most sensible and effective way to end rape is to politely ask the rapists to stop.

Rape culture is the narrative that sex workers can’t be raped. Rape culture is the assertion that wives can’t be raped. Rape culture is the contention that only nice girls can be raped.

The first link is a very interesting court case.  In short, a prostitute arranged a sexual encounter, and then her prospective client threatened her with a gun, forced her to have sex with him and three others, then (unsurprisingly) didn’t pay her.  The judge dropped the charges of rape, rather electing to charge with armed robbery based on “theft of services”.  Technically speaking, this isn’t necessarily unreasonable under the law: if she had been a masseuse, batting coach, or any other similar profession that would be the standard charge.  Ms. Shakesville, of course, views sex work as fundamentally different to all other forms of service work.  (Incidentally, where I live the maximum sentences for armed robbery and sexual assault with a weapon are both 14 years, meaning that this would make little fundamental difference to the court case or punishment and quite possibly make it easier to prove.)  Under the law we make a distinction between those who provide a given service as an occupation and those who do not, especially in cases where a given crime occurred on the job.  Sex should not necessarily be considered an exception.

I’m not going to address whether I agree or disagree with the judge’s choice in charges, but at least on the surface the judge’s decision was legally sound.  The woman was providing a service, and she was forced to provide that service against her will (without payment) through threat with a weapon.  That’s armed robbery.  However, the “service” in question was sex, that’s rape.  While I’d say the question of which charge should be laid is an open one, it is an open one and one on which a precedent needs to be set.  Given the judge’s apparent stance towards the case, though, I would tend to believe that there was some level of bigotry involved and that the person to set that precedent should not be her.

The second link leads to a page with….a potholed link and no discussion.  That redirects to a holding page.  Whoops.  Let’s presume, though, that Schlafly did indeed say what it’s claimed she said (while Ms. Shakesville has many faults, blatant lying does not yet seem to be one of them).  I’m going to be as objective as I can about this, given that I have a genuine dislike for Schlafly for a number of other reasons.  In short, if sex was one of the agreed-upon conditions of a marriage that doesn’t mean someone can’t be raped.  What it means is that if they say no, they’ve violated the conditions of their marriage with whatever sanctions that implies.  Rape is more serious than marriage or adultery, so it takes precedence.  That having been said, I can’t help but wonder what Ms. Shakesville said about the man in France who was ordered to pay damages to his wife for lack of sex.  You know, when rather than being the position of a fringe right-wing commentator with little to no credibility, it’s being upheld by the judiciary (at least against men).  Oh, wait, she didn’t say anything.

The third link has a quote which leads to yet another dead link, meaning getting any kind of context is pretty much impossible.  Regardless, the text doesn’t have anything to do with the pothole it’s got here making it pretty much meaningless.  What I think the representative was referring to was the continual widening of the definition of rape by feminist advocates to the point of meaninglessness.  Some advocates have stated that sex after a beer is rape.  Some have effectively stated that it’s the responsibility of men to be mind-readers to their female partners, that they’re responsible not for what their partner says, but for what they think.  What a surprise that some people have a problem with this.

Rape culture is refusing to acknowledge that the only thing that the victim of every rapist shares in common is bad fucking luck. Rape culture is refusing to acknowledge that the only thing a person can do to avoid being raped is never be in the same room as a rapist. Rape culture is avoiding talking about what an absurdly unreasonable expectation that is, since rapists don’t announce themselves or wear signs or glow purple.

And the only thing a person can do to avoid being murdered is never be in the same room as a murderer.  The only thing a person can do to avoid being robbed is never being in the same room as a robber.  However, we teach people to reduce their risks by avoiding dangerous situations that leave them vulnerable.  Why should rape be any different?

Rape culture is people meant to protect you raping you instead—like parentsteachersdoctorsministerscopssoldiersself-defense instructors.

This is another one of those “anecdotal fallacy” things.  Yes, people rape.  Yes, being a parent/teacher/doctor etc. does not magically make someone not a rapist. The point is?

This has fuck-all to do with rape culture.

Rape culture is a serial rapist being appointed to a federal panel that makes decisions regarding women’s health.

One way or another, he was not charged or convicted of any crime.  Maybe he did do what she’s claiming he did, maybe he didn’t, but at this point all that exists is an unfounded allegation.  I don’t like this guy’s politics any more than anyone else (and trust me, that’s not very much at all), but if he really did what it’s claimed he did the appropriate response is to have him answer to charges in a court of law.  (Or are lynch mobs more in fashion these days?)

Rape culture is a ruling that says women cannot withdraw consent once sex commences.

Except that’s not what the ruling says.  What the ruling says is that people cannot withdraw consent.  The fact that the person in question was a woman is irrelevant.  This is an important point, you see, because once again we’re outside Ms. Shakesville’s definition of rape culture.  Now, once again I’m directed to a dead link, so context isn’t going to be forthcoming.  However, let me point out two other cases that perhaps suggest a context to this ruling and the reasons behind it: the cases of Kevin Ibbs and Maoloud Baby.

Actually, hold it a second.  A quick comparison of the sentences shows that the case in question (that is, the “horrible ruling” that’s going to take away all women’s rights) is Maoloud Baby v Maryland.  For the sake of perspective, the case in question involved a fifteen-year-old boy and an eighteen-year-old girl.  The charge of “rape” stemmed from the fact that when she withdrew her consent to intercourse, he waited approximately five seconds before withdrawing.  When viewed in this context, it’s stunningly obvious why the ruling was what it was.  The ruling itself was not a good thing (and was in fact later reversed), but there was no way in hell that he deserved to be charged with rape for the equivalent of “stopping for a second to make sure she did in fact want him to withdraw”.

Rape culture is a collective understanding about classifications of rapists: The “normal” rapist (whose crime is most likely to be dismissed with a “boys will be boys” sort of jocular apologia) is the man who forces himself on attractive women, women his age in fine health and form, whose crime is disturbingly understandable to his male defenders. The “real sickos” are the men who go after children, old ladies, the disabled, accident victims languishing in comas—the sort of people who can’t fight back, whose rape is difficult to imagine as titillating, unlike the rape of “pretty girls,” so easily cast in a fight-fuck fantasy of squealing and squirming and eventual relenting to the “flattery” of being raped.

The only person who seems to have that particular understanding of rape is Ms. Shakesville, at least as far as I know.  I’ve never seen rape dismissed with “boys will be boys,” not once.  An aggressive sexual advance?  Sure, though I’ve seen vastly worse dismissed when it was coming from women.  (Or do such things not count when the offending person has breasts?)

Yes, many men (and women) can understand wanting to have sex with an attractive woman in their age bracket.  Is this kind of thing really any kind of surprise to anyone?  Most people have never hit someone over the head with a frying pan, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t understand the desire now and then, especially when faced with someone as frustrating as Ms. Shakesville.  What a surprise that crimes against children, the elderly and the disabled are viewed as particularly horrible.

Seriously, is Ms. Shakesville really this ignorant, or is she doing it on purpose? 

Rape culture is the insistence on trying to distinguish between different kinds of rape via the use of terms like “gray rape” or “date rape.”

Because there’s absolutely no difference between someone who waits a few seconds before stopping intercourse after being asked to and someone who abducts, drugs and brutally rapes someone.

Rape culture is pervasive narratives about rape that exist despite evidence to the contrary. Rape culture is pervasive imagery of stranger rape, even though women are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know than a stranger, and nine times more likely to be raped in their home, the home of someone they know, or anywhere else than being raped on the street, making what is commonly referred to as “date rape” by far the most prevalent type of rape. Rape culture is pervasive insistence that false reports are common, although they are less common (1.6%) than false reports of auto theft (2.6%). Rape culture is pervasive claims that women make rape accusations willy-nilly, when 61% of rapes remain unreported.

Of course, the biggest pervasive narrative that exists despite evidence to the contrary is the one where the majority of people being raped are women.  Except, wait, isn’t the group most strongly promoting that one the feminist movement?  Even to the point of actively manipulating research on the subject to support their inaccurate preconceptions?  Even though they should know better?  Also, remember that definition?  Whoops.

Indeed, people are more likely to be raped by people they know, but there’s hardly a cultural conspiracy to keep that knowledge a secret.  Cases of “stranger rape” are reported more widely precisely because they’re more rare.  Ms. Shakesville’s understanding of the media is likely as flawed as her understanding of most other things, but hopefully even she can understand why the media might give precedence to more inflammatory and sensational stories.  (Of course, a media conspiracy to help conceal rapists is much more believable.  Right.)

Perhaps the reason that people “pervasively insist” that false reports are common is that the aggregate body of legitimate (that is, without immediately obvious and damning methodological flaws) scientific research on the subject suggests that false rape claims make up roughly 10% of reports, with a number of studies suggesting vastly higher figures.  Even at 10%, false claims of rape are several times more common than false reports of other crimes.  Interestingly, studies conducted by or at the behest of feminist organizations or interests regularly arrive at vastly lower figures than purely academic researchers without notable ideological bias.  Additionally, there’s a great deal we can draw from a number of anecdotal reports demonstrating how false claims are often uncovered only due to a stroke of incredible luck.  How many Luis Gonzalez’s didn’t buy that bagel?

In case after case I see a similar coincidence, dumb luck, without which the deception never would have been uncovered.  It would hardly surprise me to find that for every one person that got lucky, three or four didn’t and were convicted of crimes they never committed.  The point is that we have absolutely no fucking idea how high a percentage false allegations make up, we just know that it’s higher than anything feminists are willing to cite and most likely higher than even the scientifically collected figures.

As for underreporting, most figures are wooly at best.  Let’s also note that Ms. Shakesville’s own source doesn’t agree with her; the link trail eventually leads to RAINN (a source I personally tend to look twice at no matter who they’re citing) which cites a figure of 54%, not 61% unreported.  Given that this is about a 10% difference, that’s a bit of an issue.  I know Ms. Shakesville isn’t so great in the accuracy department, but that’s bad even for her.

While all underreporting figures are somewhat suspect, one thing we are fairly certain of is that men are vastly more likely to underreport than women.  In fact, it’s been suggested that men are roughly ten times less likely to report than women when they are victimized.  Given that RAINN cites a roughly 90/10 gender split, if we do their math we find that no matter what level of underreporting the actual victimization ratio would be about equal.  Regardless, the core point is that underreporting cannot be an example of Ms. Shakesville’s version of “rape culture” because it affects men vastly more than women.

Rape culture is the pervasive narrative that there is a “typical” way to behave after being raped, instead of the acknowledgment that responses to rape are as varied as its victims, that, immediately following a rape, some women go into shock; some are lucid; some are angry; some are ashamed; some are stoic; some are erratic; some want to report it; some don’t; some will act out; some will crawl inside themselves; some will have healthy sex lives; some never will again.

You know, I think this might well be the first thing Ms. Shakesville is actually right about.  People do indeed react very differently to trauma, and there are as many responses as there are people in the world.

That being said, narratives about “typical” behavior are not the sole province of rape.  Indeed, they appear in cases of murder, child death, all manner of violent victimization and more.  It’s a problem, yes, but “rape culture”?  No. 

Rape culture is the pervasive narrative that a rape victim who reports hir rape is readily believed and well-supported, instead of acknowledging that reporting a rape is a huge personal investment, a difficult process that can be embarrassing, shameful, hurtful, frustrating, and too often unfulfilling. Rape culture is ignoring that there is very little incentive to report a rape; it’s a terrible experience with a small likelihood of seeing justice served.

Generally when this is being brought up (and let’s note that she’s pointedly switched to gender-neutral here in a vain attempt to forestall the obvious counterpoint) it’s being brought up not as a literal, but as a relative.  Indeed, whether a rape victim meets with harsh skepticism or support and belief is irrelevant given that the actual point is generally that while women do indeed often receive the latter, men virtually always receive the former.  (Presuming the police, and indeed the law itself, are willing to acknowledge their victimization at all.)

The reasons for making a false rape accusation are as varied as the reasons for rape itself.  Sure, it’s not a pleasant experience, but the damage it causes to the falsely accused is vastly worse.  Women have falsely accused men to win custody hearings, to force a man out of his home, and even because they didn’t want to pay a cab fare.  The men so accused have lost their jobs, families, friends, years of time and in some cases even their lives.  Comparing that to being interrogated by a mean nasty police officer whose job is to find out what happened is just disgusting.

Reporting a real rape is indeed a large personal investment, but once again that’s normally not the subject under discussion.

Rape culture is hospitals that won’t do rape kits, disbelieving law enforcement, unmotivated prosecutors, hostile judges, victim-blaming juries, and paltry sentencing.

That’s a great description of how the justice system treats male victims, yes.

Rape culture is the fact that higher incidents of rape tend to correlate with lower conviction rates.

First, we need to correct Ms. Shakesville’s spelling.  She means “incidence”, not “incidents”.  Secondly, this is a prime example of “decontextualizing”, or invalid (in this case implied) generalization.  Her actual evidence is that South Africa has the highest rates of reported rape but one of the lowest conviction rates.  Of course, her implication is that this is a universal problem.  On its face, this makes a certain degree of sense: these do tend to correlate (though her example doesn’t demonstrate that itself), but there are two quite distinct causes and patterns.

The first is the case in South Africa, where there is an actual rape culture.  Given that rape genuinely is tolerated and in many ways sanctioned, we’d expect to see huge amounts of rape (check) and a strong resistance to prosecuting rapists (also check).  However, there is a strong secondary pattern viewed in developed nations that flows from almost the exact opposite origin.  As the definition of rape is widened at the insistence of feminist advocates (and laws are changed regarding rape allegations) the number of allegations begins to rise in an extreme manner.  However, most of these allegations turn out to be either unfounded, baseless, or lacking sufficient evidence for any kind of prosecution.  This creates a situation where the rate of rape allegation is extremely high, the conviction rate is the same as before, but the attrition rate skyrockets as vast numbers of effectively baseless allegations are made but never make it to the courtroom.

Clearly these are very different models, and she hasn’t in any way demonstrated that this is actually evidence of a “rape culture”.  Certainly, the South African example is indeed a rape culture, but that can’t in any way speak to conditions in nations with different structures.  Even the article/s themselves speak quite specifically about the unique conditions in South Africa that have led to this, and these are very different circumstances to those in Canada, the U.S. or U.K.  This does not demonstrate rape culture.

Rape culture is silence around rape in the national discourse, and in rape victims’ homes. Rape culture is treating surviving rape as something of which to be ashamed. Rape culture is families torn apart because of rape allegations that are disbelieved or ignored or sunk to the bottom of a deep, dark sea in an iron vault of secrecy and silence.

"Silence around rape in the national discourse."  Really.  Is Ms. Shakesville fucking deaf?  Does she have any idea how many organizations out there dealing with rape, and how loud they are?  Indeed, it’s such a non-issue that every week or two I see a new law being passed that further abrogates due process for those accused, or the internet explodes because a comedian yelled at a heckler.

As for “surviving rape”, the fact that we use the term is strongly indicative of views on the subject.  Rape is not something that you “survive”, attempted murder is something you survive.  Aggravated assault is something you survive.  Being thrown from a plane without a parachute, being shot in the head and having a building fall on you are things you survive.  For you to “survive” something, it has to have at least a reasonable chance of killing you, and the fact of the matter is that most cases of rape result in little or no physical injury.

Ms. Shakesville goes on with some wonderfully purple prose that continues to ignore the fact that many of those “disbelieved” rape allegations were disbelieved because they weren’t true.  That being said, once again this is one of those things that, while it may affect women, is suffered far worse by men.  Remember her definition?  You should by now, and this is not that.

Rape culture is the objectification of women, which is part of a dehumanizing process that renders consent irrelevant. Rape culture is treating women’s bodies like public property. Rape culture is street harassment and groping on public transportation and equating raped women’s bodies to a man walking around with valuables hanging out of his pockets. Rape culture is most men being so far removed from the threat of rape that invoking property theft is evidently the closest thing many of them can imagine to being forcibly subjected to a sexual assault.

No.  Just no.  Besides the fact that men and women are both objectified, besides the fact that men and women are both sexually objectified (even though the primary objectification of men is in a different arena), objectification and dehumanization are not the same thing.  Additionally, street harassment and similar don’t happen to just women….and for men such things carry a vastly greater threat of violence.

As for the analogies, Ms. Shakesville doesn’t seem to quite understand how they work.  Certainly, the examples cited aren’t the same thing, but that’s not the point.  They happen to be the same on a few important points that are enough to make them illustrative.  Indeed, the point of “robbery” analogy is that both involve people making themselves particularly obvious and attractive targets.  As for “most men being so far removed”, I’ll just say this: only in Ms. Shakesville’s mind can people not feeling at risk of being raped be incontrovertible evidence of a culture that encourages rape.

Rape culture is treating 13-year-old girls like trophies for men regarded as great artists.

The rich, powerful and famous have always gotten away with things that others would not….why is it such a surprise that this applies to rape, too?  There are many kinds of culture this could be called, but “rape culture” is not one of them.

Rape culture is ignoring the way in which professional environments that treat sexual access to female subordinates as entitlements of successful men can be coercive and compromise enthusiastic consent.

This links to two comments on one of Ms. Shakesville’s articles, both of which were effectively backpedaling.  Once again, there is the placing of vastly inflated responsibility on people that goes well beyond the accommodations they should be reasonably expected to take, and the commensurate denial of female agency.  If there was a problem, it needed to be reported through internal or external channels and dealt with.  The mechanisms are there, they exist, and women are capable of using them.  If there wasn’t, who Letterman slept with is between him, the people he slept with, and the people sleeping with them.  Nobody else.

Rape culture is a convicted rapist getting a standing ovation at Cannes, a cameo in a hit movie, and a career resurgence in which he can joke about how he hates seeing people get hurt.

See two points above.  That being said, the fact is that no matter how severe his crime that doesn’t erase his other “accomplishments”, and the idea that it’s inappropriate for someone to continue to exist after committing a crime is frankly just stupid.  As for that last one….Ms. Shakesville doesn’t quite seem to understand how humor works.  I’m not sure whether it’s the “tragedy” or the “time” part she’s having trouble with.

Rape culture is when running dogfights is said to elicit more outrage than raping a woman would.

But does this represent people not caring about rape, or does this represent the dogfighting (while undoubtedly horrible) being blown vastly out of proportion?  Frankly, given the way the media circus went, he would have been better off killing someone….does that mean we live in a murder culture?

Rape culture is blurred lines between persistence and coercion. Rape culture is treating diminished capacity to consent as the natural path to sexual activity.

Once again, we see Ms. Shakesville unable to understand that many things do not solely apply to men.  Certainly, our culture tends to advise men to pursue women even when they’re given indication that the woman isn’t interested, but not only are women given many of the same messages, they’re also in many ways taught to  give indications of disinterest to men they’re interested in rather than meeting them half-way.  The reason this all manifests more obviously in men is because our culture places the onus of initiating romantic contact on men in virtually all situations.

As for alcohol, we’ve discussed the issue in plenty of detail here

Rape culture is pretending that non-physical sexual assaults, like peeping tomming, is totally unrelated to brutal and physical sexual assaults, rather than viewing them on a continuum of sexual assault.

Given that voyeurism is different in almost every way from physical sexual assault, what a surprise that people view them as being two different things.  (In fact, Ms. Shakesville’s defining of “peeping tomming” as sexual assault at all is highly questionable.  While definitely criminal in most cases, and certainly an invasion of privacy, assault it is not.)  Describing such things as “simply on a continuum of sexual assault” is kind of like the old bullshit relating to marijuana as a “gateway drug”.  While people willing to use cocaine or heroin are virtually always willing to use marijuana, there’s little evidence showing that marijuana use leads to the use of worse drugs.  Likewise, there is comparatively little evidence suggesting that crimes such as “peeping tomming” lead to physical sexual assault even though many who perpetrate physical sexual assault also commit lesser crimes such as “peeping tomming”.

Rape culture is diminishing the gravity of any sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, or culture of actual or potential coercion in any way.

"If you don’t think something is as serious as I do, you’re promoting it."
"If you don’t think that catcalls are on the same level as being violently assaulted, you’re a rape-apologist promoting rape culture."

I presume everyone can see the issue with that line of “reasoning”. 

Rape culture is using the word “rape” to describe something that has been done to you other than a forced or coerced sex act. Rape culture is saying things like “That ATM raped me with a huge fee” or “The IRS raped me on my taxes.”

And murder culture is using the word “murder” or “kill” to describe something other than murder.  You know, the way it’s done on Ms. Shakesville’s site here and here. Or in culture virtually everywhere.  But that doesn’t count, does it, because it’s not Ms. Shakesville’s pet issue.

Being serious, metaphor is a thing.  Murder isn’t above that, and neither is rape.  People are welcome to find their use distasteful in that context, but no matter the use it does not indicate “rape culture”.

Rape culture is rape being used as entertainment, in movies and television shows and books and in video games.

Yes, the fact that rape exists in entertainment and is treated as horrible is evidence that our culture tolerates….wait, that doesn’t make any fucking sense.  When was the last time anyone here saw a rape on television portrayed as even acceptable, let alone laudable rather than as despicable and demonstrative of evil?  For most people, the answer is probably either “I have no idea” or “never”.  (Unless the victim was a man, of course, but we know those don’t count.)  What about murder?  Probably last week.  I rest my case.

The next one basically involves Ms. Shakesville being surprised that yes, some people have rape fantasies and yes, some of them want to act those out in a virtual manner.  (You know, instead of doing something illegal, because people are capable of understanding that some of their desires aren’t okay to act out in real life and thus choose to do so virtually where nobody will be hurt because they’re, you know, not monsters.)  What a fucking surprise.  Because we wouldn’t at all think that the smart thing is to put people with such desires in a position where they have no avenues to turn to, thus increasing their likelihood of committing actual crimes.  Because it’s not like the widespread availability of porn didn’t strongly correlate with a substantial decrease in the rate of rape.  That just doesn’t make any sense.  Nope.  No sense at all.

Rape culture is television shows and movies leaving rape out of situations where it would be a present and significant threat in real life.

Ms. Shakesville really can’t make up her mind.  First she complains about media showing rape, then she complains about media not showing rape.  It seems to me that she flip-flops as convenient to her, and her beliefs on what others should do come down to “whatever is convenient for me today”.  As for her actual complaint, I presume it stems from her complete ignorance about things like “age ratings”.  See, in all her polemics about how media doesn’t take rape seriously, she’s never thought to mention the fact that I can kill off chunks of the main cast, chop someone’s hand off, drop a guy down a bottomless pit and explode an inhabited planet for good measure and still get a PG rating.  The moment someone gets sexually assaulted, though, the rating is taking a few-point hike and unless you’re going to make it a major plot point (or the basis of the story), that’s simply bad business.

The worst part of this is the total irony of it.  Know why the entertainment ratings industry takes rape so incredibly seriously?  Because ideologues like Ms. Shakesville have spent decades screaming at them about how rape is the worst crime that has ever existed and is totally worse than torturing someone, then repeatedly shooting them and throwing them in a meat grinder.

Rape culture is Amazon offering to locate “rape” products for you.

In which Ms. Shakesville has absolutely no fucking clue how data-parsing algorithms work.

Rape culture is rape jokes. Rape culture is rape jokes on t-shirts, rape jokes in college newspapers, rape jokes in soldiers’ home videos, rape jokes on the radio, rape jokes on news broadcasts, rape jokes in magazines, rape jokes in viral videos, rape jokes in promotions for children’s movies, rape jokes on Page Six (and again!), rape jokes on the funny pages, rape jokes on TV shows, rape jokes on the campaign trail, rape jokes on Halloween, rape jokes in online content by famouspeople, rape jokes in online content by non-famous people, rape jokes in headlines, rape jokes onstage at clubs, rape jokes in politics, rape jokes in one-woman shows, rape jokes in print campaigns, rape jokes in movies, rape jokes in cartoons, rape jokes in nightclubs, rape jokes on MTV, rape jokes on late-nightchat shows, rape jokes in tattoos, rape jokes in stand-upcomedy, rape jokes on websites, rape jokes at awards shows, rape jokes in online contests, rape jokes in movie trailers, rape jokes on the sides of buses, rape jokes on cultural institutions

Because joking about something definitely means that we as a society condone, accept and support it.  That’s why we have jokes about death, murder, theft, war, terrorism, poor fashion sense, and infants in food processors.

Rape culture is people objecting to the detritus of the rape culture being called oversensitive, rather than people who perpetuate the rape culture being regarded as not sensitive enough.

"If you don’t agree with me, you’re evidence of the problem."

Rape culture is the myriad ways in which rape is tacitly and overtly abetted and encouraged having saturated every corner of our culture so thoroughly that people can’t easily wrap their heads around what the rape culture actually is.

"Rape culture" seems to be whatever is convenient to justify whatever bigoted viewpoint Ms. Shakesville and other similar people are spouting off about on a given day.  While in many ways it may have a speck of truth at its core, rape culture as it might possibly actually be is about as similar to rape culture as it’s described by feminists as ice cream is to moldy cheese.

The reason most people can’t “easily wrap their heads around” your concept of “rape culture”, Shakesy, is that not only are you tilting at windmills, your “windmill” is painted on a fucking wall.

That’s hardly everything. It’s merely the tip of an unfathomable iceberg.

Frozen. Bullshit. Is. Still. Shit.

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