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What Is Rape Culture? via The World According To Nouns

June 11, 2011

There have been many great and comprehensive posts on rape culture (the classic Shakesville post springs to mind immediately), but I offer you this easy analogy:

You’re in the woods of the world, in a little garden that represents your community, examining some fallen tree trunks that represent cultural mores. You pick up what looks like a big sturdy log that has written on it the words RAPE IS A CRIME. Seems pretty definitive, doesn’t it?

But then you notice something creepy moving on the underside, and you have to move your hands because they’re all slimy. And there are all kinds of worms and bugs on the underside of the log, and those worms and bugs are speaking. They’re whispering things like “What was she wearing?” and “It couldn’t happen to that person because that person is [x gender/ethnicity/sexuality/trans status/body type/class/age/ability/occupation]” and “Nobody would rape her, she’s too ugly” and “Just be quiet so that you don’t upset everyone else” and they’re telling terrible shock-humor rape jokes and making laws that don’t support survivors of sexual assault, especially survivors who are undocumented, and justifying those laws by telling us that they’re in our best interest and that really the worms and bugs are TOUGH ON CRIME.

And that’s when you notice it’s not a big sturdy log at all, it’s porous because all the worms and bugs have burrowed through it and made it their home. And you start wondering about all the other logs that represent the things you’re supposed to believe (whether or not they match up with your lived experience) – are they as porous and riddled with vermin? You step back from the log, disgusted.

via The World According To Nouns.

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