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Rape Culture and Domestic Violence/Abuse.

By Libby King – member of AVA

What is rape culture?

When discussing rape culture, I am referring to a society in which domestic violence/abuse is tolerated and normalised. Every 30 seconds the police receive a DV related call (HMRC 2014). Within rape culture, domestic violence/abuse is accepted, justified, and not challenged enough by society (Field, 2004). Such a culture is why domestic violence/abuse is so prevalent.

Some Statistics

- 70,330 rapes recorded by police in the year ending March 2022 (ONS 2022)

- 2,223 rape charges brought in the same period (CPS 2022)

- The police made 33 arrests per 100 domestic abuse-related crimes in the year ending March 2021 (ONS 2021)

What’s the cause of rape culture?

Domestic abuse-related sexual offences have the largest proportion of female victims by offence group, at 93%(ONS 2021). It can be inferred from this data that rape culture is the consequence of misogyny, a product of patriarchy- a hierarchy which socialises men and women into roles that portray men with more power and privilege. Taking a heteronormative approach, said roles are the basis for domestic abuse and violence. These restrictive roles also enforce the false narrative that men cannot be in positions of suffering:

- Only 4.4% of victims being supported by domestic services are men, according to SafeLives data.

- Half of male victims (49%) fail to tell anyone they have experienced domestic abuse and are two and a half times less likely to tell anyone than female victims (19%). (mankind)

This shows how few men feel they can talk about their experiences with abuse and violence. Patriarchy damages women and men, it pressures men to accept abuse, for their suffering does not adhere to patriarchal conditioning which is “endless pressure for men to conform to a narrow prescription of masculinity” (The Man Box: Key Findings, 2017).

How does the media influence rape culture?

It is important to discuss rape culture in the context of the media, for media is the main, present day, form of social communication which is consumed by the majority. It can desensitise people to the seriousness of sexual violence, sexualises and objectifies female bodies, and often sympathises with perpetrators instead of survivors (Rape Prevention Education- WMT).

An observation of this in recent events concerns the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial. Our social media feeds were heaving with memes dehumanising a woman who had been a victim of domestic abuse; individuals used this trial as an outlet for their misogyny, hiding behind their ‘support’ for male victims. When, in reality, it was held that “the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms Heard by Mr Depp have been proved to the civil standard” (Depp v NGN 2020), yet the media insisted on glorifying him. The fact of the matter is that this trial consisted of 2 violent individuals, but the public chose to ridicule the woman.

The damage this ‘hype’ caused to female victims of domestic abuse is unspeakable and leaves no question as to why victims are hesitant to speak up about it.

Moreover, self-proclaimed ‘success coach’, Andrew Tate gained a large social media presence in late summer 2022 with his unnerving misogynistic views on how women should be treated in society. These statements include (but are not limited to): dating women ages 18 to 19 is better because you can imprint on them, women should stay home, and men own women as property. These opinions echo Tate’s first public appearance in 2016 on ‘big brother’, of which he was kicked off of due to a video surfacing of him hitting a woman with a belt. Such messages from an influential misogynist such as Tate will undoubtedly indoctrinate the minds of young and impressionable people, particularly young men. He has made an impact among a swath of school-aged boys and young men, resulting in teachers reporting that some of their male students have returned for the school year refusing to take any assignments from women (Grace Fors: Andrew Tate and the Danger of Viral Misogyny, October 2022). Exposure to such views at a young age results in a generation of young men with a general lack of regard and respect for women.

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