7 Ways society is encouraging a rape culture

Aug 27, 2014 at 5:01 p.m. ET

Did you know Australia ranks third in the world for sexual assaults? And what's more shocking is that the NSW Rape Crisis Centre reports 70 per cent of the sexual assaults are committed by a person known to the victim and 1 per cent are carried out by a random stranger.

And to make matters worse, through social media, advertising, music and even punishments for sexual assault, we're slowly making it seem like a lesser crime. Here's the proof.

1. Degrading slogans

Wicked Campers is famous in both Australia and New Zealand for its slogans objectifying women, ignoring rulings made by Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau. It's taken 119,000 signatures to get a motion passed ruling that Wicked Campers has to paint over its offensive slogans.

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2. Rape jokes

Since when did raping someone become a laughing matter? The new anti-rape nail polish said to detect when the date rape drug has been slipped into drinks is the butt of a few jokes on Twitter. Who's to say this clown on isn't serious?

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3. Song lyrics

Before you dismiss the idea that song lyrics could influence a person to rape a woman, have you really listened to the words of some songs. U.S. ska punk and reggae band, Sublime, even has a song entitled "Date Rape":

Come on, babe, it's your lucky day, shut your mouth we’re going to do it my way. Come on baby don’t be afraid, if it wasn’t for date rape I’d never get laid.


There are so many songs that talk about raping and then there are even some more seemingly innocent songs, like Summer Lovin' from Grease:

Tell me more, tell me more, was it love at first sight? Tell me more, tell me more, did she put up a fight?

Psychologists refer to this as classical conditioning.

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4. Blame is assigned to women

Okay, so it's fine for men to get blind drunk, but rape convictions won't get heavier sentences until women stop binge drinking? We also get the blame if we dress provocatively, are a little bit flirty, have had a rampant sex life previously or even went home with the guy.

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5. Laughable convictions

A judge in Montana handed out a sentence of four weeks to a former high school teacher for the rape of a 14-year old girl in 2007, who later committed suicide. It took appeals and a public outcry to have the decision overturned.

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6. Our attitudes to rape

This survey conducted in 1979 shows a disturbing trend that the survey participants believed there were some circumstances that meant forcing someone to engage in sexual activity was okay. How much have attitudes changed in the last 35 years?

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7. Defending celebrities and athletes

High-profile athletes and celebrities are often caught in rape allegations, with some cases being dismissed due to lack of evidence. There are always questions raised about why public figures would force a woman to have sex with them when they could probably have anyone they want. The men are labelled victims, while the women are simply after their 15 minutes of fame, financial gain or simply revenge.

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