Stories

16 ways you can stand against rape culture


Graphic collage of women of all shapes both in the forefront and background.
Photo: © UN Women

“Boys will be boys.”

“She was drunk.”

“Women say “no” when they mean “yes.”

Rape culture is pervasive. It’s embedded in the way we think, speak, and move in the world. While the contexts may differ, rape culture is always rooted in patriarchal beliefs, power, and control.

Rape culture is the social environment that allows sexual violence to be normalized and justified, fueled by the persistent gender inequalities and attitudes about gender and sexuality. Naming it is the first step to dismantling rape culture.

Every day we have the opportunity to examine our behaviours and beliefs for biases that permit rape culture to continue. From the attitudes we have about gender identities to the policies we support in our communities, we can all take action to stand against rape culture.

Here are 16 ways you can do your part:

  1. Create a culture of enthusiastic consent.
    Freely given consent is mandatory, every time. Rather than listening for a “no,” make sure there is an active, “yes,” from all involved. Adopt enthusiastic consent in your life and talk about it.
     
  2. Speak out against the root causes.
    Rape culture is allowed to continue when we buy into ideas of masculinity that see violence and dominance as “strong” and “male”, and when women and girls are less valued. 

    It is also underpinned by victim-blaming—an attitude that suggests a victim rather than the perpetrator bears responsibility for an assault.

    When discussing cases of sexual violence, a victim’s sobriety, clothes, and sexuality are irrelevant. Instead, counter the idea that men and boys must obtain power through violence and question the notion of sex as an entitlement.
     
  3. Redefine masculinity.
    Take a critical look at what masculinity means to you and how you embody it. Self-reflection, community conversations, and artistic expression are just some of the tools available for men and boys (as well as women and girls) to examine and redefine masculinities with feminist principles.

To read the full list, visit: https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2019/11/compilation-ways-you-can-stand-against-rape-culture

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