Rape culture is a term that was coined by feminists in the United States in the 1970’s. It was designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence.
I do not believe that NZ has a culture where women get blamed for rape. Not at all. Blaming women for men’s actions is typical of backward Patriarchal countries where women have little power and are forced to dress modestly least they cause men to lose control. India has been in the news lately a lot for that kind of thing. Simply being a woman on a bus without your male relatives to protect you appears to be justification enough for a gang rape over there. Now that is a rape culture!
Is male sexual violence normalised in New Zealand? No it isn’t. No one considers it normal to beat their wife or girlfriend in New Zealand. Yes some do but mainstream New Zealand does not have that view that it is ok or normal, not at all. To not only beat but to also rape, only hard core Gang members or sick Men from Patriarchal countries would ever dare to express the view that that was acceptable.
Emilie Buchwald, author of Transforming a Rape Culture, describes that when society normalizes sexualized violence, it accepts and creates rape culture. In her book she defines rape culture as…..
a complex set of beliefs that encourage 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
Violence sexy? Violence in action movies and online games is directed towards combatants in battle scenarios. Apart from a few exceptions like the car racing game where hookers and drugs were part of the game, violence is depicted in battle against combatants not against women. In films, sex is certainly way more explicit than it used to be. However romance is still popular and I cannot imagine any sex symbol lasting long in the industry if he played a character in a love story who raped or beat his love interest. No one in NZ would find that sexy. They would find it disgusting. Most women in NZ expect respect and love, not violence and the majority of Men in NZ want the same in return.
The website Force: Upsetting the Rape Culture explains how rape culture is the images, language, laws and other everyday phenomena that we see and hear everyday that validate and perpetuate rape.
Rape culture includes jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable.
When was the last time you heard a rape joke? If you are like me it would be never. When people have made rape jokes in America they get attacked on Twitter, on Facebook and in the Media. We have a very politically correct culture in NZ and it is hardly a breeding ground to allow rape jokes, images of rape, or laws that make it easy for a rapist to get off.
Yes, rape happens in New Zealand. Yes, we do have nasty examples of masculinity like the so called Roast Busters. What we do not have is a culture of rape. At least not by the definitions quoted above.