I'm spinning this off of the Dickwolves thread, because this discussion is a lot bigger than even Penny Arcade.
Alternate title is "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Rape But Knew You’d Be An Asshole If You’d Ask"
If there's anywhere on the whole of the internets where there can be a rational discussion of this, I trust it to be here so if you have genuine questions, don't be afraid to speak up. And to get the whole "anyone who supports rape culture must be a monster" thing out of the way, I wrote this in the other thread:
I've survived multiple assaults, and I still perpetuate rape culture too.
When I choose to wear sneakers instead of cute shoes on a night out, because you never know when you might have to run or fight, I'm supporting rape culture because I'm making the assumption that a rape attempt is an everyday, common event that I need to plan for. When I shake my head at a news story about a drunk woman being assaulted in a stranger's car, I'm perpetuating rape culture by thinking that only women who make bad decisions get raped. When hear a guy in a bar call his girlfriend a stupid whore and don't intervene because I don't want him to beat me up, I'm supporting rape culture because I'm allowing him to think that acting that way, even in public, is acceptable and that people around him support his actions.
Rape culture isn't about people going around saying "yay rape!" It's about acting like sexual violence is a common and normal part of society, and making comments and decisions that reinforce that.
In a teeny-tiny nutshell, rape culture is a phrase used in social science to describe an environment where sexual violence (against any gender) is normalized, considered commonplace, and sometimes glorified.
The outer boundaries of the concept of rape culture are where people get into giant arguments about it, but you can read a good, non-politicized definition here.
Examples of Rape Culture:
Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
Sexually explicit jokes
Tolerance of sexual harassment
Inflating false rape report statistics
Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
Pressure on men to “score”
Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
Teaching women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape
How can men and women combat Rape Culture?
Avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women
Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape
If a friend says she has been raped, take her seriously and be supportive
Think critically about the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence
Be respectful of others’ physical space even in casual situations
Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent
Define your own manhood or womanhood. Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.
Get involved! Join a student or community group working to end violence against women.