Assault, abuse, sexual assault

Rape culture in The West is something commonly misunderstood. The act of rape does not have to be widely supported for a rape culture to exist. Though this is a widespread misconception. Yes, we have rape culture in The West.

No, it is not a myth and I will gladly explain in great detail why. Let’s take a closer look at common behaviors that are normalized in a rape culture. This mini series will look at five different behaviors in depth, along with multiple examples of each.

““Rape culture refers to the trivializing of sexual violence and the tendency to blame victims while exonerating or excusing assailants. It also refers to the racial disparities in arrests and sentencing of accused rapists.””

Trivializing sexual assault & rape

There is a distinct difference between normalizing something and trivializing something. With normalization, we treat a behaviour as if it is common, a shared belief, value or practice. It’s as though it is something we should all be accustomed to.

When we trivialize something, that involves us dismissing something as unimportant, as though it is not cause for concern. Not necessarily because we think it is normal behaviour, but because we don’t see it as problematic behaviour.

“If you’re defending and trivializing street harassment, I have no respect for you.”


Groping would be an example of a widespread issue that is trivialized but not normalized. People generally view groping as bad behaviour. But they minimize the damage it does to the victim because “there are worse things that could happen.”

This language serves to reduce the problem in it’s significance, to trivialize it. While expressions like “it wasn’t that bad” achieve the same effect.

How often have you heard someone say something along the lines of, “he/she/they’re your boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife/partner, he/she/they can’t rape you”? Have you ever heard the term marital rape?

“Rape is intentional . It’s pre-meditated . It’s a conscious decision. It’s not some ‘misfortune’ that falls from the sky . Stop trivializing it like that and absolving the RAPIST of any blame ‼️‼️‼️‼️”


I’m going to rapid fire some common remarks that have been used quite often in defense of rape and rapists and let’s see how many of them you’ve heard before. Ready?

“All women fantisize about being raped.”

“She shouldn’t have been drinking”

“It wasn’t his fault, he was drunk.”

“He won’t survive/doesnt deserve prison.”

“He has so much potential though, this [legal action/charges/conviction] isn’t fair to him.”

“He’s just a kid himself.”

Do any of those sound like something you’ve heard before?

“On being a rape apologist: 1. Trivializing rape culture and invalidating victims of rape, which further silences the victims’ voices and discourage them in coming forward”

Toxic masculinity & rape culture

When masculinity is reinforced through toxic behaviour such as sexual violence, it is difficult -if not impossible- to trivialize rape because we falsely equate it with sex. However, sex and rape are not the same, just as swimming in a lake and drowning in a lake are not the same.

Rape is not rough sex, or resistant sex, or any kind of sex. Sex requires consent. Rape lacks consent. This is why the two are not interchangeable terms or behaviours.

By suggesting as much, we are simply perpetuating the myth that men have to force women into sex and that women want to be forced. Neither of these things are true.

In believing that women have to defend themselves from rape, we shift the blame onto the victim instead of the rapist. I’m sure you understand how this is problematic.

“I dont care, if you defend a rapist or a rape apologist you’re also trash.”

Refusal to hold rapists accountable

While we trivialize rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment on an individual level, we also do it on a cultural level through media. Take a closer look at the language used. Often times it is a careful word choice that makes the rapist look good and the victim look responsible.

Brock Turner is a more infamous example. Journalists and new anchors will also use terms such as “child prostitutes” instead of accurate wording like “child rape victims” and “had sex with underage woman” instead of “raped a teenager.”

Yet again this shifts responsibility off of the shoulders of the rapist. Where else should responsibility be if not with the perpetrator? In what other crimes do we fail to hold the criminal accountable and excuse them?

Compounding trauma for rape survivors

We see other public examples of this in instances where the courts have forced people to remain in close contact with their rapist. Kesha is a top-of-mind example of this situation. In what other type of crime do we do this?

Sex crimes are also trivialized when we hear the president of the United States causally talking about sexual assault and it being viewed by many Americans as a joke and “locker room talk.” Again, how is this not incredibly insulting to all men?

“just a reminder that brock turner was literally caught in the act and held down by two students until the police came and still only got a 6 month sentence so clearly nothing is enough evidence !!!!!”

The Next Step

This is part four of a five part mini series. Click here to read on to part five.