Media is one of the most effective ways of communicating and reflecting social norms. Unfortunately, when it comes to sexual violence, mainstream media is guilty of promoting ideas and behaviours that sustain a rape-prone culture. Whether it’s confusing violence with passion, seeing women purely as sex objects, or suggesting that sex drive is an out-of-control animal force, TV shows and movies consistently excuse and justify sexual violence.
Furthermore, sexual violence is often treated with humour in the media. Imagine how isolating it is for survivors to see traumatic experiences similar to their own as a punchline for a joke. By approaching sexual violence with such a light attitude, media implies that the issue is not one that deserves respect or attention.
It has been well-researched that media has unbelievable power to change a culture. With such potential to transform a rape-prone culture, why has mainstream media chosen instead to convey the message that sexual violence is here to stay?