Sexual violence happens because of perpetrators and we need to hold them accountable. But this is only a part of the story. We also need to look beyond the choices of individual perpetrators to understand why it’s even possible for sexual violence to be so common in our society – why our society is so rape-prone.
“Rape prone” describes a culture in which sexual violence is common and where prevalent attitudes, norms, and behaviours excuse, minimize, and even propagate sexual violence.
In a rape prone culture:
- Sexual violence is prevalent in various forms, including sexual harassment, stalking, and sexual assault.
- There are harmful myths and misconceptions around sexual violence in areas of society ranging from our friend groups to the media.
- There are minimal consequences for sexual violence and perpetrators are not held accountable.
- People who have experienced sexual violence are afraid to talk about what happened to them and report it (1 in 10 report). Those who do report are often criticized, isolated, and blamed.
The elements of a rape prone culture do not happen separately or by chance. They feed into one another and expose why our lives are so affected by sexual violence. Check out It’s distorted in the media to see examples of our rape-prone world in TV and movies.
If we’re able to address these problematic cultural aspects, we can start building A better world.
Statistics Canada. Sexual Assault in Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics Profile Series, 2004 & 2007.