Rape culture

India made international news in December 2012 after a gang rape of a young woman despite being accompanied by a male friend who attempted to stop the rape.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Delhi_gang_rape_case (Warning, do not read if sensitive, graphic description of her injuries).  She later died 4 days later as a result of the assault.  Al Jazeera had a good program looking at how the culture in India and recent changes of having women in the workplace has increased the phenomenon of rape and "eve teasing"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eve_teasing in India.  http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/101east/2012/04/201242482823627221.html  There is even now an ap for Indian women focused on reporting and protecting women.  http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/370176/fightback-app-indias-first-mobile-application-for-womens-safety.html

I was saddened to see this in the news.  Twelve years ago I traveled in India for 3 months.   During my journey I accompanied many women traveling.  Some on buses and trains.  Some just wanting to go to a movie, just like the couple who were attacked.  In many cases I was accompanying Caucasian women and eve teasers would not even realize that they were being accompanied as I blend into the background there when moving through a crowd.  I used to always tell Caucasian women that in general they were safe in India as only Indian women were raped.  There was a widespread belief that crimes against white women would be investigated and prosecuted, while crimes against Indian women would be unreported and are rarely prosecuted.  Unfortunately, things have changed in India as a Swiss woman with her husband was recently gang raped in India.  http://world.time.com/2013/03/16/swiss-tourist-gang-raped-in-central-india/

I suspect that one of the things driving the increase in sexual violence in India have to do with a complex mix of traditional views of women, especially women as property with modern pornography.  I am surprised at the age of the perpetrators, they are young men.  I don't believe that something like gang rape just happens, it has to be taught and it has to be culturally supported.  I think the Internet has become the classroom for gang rapists.  Where else would one learn something like that?  It is not even in many Western films let alone Indian ones.  When a man is sexually primed for gang raping, and then is economically disenfranchised ie too poor to get married, afford a prostitute, ect.  then he will just take.  As the stratification of wealth continues in India and less and less men can afford to marry in the traditional way, and no real concept of sex out of marriage, what will they do with their libidos?  Likely turn to the internet.  A small number of them will take what they learn there and act it out.

Our own rape culture is a bit different.  Here in America apparently it is ok to have sex with an intoxicated female.  So many bystanders and no one helping.  If she can't say no and does not say yes, then this too is rape.  In America you are far more likely to be raped by someone you know.  This is known as date rape.  A little different from gang rape or stranger rape, but just as damaging.  It is estimated to be drastically under reported for a variety of reasons including the victim not being sure she was raped because the perp was her husband/boyfriend/friend.  I have to confess that I have always been afraid that I would be accused of date rape and that being a dark skinned male would be highly likely to be vilified, prosecuted.  I think most people who know me or have dated me would find this odd, but yes it is something I fear.

Rape, false rape accusations, and sports stars go hand and hand, from Kobe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_Bryant_sexual_assault_case, to Duke Lacross players http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_lacrosse_case, to Seattle's Jeremy Stevens http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2004147460_rbstevens270.html, but now we have high school kids.  Steubenville, OH has 2 high school charged with raping a 16 year old girl.  Over 900 pictures were taken of the girl during and after the assault.  Yet no one helped her.http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/steubenville-investigation-video-shows-fellow-students-concerned-victim-article-1.1297103  Why is that?  How is it that teens have been acculturated to see this as a normal occurrence?  Could it be that they see it on the Internet every day?  Could it be that there are a plethora of websites showing intoxicated females in a party atmosphere having sex?

Rape is wrong, it always is no mater what the context.  GUYS:  If it is a grey area, when in doubt keep it out, it DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU.  I think greater education can be done to help educate males about what is consensual and what is not.  Both men and women contribute to rape culture.  Men by continuing to view women as property, as sex objects, and as something for their comfort and gratification.  Patricia Levy, PhD in a huffington post article explains how she thinks women contribute to rape culture.  Here is her article... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patricia-leavy-phd/why-girls-and-women-parti_b_2909542.html?utm_hp_ref=steubenville-rape

And now a shout out to those doing something to evoke change:
Tony Porter, see his TED Talk http://www.ted.com/talks/tony_porter_a_call_to_men.html
Eve Ensler and her One Billion Rising movement http://www.onebillionrising.org/livestream  http://www.ted.com/talks/eve_ensler_on_security.html
Morley http://onebillionrising.org/blog/entry/rise-by-morley
L Vogelman Sexual Face of Violence: Rapists on Rape  https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=127046
Cindy Gallop  creator of Make love not porn  http://blog.ted.com/2009/12/02/cindy_gallop_ma/

I think that rape culture and war culture go hand and hand.  I see little difference between the mentality behind the rape of women, the rape of the planet, and the rape of other cultures.  Behind all three lurk the need for power.  Where did all these men lose their power?