ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS. CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION, ARTICLES
Consent and Rape Culture
We frequently hear the terms “rape culture” and “consent” when there is a story about sexual assault in the news. “What was the person wearing?” “Were they drunk?” “Oh, but they didn’t say “no”, so it was okay.” These three statements are few of the many that we have heard in regards to sexual assault, which stray from the actual problem. Rape culture primarily focuses on the victim being the trigger for sexual activity, and the definition of consent has been skewed to make the perpetrator sound like they did everything right before said sexual activity. We want to set things straight with the definitions of rape culture and consent.
Rape culture is a set of beliefs that encourages sexual aggression and violence of the non-consenting party. Violence is portrayed as sexy, which leads to the idea that sexuality is violent. Rape culture can be portrayed in seemingly harmless jokes to controversial advertising to TV and music. The belief has become that rape is something that is inevitable; that rape is the norm. A few ways that we may see rape culture in our day-to-day lives include:
- Using “raped” as a way to describe losing in a situation; ie. “That final exam raped me.”
- Objectifying individuals with degrading terminology; ie. “Did you see them? They are so hot.”
- Terminology that makes rape sound not serious at all; ie. “sexual misconduct”, “inappropriate behaviour”.
- Articles that state what the victim was wearing, their state of sobriety, and practically nothing to do with the perpetrator.
Consent, according to Canada’s Criminal Code, is the voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Essentially, all parties must clearly communicate their consent in order for the sexual activity to be lawful. It is the responsibility of the individual who is initiating sexual activity to ensure the act is consensual. If, for example, the other party says “no”, the initiating individual can not assume that the passing of time, lack of repeating “no”, intoxication, or anything other than a “yes”, means that consent exists.
Yes means yes. No means no.
Written by Lindsey Locke | SOS Media Corp | Copywriter