Ending sexual violence will require a significant shift in our social norms. Shifting these norms is our collective responsibility.
We currently live in a society in which our social norms justify and normalize sexual violence – this is called a rape culture. In a rape culture sexual violence is common. In a rape culture acts of sexual violence are justified and normalized by a deeply held base of oppressive attitudes and beliefs. When these attitudes and beliefs are reinforced by friends and family, our social norms, and the media we consume, they have the potential to influence our behaviour.
Aspects of rape culture:
- Teaching people to avoid getting sexually assaulted, versus teaching people not to sexually assault.
- Victim blaming – “they asked for it.”
- Trivializing sexual violence – “boys will be boys.”
- Joking about sexual violence.
- Using sex and sexual violence to sell products.
- Using images of sexual violence in media, adds, and pop culture.