Our Culture of Rape

In the wake of the ongoing reports of misogyny at Fox News, Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times looked at the pervasive nature of sexual harassment in American business.

“Some women who experience harassment confront the perpetrator or confide in friends or family, but the most common response is to avoid the person, play down what happened or try to ignore the behavior.

Many victims, who are most often women, fear they will face disbelief, inaction, blame or societal and professional retaliation. That could be hostility from supervisors, a bad reference to future employers or the loss of job opportunities. Their fears are grounded in reality.”

According to Wikipedia, rape culture describes a setting in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality. Characteristics of this setting include victim blaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape, denial of widespread rape and refusing to acknowledge the harm caused by some forms of sexual violence.

We’re watching manifestations of it play out with Fox, but it exists throughout the business world. And men don’t adopt rape culture when they get jobs. They learn it in college, and in sports, and in the media and at home. It is embedded in our culture. In many ways, it is our culture and we all suffer for it. Women exist in a hostile environment we create and perpetuate. It doesn’t need to be this way.

To paraphrase Eric Hoffer, rape culture is a weak man’s imitation of strength.