People’s behavior, a way of thinking, perspectives, and worldviews are profoundly shaped by the environment and people to which they have been exposed to while growing up. Chances are, people have the same mindset as their general household. Although this is far from conclusive, it cannot be denied that the dynamics of the home tend to largely affect who people turn out to be in the future.
Dealing With The Elephant In the Room
While it is most prevalent, a lot of people blissfully ignore the existence of rape culture. It is when sexualized violence is accepted, tolerated, and normalized that rape culture prevails. Because of it, women experience continuous threats from sexual remarks such as catcalling, to sexual advances such as touching, up until it aggravates to rape.
Rape is a crime, but the circumstances leading to the consummation of rape has been so ingrained into society that people have stopped perceiving it from a negative light. Society has become too desensitized to its presence such that it started to become a norm rather than something people abhor.
“According to a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 16,507 adults, nearly one in five women has been a victim of rape or attempted rape and one in 71 men reports having been raped or the target of attempted rape,” says Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP.
Breeding Monsters In Our Own Backyards
Apparently, there is a link between people’s environment growing up (mainly the household) and the way society has increasingly set aside the crucial issue of rape culture. While many would be surprised, home dynamics can actually perpetuate rape culture.
Influence of home dynamics can be illustrated via a rape culture pyramid. It starts with the usual things that people hear which, when left unguarded, would actually escalate to rape eventually. Unfortunately, these general things are overwhelmingly familiar at home.
At an early age, girls would be reminded that “Boys will be boys.” whenever they complain about boys’ unruly behavior towards them. While growing up, they would start to become familiar with green and rape jokes.
Upon reaching adolescence, they would be told to cover up, to not wear shorts, to not wear skirts, as these might entice men. As women start seeing these things as normal, they would not even be able to realize the thin line between plain friendliness vs. sexual abuse.
On the opposite side, men also experience sexual abuse. Although these stories are not always heard, they exist too. Overall, what is inherently negative has deceived people into thinking that it is okay just because it has been all too familiar and nobody cares to point out that there is something wrong about it, about rape culture.
Understanding That Rape Culture Has Real Effects
Rape culture is definitely something that has to be tamed and stopped. Society cannot keep belittling this issue because it is a real problem causing real trauma to real people. It destroys real dreams of innocent people. “Being a surviving victim of sexual abuse and domestic violence can become a debilitating traumatic experience that when left untreated can lead to overwhelming PTSD, anxiety, depression, lower self-esteem, and other social anxiety disorders to further complicate an already stressful situation,” says Dr. Taji Huang Ph.D.
Instead of locking women into a particular dress code to attain respect (which, in the first place, should not vary as to clothing), men have to be educated that respect is demanded regardless of gender, age, body shape, and skirt length. “Just because a person is in a position of power over another person doesn’t give them the right to act out their violent behaviors. Society and family members need to stop making excuses for perpetrators behaving badly and start enforcing the idea that honor and respect carry far more weight and value. Women are not there to be subjugated or victimized,” said John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
“Common reactions to sexual assault include feeling like you can’t feel safe again, feeling ashamed, low esteem for self or others, feeling scared, and wondering if your life can ever be the same,” says licensed clinical psychologist Elizabeth Ramquist, Ph.D. Do we want these for our children?
While the home could be a source to perpetuate rape culture, it likewise has the power to reverse this mentality. If only little children were taught immediately about respect and how they ought to value every person regardless of gender, it would make a whole lot of difference.
The value of respect doesn’t require a particular level of maturity to understand. Kids could appreciate this as much as they would appreciate the values of honesty, generosity, and all the like – as long as adults would take full responsibility to guide them hands-on.