Author’s Note: The references and hyperlinks provided below have been chosen for both immediate accessibility and verifiability via the Internet. Other sources exist but are not readily accessible and verifiable by any and all readers.
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. — Abraham Lincoln
The term “rape culture” has been bandied about since the 1970s. Its origin is from the title of the film Rape Culture™, produced in late 1974 and released in January 1975. The film’s 40th anniversary is upon us, so surely there must be plans in centres of academia, at the National Organization for Women (NOW), and across the universe and pantheon of feminism for such a momentous event’s ruby celebration.
Imagine the marketing opportunities for Ruby Slippers and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. One can only hope that the world of feminism includes some competent marketing types who will grasp the links and not allow this promotional gift to pass the world by. It needs some expertise well above the capacities of the average academic type being sisterly on campus with marker pens, badly written signs, and a penchant for pulling fire alarms.
As an aside, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes has no Wikipedia page because the name is also a campaign launched in recognition of World Water Day, March 22, which started in 1993. World Water Day and A Mile in Her Shoes concern access to safe drinking water in underdeveloped nations, where children, predominately girls, take 10,000 steps per trip carrying water, often three times per day. The average US family uses over 150 gallons of water per day, while in developing nations families have available on average only 5 gallons, carried long distances by children.
The image of a child with a bucket on his or her head just can’t compete with hoards of entitled middle-class women attempting to convince the world that they are at risk of immediate sexual assault—living in constant fear—and cheering on grown men in six-inch red stilettos. Can’t have that, so there is no Wikipedia page that could undermine the image that so many entitled middle-class types use to prop up their social agendas and push them out globally. After all, the North American feminist fear of rape trumps Third World thirst every time.
The following two images illustrate just how warped the Googlearchy combined with social agendas can be: the first is an image search for the phrase “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” and the second simply adds the word “Water” to the search.
You can see that the first image is exclusively linked to First World fixations, with stiletto shoes and rapists hiding behind every shadow, and that in the second image the meme of First World female security even invades and overruns the basic necessities of life. Red stilettos pushed their way up the Googlearchy rankings and thirst was pushed out of the picture. Some are so privileged and they don’t even know it.
But back to the main issues and thrust of this article: the term “rape culture” has recently been pushed into the mainstream media in the USA through political activism. You can even chart its rise using Google Trends. It really got going in early 2012, which coincides with two political matters that are concurrent in very odd ways—but more of that later.
Rape culture: it just sounds so right that it has to mean what people think, doesn’t it? It’s been accepted and swallowed hook, line, and sinker, with journalists, pundits, and so many others failing to ask the basic questions—what does it mean and where did it come from?
Those failures and deliberate omissions are promoting sexism, racism, intellectual fraud, financial fraud, distorted perception, and are even distorting history. The Googlearchy has played its part, driving indifferently valid, indifferently accurate, and indifferently biased net content up its search rankings with no quality control or validation other than social pressure and financial gain. It is influencing politics and social perceptions globally. If you have the capacity, will, and herd-mentality supporters to link and quote content, you can define reality and then demand that the rest of the world follow you or be marginalised.
Many won’t even recognise that there is a difference between “Rape Culture” (upper case) and “rape culture” (lower case). There is. The main and simple difference is that “Rape Culture” (upper case) is the name of a film inspired by the work of a not-for-profit group called Prisoners Against Rape (PAR) founded September 9, 1973, by Larry Canon and William Fuller, inmates of Lorton Reformatory Virginia. “rape culture”(lower case) is what has been done to the equality and civil rights work of PAR since 1975. What academic terms mean and what Joe and Joanna Q. Public think they mean are very different, and so it is with “rape culture” and especially “Rape Culture.” Academic sources define rape culture as follows:
Rape culture is a concept of unknown origin and of uncertain definition; yet it has made its way into everyday vocabulary and is assumed to be commonly understood. The award-winning documentary film Rape Culture made by Margaret Lazarus in 1975 takes credit for first defining the concept.
Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology (2007), Edited by: George Ritzer, Entry by Prof Joyce E Williams, Page 3791, ISBN: 9781405124331, DOI:10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x
Blackwell is available in both print and electronic versions: the e-format is updated three times per year. Reviewers say of Blackwell: “The most up-to-date work on this topic … Essential. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.”*
So Blackwell is just about the most basic starting point for sociological academic sources, recognised widely across the globe as the best place to look up anything in sociology written in the English language and for everyone from the lowest student to the highest faculty member. Blackwell recognises the distinction of lower and upper case because “Rape Culture” is a proper name and is the name of the film Rape Culture™.
The actual truth and history of Rape Culture™ is fascinating, and it reveals many amazing people who deserve recognition and celebration for their work and courage in addressing inequality, racism, sexism, the normalisation of sexual assault as a control mechanism within institutions, and the mass indifference of those with privilege in society.
- Larry Cannon, Black Male Prisoner, Lorton Reformatory
- William Fuller, Black Male Prisoner, Lorton Reformatory
- Loretta Ross, Black Woman, DC Rape Crisis
- Yulanda Ward, Black Woman, DC Rape Crisis
- Nkenge Toure, Black Woman, DC Rape Crisis
Loretta Ross, a woman of some standing in the area of reproductive rights, rape, and social justice, has even said this of the work with Prisoners Against Rape: “Oh, I’ve forgotten to tell you about Prisoners Against Rape. One of the more interesting things that happened when I was at the Rape Crisis Center is that we got contacted by a group of black men who were prisoners at Lorton Reformatory.—But I did enjoy dealing with Prisoners Against Rape” (Interview, 2004/5).
In the 1970s, the most raped and marginalised groups in US society were black men and women, and the most at risk of rape were black male prisoners in the US prisons systems. The use of rape and threat of rape as riot control and punishment is even a cultural joke in “Don’t Drop the Soap.” Rape of women in prison is seen as abhorrent, but rape of male prisoners is made into a joke and even a board game. You can buy your own box set of cultural misandry (not suitable for children) on Amazon. The Washington Post says of it: “A hilarious, yet artful romp in which five players vie to be the first out of jail” Kris Coronado, March 9, 2009.
I remain amazed that in these media-driven times with instant access to so much data, resources, and video, so few have noticed that Rape Culture™ exists. Given how easy it is to learn on the move, watching on a smartphone, hooked into Twitter or Facebook, and how easy it is to share media via webpages and email, it seems almost impossible to believe that the film has just been overlooked by so many. How Is That Possible?
Here is an excerpt from the film Rape Culture™. It was located through the website of the Academy Award–winning filmmaking organization Cambridge Documentary Films—they have a current webpage about the film.
The original excerpt in QuickTime format is located in the Internet archive Wayback Machine and was archived February 13, 2006. It’s amazing what net content has been recorded for posterity. You just have to know where it is and how to retrieve it. There was even contemporary reporting on the film in academic journals and other media:
- Judy Norsigian, Women, Health, and Films, Women & Health, January 20, 1975, Vol. 1, Issue 1, pages 29–30.
- Rape Culture Film, Panel In Ridgefield, The Ridgefield Press, June 23, 1977.
- Rape: Mix of Sex, Violence, and Economics, The Lewiston Daily Sun, January 27, 1977
Some, such as Friada Kleine, seemed to make careers out of organising screenings and discussions, especially in the Michigan area. In fact, there was an outburst or renewed interests in rape culture (lower case) in Michigan in the mid-’80s and then again in the mid-’90s.
A little known fact, which is so hard to find due to the Googlearchy, is that the first submission ever to Congress that used the term “rape culture” refers to the film Rape Culture™. That was due to the work of William Fuller of Prisoners Against Rape, who submitted evidence to Congress in 1978. It’s all there in the historical record, but you have to look for it.
Some interesting facts about the term “rape culture”: if you search for it using Google, the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology 2007 entry is not even in the top 100 results. If you use Google Scholar to search for it…, it simply does not exist. You have to ask Google for “rape culture”+definition before Blackwell even gets a mention, and the term is still absent from Google Scholar.
In Google Scholar you will find The Wiley-Blackwell Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology, which in its less than half-page entry on page 493 fails to mention any history or origin details. That is truly troubling, as it shows that scholars are deliberately not using Blackwell as a reference and going for lower quality sources. Could it be that they are showing bias and demand a definition that does not contain doubt? Or is it that once they grasp that the origin involves black male prisoners they seek ways to make both the male and racial issues vanish along with any doubt?
Rape Culture™ the film was noticed to be missing from Wikipedia in January 2011. A dialogue was started on the talk pages (now archived), and existing editors simply refused to address the issue. In the end, on May 7, 2012, a separate wiki page was created for Rape Culture™. The main wiki page was edited to include references to the film, and the objections began to heat up. Editors continue to claim that there are multiple sources for the term “rape culture,” and yet they can’t provide any academic or independent sources to support their claims. As such, it’s original research and not allowed. However, it’s defended and protested by a cadre of wiki editors because they have to have their reality and not the actual reality as set out under Wikipedia rules. It’s shocking too just how much these feminist editors push US-centric bias, not even looking for sources outside the USA, such as the work of Professors Upendra Baxi of India or Taboho Meitse of South Africa. The racial and systemic bias is quite disgusting.
The actual Blackwell Encyclopedia reference was added to the Wikipedia page January 21, 2013—and the page read, “rape culture is a concept of disputed origin and meaning …” But that wasn’t allowed to stand for long—the page was reverted and the editor attacked for using quality references that met all the required standards of Wikipedia.
The battle raged for days, with multiple reverts and editors being attacked on multiple fronts with accusations of racism, hate crime, and unwiki ways—and then they were blocked for all eternity because they used quality academic sources that a cadre of feminist editors could not allow to stand. It’s all there for review in Wikipedia if you know how to look for it. The reference to Blackwell managed to survive until 00:54, February 12, 2013, and then it was banished, never to appear again. One point that was of great contention were references to rape culture being a term in sociology, as that encourage others to look for references in that academic field, and of course the basic one is from the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology (2007).
Of most interest is how on May 2, 2013, an editor then attempted to cover up the issue by linking to The Wiley-Blackwell Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology and its far less detailed and less than half-page entry in an attempt to misdirect editors and the public as to sources and quality. Of course it also means that the doubt is removed as expressed by Professor Joyce E. Williams. It’s all standard smoke and mirrors and the psychology of abuse.
So it’s now clear to me why the 40th anniversary of the coining of the term “rape culture” will not be celebrated by the feminists of the developed world. They simply can’t risk all the truths coming out, the correction to texts and student mindsets and professors who have peddled less than scholarly knowledge in an effort to defend tenure as they look at the finishing line of a pension they can’t afford to lose. They also can’t afford the racism and bias to see the light of day.
There are many who believe that feminism is a conspiracy theory, and I can see where they are coming from. Personally, I see the issue as one more of undue influence and the desperate need that many have to be liked and in the right. I have no doubt that there are small and very well-informed groups that have been using social psychology to get their own ways to control national groups by emotive misinformation. It’s all very clear when you study the Woozle effect that there are combinations of foolishness, mendacity, and deliberate exploitation at play. The history of moral panics linked to child battery, anorexia, domestic violence, and now rape all have the same pattern and evolution, except rape culture is the first to be significantly linked to the Internet.
One reason that so many will really not want any scrutiny of rape culture or its history is the recent publication by Lara Stemple and Ilan H. Meyer, “The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions,” in the June 2014 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The commentary on the study alone raises many eyebrows: the authors’ analysis of how the CDC hid the truth of male victims is withering. The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) 2010 was publicly published after inexplicable delay in January 2012. It was an odd coincidence that just a few days earlier (January 6, 2012), the FBI had announced it was adopting a new definition of rape as well.
The fact that the new FBI definition coincided with the CDC definitions was not in any way seen as coincidental or linked in any way with the CDC’s delay in publishing the report. There were raised eyebrows, though, given the great number of people who had campaigned for rape by envelopment to be included in the new definition. But of course those details have been blocked too, and the CDC apparently knew of this while drafting its 2010 reports. Concerns raised by Stemple and Meyer’s findings are summed up here:
In one of the studies included in the analysis, the CDC found that an estimated 1.3 million women experienced nonconsensual sex, or rape, in the previous year. Notably, nearly the same number of men also reported nonconsensual sex. In comparison to the large number of women who were raped, nearly 1.3 million men were “made to penetrate” someone else. Despite the use of these two different categories, the CDC data reveal that both women and men experienced nonconsensual sex in alarming numbers. – Press Release, April 30, 2014
So the CDC found alarming numbers of both men and women subjected to sexual assault in the USA, the same number of men and women. Odd how the CDC ignored the alarm bells.
It puts those claims of “1 in 4” in context because surely it must mean that 1 in 4 college males are subjected to sexual assault during their college career, with the most likely assailant being college women? That agrees with a number of studies that have found that 43% of high school boys and young college men reported they had an unwanted sexual experience, and of those, 95% said a female acquaintance was the aggressor (Study, March 2014).
Rates of sexually aggressive behaviors among women vary from one segment of the United States to another, but the evidence presented here shows that as many as 7% of women self-report the use of physical force to obtain sex, 40% self-report sexual coercion, and over 50% self-report initiating sexual contact with a man while his judgment was impaired by drugs or alcohol (Anderson, 1998). Given these numbers, it is appropriate to conclude that women’s sexual aggression now represents a usual or typical pattern (i.e., has become normal), within the limits of the data reviewed in this paper.
From Deviance to Normalcy: Women as Sexual Aggressors, Peter B. Anderson, Ph.D., and Dyan T. Melson, M.Ed. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 5, October 23, 2002.
Almost 1 in 10 respondents (9.3%) reported having used aggressive strategies to coerce a man into sexual activities. Exploitation of the man’s incapacitated state was used most frequently (5.6%), followed by verbal pressure (3.2%), and physical force (2%). An additional 5.4% reported attempted acts of sexual aggression.
WOMEN’S SEXUAL AGGRESSION AGAINST MEN, 2003
So now there is a real problem because those who have peddled and benefited most from the “rape culture” moral panic will have to address the sexually aggressive behaviour of American college women, and given that they sexually assault at the same rates as men are reported to, it will have to be an equality issue, equal for both genders, just as it was back in 1974/5 when a little known film was made called Rape Culture™.
Can’t we have a celebration, even if it has taken 40 years for the truth to come out and for the real equality and civil rights issues to take a step forward?
Feature image by Plind