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Rape culture

Sexual violence happens because we still live in a world where there is gender inequality: where we think that women and LGBTQ+ people are less important than men and straight, cisgender people. When we think about sexual violence, we often think about crimes like rape. However, it’s important to think about the everyday behaviours that create a world where rape is made acceptable by normalising harmful attitudes and behaviours. We call this 'rape culture'.

rape culture

Illustration credit: https://www.instagram.com/ziibiing/

What examples of rape culture might you see in your life?

Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia

People using phrases like “that’s so gay” as an insult. This suggests that it is a bad thing to be gay, or that gay people are somehow worse than straight people.

Gender stereotypes

This could mean thinking that men should be more sexually aggressive/dominant, or that women should do all the emotional work in a relationship, like listening to problems and talking about where the relationship is going.

Other examples of gender stereotypes could be:

You can find out more about gender stereotypes by going to our information page here.

you don't have to conform

Illustratration credit: https://www.instagram.com/frizzkidart/

Gender stereotypes can also mean things like slut shaming: making women feel ashamed of being sexual and not having the same attitude towards men who do the same things.

I shouldn't have to be modest

Illustration credit: https://www.instagram.com/liberaljane/

Rape myths

There are lots of myths surrounding rape and sexual violence: for example, the idea that lots of women lie about being raped. In reality, only 2% of reported rapes turn out to be false – the same rate as for every other crime. These myths are harmful as they make people less likely to feel able to talk about what they have experienced.

Downplaying

You may experience people minimising 'everyday' acts of sexual violence and acting like they are 'no big deal' – i.e. women being groped on nights out or on public transport – or acting like it’s normal to share nude pictures of your girlfriend with your friends. All of these behaviours cause real harm to the people who experience them. Here is some more information:

You can become part of challenging rape culture by becoming an active bystander.

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Find out more

For more information, you can visit the Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis website.

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