Rape Culture and Victim-Blaming



Buzzfeed’s article on absurd products being marketed to women to avoid getting sexually assaulted focuses on the same notions expressed in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye; in both historic and modern times, women are victim-blamed for sexual assaults and are warned to avoid getting assaulted rather than focusing on the issues of perpetrators. This, additionally, connects to the Keyword’s article on the “body” in that a woman’s body, even at a young age, can create a corporeal implication of sexuality and vulnerability and, in itself, holds the assumption of possible assault and lack of bodily autonomy.

In the Buzzfeed article, the author clearly voices her disagreement with the idea of anti-rape products, justifying the notion that “don’t get raped” should be changed to “don’t rape,” focusing more so on the perpetrators’ faults rather than what a woman may have been doing/wearing to be in a state of sexual vulnerability. The importance of this, even in today’s society, reflects the reinforcements of rape culture—in societal and, unfortunately, political terms—and the fact that women are continually asked why they didn’t fight back, why they were wearing such revealing clothing, why they allowed themselves to get that intoxicated, etc.

In The Bluest Eye, responses to Pecola’s rape and pregnancy are focused mainly on quotes asking why she didn’t fight back and implying that she carries some of the blame for her sexual assault. In this,  it is implied that she could have done something to prevent such actions against her and, in connection to modern times, had she used one of these “anti-rape” products, she could have avoided assault.

Another issue I have with these products as a whole is the lack of thought regarding what would happen when/if a perpetrator were to attempt assault. Products making it difficult to remove clothing or ones that create electric shocks will, yes, make it harder for assaulters to perform an act of assault; however, this does not save women from violence or the trauma.

After some personal research I’ve been doing for another class, I found another article that connected to this issue. My project on men’s views of tattooed women found a court case in which a man was found not guilty in the rape of a young woman, because the women had a lower back tattoo, and the jury explained that the tattoo held sexual implications that likely confused the assailant.

Rape culture is alive and well in 2017 and, unfortunately, opinions on sexual assault have not improved.

2 thoughts on “Rape Culture and Victim-Blaming”

  1. I agree with this post. I think it is important that our culture teach the perpetrator about consent and that something like a tattoo or revealing clothing doesn’t make it okay to rape someone. One thing that I don’t think a lot of people realize is that people can not give consent if they are intoxicated. I don’t think that women should be needing to go to extreme clothing measures so that it is hard to take off in order to protect themselves. It is unfortunate too because even if a women tries to fight back, it may be hard, or the guy may not listen. Rape is definitely still prevalent in society, just as it was for girls like Pecola. I feel like many people don’t take the topic seriously enough or they believe that it doesn’t actually happen. Awareness is needed about Rape Culture because women shouldn’t have to go out of their way to not be raped.

  2. As a woman, I rarely go out alone at night. I feel the need to have someone to walk with me when I go home from the library. This tension that arises in me when I leave the house is present and real. I believe that rather than impromptu victim blaming, we need to address sexual violence within sex ed. It is simply just as important for our culture to teach everyone the meaning of consent and more than just once in 6th grade.

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