Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rape Culture Around the World?

Recently, India has been making headlines around the world for what has been called a rape "epidemic". Rapes of the very young, foreign tourists and violent gang rapes have been causing mass protests in a call for women's rights. One of the stories that sparked the most controversy was the gang rape of a medical student who later died of her injuries (Read Here) Despite protests, cities are still seeing a rise in reported rape cases which is leading to the creation of new anti-rape laws. Bad exposure is definitely effecting their economy as well. Since December, tourism has decreased by 25%, mostly with Western female travelers. Many have criticized India, expressing that their patriarchal culture is to blame. But it has also been argued that there is a culture of rape in the U.S.

From 2004-2008, the U.S was the world leader for reported rapes with about 80,000. however, since so many rapes go unreported. The US Department of justice estimates an actual 300,000 per year (making the 80,000 figure more like 1.3 million).

What is meant by rape culture? One is example  is the recent high school rape case in Stubenville, Ohio. A young women was raped by two football players after she became overly intoxicated at a party. Instead of coming to her aid, many students joked and posted pictures of her on the internet. Following the event the town was torn. While some did support the young girl, many felt that she was to blame and shunned her for giving the football team and the town a bad name. And these incidents are not uncommon. Studies show that college students believe about 50% of  reported rapes are false claims, while the real number is about 2-8%.  And while the issue of false rape gets a a lot of attention, 97% of rapists will never spend a day in prison.

 Many people who are raped or sexually harassed internalize the issue and begin to blame themselves. 73% of rapes in America are committed by non-strangers and 28% happen between intimate partners. Especially in the case of intimate partners, some people may not understand how to escape a dangerous situation and it may not be easy.

If you or someone you know has been a victim or living in a dangerous situation, there are resources to help! For those in the Philadelphia area, the nonprofit organization Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR) provides physical, mental and legal assistance. They also have a 24 hour hotline for round the clock assistance (number available on their website). Nationwide the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) also has a 24 hour hotline and online hotline services for those in need. There are also options for volunteers to help if you are looking to be part of the solution. No matter your reason, do not hesitate to take advantage of these resources!

More in India:

50 Interesting facts about rape... you'll keep reading!

Rape in America and Statistics: