Thursday, 27 March 2014

#Rapecultureiswhen - A powerful Twitter discussion

Rape culture is a term used to describe the normalizing, condoning and excusing of rape and sexual violence in society. It describes a culture that does not teach people how NOT to rape, but instead teaches people how to NOT GET raped.

Zerlina Maxwell wrote this brilliant article for Ebony, entitled "5 Ways We Can Teach Men Not to Rape" which changes the conversation and calls for the rejection of violence rather than an acceptance of it.

Shortly after but not in response to Zerlina's article, TIME posted this article entitled "It’s Time to End ‘Rape Culture’ Hysteria", which totally rejected the idea of a "rape culture", claiming "Though rape is certainly a serious problem, there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm."

Then Twitter went crazy! Zerlina tweeted the following... and the #Rapecultureiswhen topic began.


The hashtag #Rapecultureiswhen gained just under 50, 000 mentions within 48 hours on Twitter and was, in my opinion, an extremely powerful way for victims to connect with each other. I am sick and tired of women being told how to present themselves or how to act in situations to protect themselves. I am sick of people excusing sexual crimes with "she was asking for it by being drunk/dressing slutty/walking alone/hanging out with older men, etc etc." We have this narrative in our minds that women get raped by some stranger in the street and so we teach them ways to protect themselves, when more often than not, women are raped by people that they actually know or sometimes people that they are related to. I believe that rape culture is a real thing and this conversation further enhanced my want to make children and young people know that they should never feel burdened by "how not to get raped" or have to ever feel at blame if they happen to be a victim of sexual violence.
I am extremely happy that Zerlina and others are turning this conversation around and discussing why our culture condones sexual violence and attacks victims rather than perpetrators. Below are some of the highlights from Twitter, including a few of my own.

- Posted by Olympia


  1. Hi Vanessa, just the fact that Twitter went viral over this shows how it continues to be an unresolved and hugely disputed issue in our society ... I've no idea what the answers are but it's a discussion that needs to keep going. Well done for raising it.

    1. Thanks Anne! Yes, we totally agree. I think it's also a conversation that should be had offline with our loved ones. - Olympia