A rape culture is one in which sexual violence is the norm, and everyday practices normalise and even excuse rape. It's a culture where instead of teaching people not to rape, we teach people not to be raped. Here are 14 signs we live in one:
1. Ched Evans
Convicted rapist and professional footballer Ched Evans is set to be released from jail in October 2014. According to Alan Smiths, from Sheffield United's official supporters' club, Evans will be welcomed back to the club once he is out of prison. Sheffield United have not commented on the claims.
2. This NHS Poster
The black and white awareness image first ran between 2005-2007 as part of the NHS and Home Office’s anti-alcohol Know Your Limits campaign and is still on display in several hospitals, GP surgeries and universities. It claims that “one in three reported rapes happens when the victim has been drinking” but has been criticised for blaming the victims rather than the perpetrators.
3. Grand Theft Auto
Thanks to an unofficial mod, you can now virtually rape fellow players as part of the game in Grand Theft Auto, with several videos of the attacks being put on YouTube.
4. Lee Setford
Lee Setford was found guilty of rape earlier this year. When sentencing him to five years in prison, Judge Michael Mettyear said he did not consider him a "classic rapist" and described him as a man who "simply could not resist" a "pretty girl".
"I do not regard you as a classic rapist. I do not think you are a general danger to strangers. You are not the type who goes searching for a woman to rape", he said.
"She was a pretty girl who you fancied. You simply could not resist. You had sex with her."
Source: Hull Daily Mail
5. Rape cases being sent to prosecution are at their lowest levels ever
The proportion of rape cases referred by police for prosecution is at its lowest level since records began. The chances of getting a rape case prosecuted are now at the lowest rate since 2007, when the CPS started recording figures on violence against women and girls.
6. But rape affects so many women
Rape Crisis say one in five women aged between 16 - 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16. Rape Crisis estimate that only 15 per cent of the 85,000 women who are raped and over 400,000 who are sexually assaulted in England and Wales every year tell someone about what has happened to them.
Source: Rape crisis
7. Beliefs that reports are fake might be undermining efforts to prosecute rape
In contrast the CPS say false rape claims are "very rare" but they have warned that a "misplaced belief" such accusations are common may undermine efforts to investigate and prosecute such crimes. Rape crisis Scotland say false allegations are at about 3 per cent - the same for any other crime.
Source: Rape crisis Scotland
8. Richard Dawkins
Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that's an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) July 29, 2014
Richard Dawkins caused outrage last month on twitter when he tried to rank which form of rape was worse - "date rape" or "stranger rape" - while making a logical syllogism.
One lawyer told a woman who had been raped her case would not be pursued because she had Spanx on.
10. Greater Manchester Police
Because ten investigations have been launched into alleged mishandling of sexual assault and rape cases a the Greater Manchester Police (GMP). A report published earlier this year from the police watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulay highlighted that GMP had failed to record almost 30 per cent of crimes reported to them, and highlighted a failure to record rapes. The report concerned looked at 13 forces.
11. This student drinking society
Earlier this year footage emerged on Youtube purporting to show members of a notorious Cambridge drinking society walking down a street in Oxford chanting “rape, rape, rape”, “she’s too young” and “15 years”.
12. Judge Mary Jane Mowat
Retired judge Mary Jane Mowat said this week that rape conviction rates will not improve until women "stop getting so drunk". Rather than the onus to convict criminals being on the police, or the Crown Prosecution Service - or rapists not to rape - Judge Mowat said it was women who need to change: “It is an inevitable fact of it being one person’s word against another, and the burden of proof being that you have to be sure before you convict”, she said.
"I will also say, and I will be pilloried for saying so, but the rape conviction statistics will not improve until women stop getting so drunk. I’m not saying it’s right to rape a drunken woman, I’m not saying for a moment that it’s allowable to take advantage of a drunken woman."
Authorities ignored the abuse and sexual exploitation of 1,400 children between 1997-2013 in Rotherham despite of years of warnings, according to an official report released yesterday. Professor Alexis Jay said social workers were nervous about being accused of racism by flagging up the abuse, as the majority of the perpetrators were Asian men. There's a term for when concerns about accusations of racism are more important than protecting children from sexual predators: rape culture.
14. Anti-rape nail polish
When it's easier to invent a nail polish that changes colour when reacting to date rape drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB then it is to find a way to stop rapists.