Rape is an act of violence and domination and anger. It uses sexual acts including penetration as weapons. Rape is a subject which most people find uncomfortable. For women it conjures up all kinds of images. Some of us will think of dirty old men in plastic coats, or a monster too gross to think about. Others will have more specific ideas about rape, perhaps thinking about a certain group of men such as ‘weirdos’ in dark alleys.
Every woman in our society feels the fear of rape – no woman is allowed to ignore it. We are taught as children to be afraid of ‘strange men’ who offer us sweets, lifts, etc. Women are taught as adults to keep our doors locked, not to be alone, not to look or act in any way that might ‘bring rape upon ourselves’. Perhaps the most obvious situation in which we are taught to be afraid is when we walk home alone at night. The threat of violence is a total intrusion into women’s personal space and transforms a routine and/or potential pleasurable activity (for example, a walk in the park, a quiet evening at home, a long train journey) into a potentially upsetting, disturbing and often threatening experience.
causes of rape
Rape myths give people a false sense of security by minimising and/or denying the prevalence of sexual violence.
They accomplish this by blaming the victim and making excuses for the perpetrator. In effect these myths perpetuate sexual violence because they play a powerful part in defining responses to rape and create an excuse not to address the realities of sexual violence.