A Straight Man’s Take on Rape Culture

As usual, Johnny had something thoughtful to say. This past week it was about rape culture, thanks to the Stanford rape case in the news:

You know… as a straight man you think “rape culture” is bullshit when you learn about it. You believe that a tiny percentage of men are rapists, and since they’re sociopaths, there’s no point in lecturing them – hence our encouragement of female responsibility. We resent being lectured on consent because we already effing know the difference between right and wrong, and we find it incredibly offensive to be lumped in with the tiny minority of violent criminals who rape women. We have this knee-jerk, “oh fuck you” reaction to the suggestion we’re basically a fraternity of rapists.

… then you see something like this, where it’s not just the one criminal who committed a rape. There actually is a system that protects him, that apologizes for him, colludes with him supports him….years ago there was a rape at a party [in Stubenville, Ohio]; the kids involved shared it online. Basically this whole small town was laughing about it on the internet before it went viral. That’s when I was like, “holy shit… an entire town nefariously colluding to keep this rape an inside joke… that’s… that’s a culture.”

That’s when the existence – if not quite the purported prevalence – of rape culture became undeniable to me.

Read more:
8 Things You Should Know About Consent on College Campuses


  1. We refer to it as rape culture, but I think it’s deeper than that. It’s a culture of superiority and class structure, where people establish themselves above another and justify their actions by saying their own needs come before another’s. You can tell a man (or woman) not to rape but if you teach them they are above someone else, you’ve nullified your previous statement. It’s not about looking for the words “I consent to this”, it’s truly valuing someone else’s needs and putting them on an equal platform to yours and looking for the win win or atleast the “our needs aren’t compatible let’s let bygones be bygones”. Once society truly embraces equality and individual value no matter race, gender or beliefs, then I think rape as an action disappears. Until that occurs there will always be someone that creates the mental gymnastics that says “they said don’t rape but she(he) definitely wants(deserves) it and if they don’t it doesn’t matter because I’m the important one”

    1. Yeah… it reminds me of the “banality of evil” concept, which basically states that we’re all capable of horror as long as society in general is cool with it. It could be interpreted to mean that rapists aren’t always inherently monstrous – just, as you suggest, hyper-privileged douchebags who were raised to believe that they can take whatever they want, but who might have turned out differently if they’d been raised differently; and that anyone raised in similar circumstances might turn out the same way.

      Still… “rape culture” remains an offensive concept to men in general. Might I be a rapist if I were born into a platoon of child soldiers in some third-world jungle, or the son of a megalomaniacal billionaire who encouraged superiority fantasies? Maybe. But I wasn’t, and I’ve never hurt a woman, nor have the men I hang around, so I’ll be damned if I sit still and silent while I get tarred with that brush.

      1. I don’t think it’s healthy to blindly defend anyone, but the best course in my opinion is to work to improve the protections women should already have from violence (which doesn’t include the ridiculously confusing “don’t rape” slogans).

        Things to do to stop rape as a man
        1. Don’t vote for people that are ambivalent about rape within marriage or make statements like “she asked for it with that dress”
        2. If a friend gets handsy or obsessed over a woman, slap some sense into him (don’t show him sympathy or approval)
        3. Sexual misunderstandings are still violations of someone’s automy. We don’t have a level between “we’re cool” and “rape” so make sure you treat women’s feelings of violation as valid even if facts show something else.

        From a women’s perspective, advocates need to also realize that some women do play the victim falsely (see Jackie from the Rolling Stones article as a prime example).

        There is a great deal of divisiveness and misunderstanding between men and women (and majorities and minorities) that is caused by huge variety of issues, but it all comes down to whether you respect someone as an individual. We all have rights as a person and should treat each other accordingly. The golden rule is forever.

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