By Constance Judd
The first step into understanding the concept of rape culture in our society is to first understand the history behind the culture and how it has been propagated and reinforced. Rape culture is primarily understood as a sociological concept in which rape is ultimately pervasive and normalized in society because of the dominant shared attitudes regarding gender and sexuality.
Rape culture manifests in various ways in our society such as victim blaming, slut shaming, and over-sexualization; however, many of these problems are overlooked as just societal norms. But these are blatant reinforcements of rape culture; when combined, these concepts not only normalize rape itself but provides the foundation for it to occur.
Regarding the question of where an individual should potentially draw the line of respect in the dating scene, it is better to ask whether or not our own actions are reinforcing the existence of rape culture itself in society. Meaning, it is better to understand and be conscious of how not only our actions set the foundation for rape culture to normalize in our society but our attitudes as well.
However, it is difficult to interpret instances in which an individual could be consenting to an act when, in reality, she or his is not. When this occurs, it is important to understand how rape culture influences interactions like this, such as the concept of token resistance. Token resistance is the idea that women reject sexual advances when they actually want to engage in sexual activity. This presents a dichotomy; women should say no in order to protect their image, but they should also say yes because of gender expectations.
To truly understand whether an individual is consenting to an act, there must be open and explicit communication, despite the normalization of rape culture and the double standards that exist.