Rape culture teaches people not to get raped, when in reality society should be teaching people not to rape. It places the responsibility and blame for sexual violence on the victim rather than the perpetrator.
Rape culture normalizes sexual violence, and, as a result, survivors may not realize what happened to them was rape. They may think they are “overreacting” and decide not to talk to someone, get help or report the violence. Even if they do recognize what happened to be sexual violence, rape culture can cause them to blame themselves, feel guilty and/or ashamed and feel afraid they will not be believed, including by professionals and authorities.
To know more about rape culture, take the provincial Supporting Survivors of Sexual Violence course.
The Intersections of Sexual Violence
Intersectionality is the term used to describe the ways in which a person’s experiences are shaped by the interaction of their different social positions (e.g. their actual, perceived, or imputed sex, sexual identity, gender identity, racial or ethnic background, economic status, faith, migration status, etc.). These interactions are rooted in interconnecting systems of power and produce intersecting forms of privilege and oppression shaped by colonialism, racism, homophobia, ableism, patriarchy, transphobia, queer antagonism and/or any other form of discrimination.
A survivors’ position within society – their identity, background or situation - can impact how a person experiences sexual violence. It can also impact their ability to access support, as well as how other people will interpret and respond to a disclosure. It can also influence if they report sexual assault or cyber violence to authorities. Sexual violence has been and continues to be used as a tool of colonization, slavery and war.