Wikipedia.com describes the term “rape culture” as “a controversial concept used to describe a culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone sexual violence.
Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, and trivializing rape.”
Perhaps you, too, were offended by Congressman Todd Akin, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri saying that “legitimate rape” according to “doctors” cannot cause pregnancy. Or maybe you are growing tired of the constant over-sexualization of women and girls on your TV–in nearly every commercial, in music, in movies, games.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “An estimated 20-25 percent of college women in the United States have experienced an attempted or completed rape during their college career.”
And these stats are from reported attacks. They do not address those that go unreported.
The CDC website suggests ways that we can stop sexual violence among women and mentions some examples:
- “Engaging high school students in mentoring programs or other skill-based activities that address healthy sexuality and dating relationships.”
- “Helping parents identify and address violent attitudes and behaviors in their kids.”
- “Creating policies at work, at school, and in other places that address sexual harassment.”
- “Developing mass media (e.g., radio, TV, magazines, newspapers) messages that promote norms, or shared beliefs, about healthy sexual relationships.”
Thankfully our Women of the ELCA purpose statement calls us to, “. . . engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.”
Imagine that one in five of the teenage girls in your congregation will be victimized by sexual violence. How will your group or your active unit work on addressing this issue?
Women across the ELCA, ask me this question, “How do we get young women involved in Women of the ELCA?
The answer is to step outside of your comfort zone and be relevant. Start to address these concerns in your congregation, in your neighborhood, in your town, in your state and in the world. Encourage non-profit organizations that minister to women and girls to learn more about Women of the ELCA grants program. Learn more about our health initiative, “Raising up Healthy Women and Girls.” Do something and do it now.
Elizabeth Mcbride is the director for intergenerational programs and editor of Café. She is outraged about the amount of victim blaming that has been “accepted” and especially the casual way the media objectifies women. She needs to do something about it and she needs to do something now.