No, because you are looking at it from the wrong perspective. Your intentions, beliefs, etc, don't count for much when the culture has such a high rate of rape (and assault) which is also part of that same culture. Every single woman I personally know has experienced unwanted aggressive sexual touch of some sort, from groping on the street all the way up to rape, and I'm going to bet that it's the same for you, whether you realize that or not - that every woman you know or nearly every woman has had experience with sexual violence of some kind. That's a rape culture.

The military has been trying for years to get rape and harassment under control, and has increased penalties, started an education campaign, etc, etc., and the rate of rape went up 38% between 2016 and 2018 by the Pentagon's own self-reporting. They are actively against rape, and yet a full 25% of women are raped as well as 38 men per day. That's because they've got a rape culture. The fact that many men serve honorably and would never do that makes no difference.

In addition, a culture where victims are stigmatized and attacked, as well as routinely asked what they were wearing or what they did to bring this upon themselves is also part of a rape culture.

A culture where every 37 seconds an American is sexually assaulted, where 1 in 16 women say their first sexual experience was forced, where out of every 1000 rapes, only 6 result in incarceration - that's a rape culture. No one shames mugging victims, or accuses them of making it up. There is no pervasive cultural narrative that says that most mugging victims are vindictive liars out to harm some innocent guy with false accusations but there is such a pervasive narrative about rape (despite the fact that false accusation rates are somewhere between 2-10%) and are nearly always perpetrated by someone who fits a particular profile for doing so.

It makes little difference if most men don't think that rape of any sort is acceptable if most women have experienced sexual violence of some kind. And then there's the fact that what people say they believe in and what they actually do are often quite different due to the entitlement to female bodies that is a strong element in this culture.

“When Nicole Bedera, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Michigan, interviewed male college students in 2015, each could articulate at least a rudimentary definition of the concept (of consent): the idea that both parties wanted to be doing what they were doing. Most also endorsed the current “yes means yes” standard, which requires active, conscious, continuous and freely given agreement by all parties engaging in sexual activity. Yet when asked to describe their own most recent encounters in both a hookup and in a relationship, even men who claimed to practice affirmative consent often had not.”

These young men weren’t monsters; they weren’t bad guys and certainly didn’t think of themselves as bad guys — and yet, they were self-reporting that they were sometimes engaged in behaviors that might well come under legal definitions of assault. “In my own interviews with high school and college students conducted over the past two years, young men that I like enormously — friendly, thoughtful, bright, engaging young men — have “sort of” raped girls, have pushed women’s heads down to get oral sex, have taken a Snapchat video of a prom date performing oral sex and sent it to the baseball team. They all described themselves as “good guys.” But the fact is, a “really good guy” can do a really bad thing.”

That’s because we live in a rape culture. We have the culture we tolerate, not the one you actively perpetrate. In a swinger’s club or other kink venue, you have a consent culture. Women feel safe because they know that the culture supports their body autonomy and sexual expression without that being construed as either inappropriate or “asking for it” — which is deeply different than the one in the larger society that believes that female bodies are for public consumption at will, both on the street and in more private spaces.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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