How Mainstream Media And Society Is Promoting A Pro-Rape Culture

How Mainstream Media And Society Is Promoting A Pro-Rape Culture

By Amanda Fox

Rape is horrific. The violation associated with the rape itself is bad enough, but the aftermath of it makes us question not only media but how our current society plays a hand in the ongoing violation of victims. It is one of the sickening symptoms of the rape culture we live in – or more aptly termed – rape apologist culture. We know this is real. We see excuses made for rapists by the mainstream media time and time over. We have all seen or read snippets, at the least, of people that make victims villains and bemoan the punishment of their rapist. I would go so far as to say we have too many judges sitting the bench that don’t treat the crime as seriously as they should as well. How else do we explain a situation in which gang-rapists get away with a year of detention?

I want to refresh everyone’s memory as to exactly what I am talking about with two recent cases. It was only a couple years ago that an 11 year old girl was raped by 20 or so males ranging in age from middle school students to a 27 year old who also has a record including felony robbery and shooting another young girl. She was repeatedly raped in an abandoned house while the participants called and texted their friends to “come get some” and took pictures and video of each other violating the child – many looking very proud of them self and wearing a smile.

More recently, a 16 year old girl was sexually assaulted by a pair of classmates while she was in an incapacitated state. Yes, the girl was drunk or possibly rufied as well, but she definitely was incapable of consenting to the animalistic treatment that she endured. The boys drew juvie time which will likely amount to around a year, but could keep them under lock and key until reaching 21 depending on their behavior.

How the Mainstream Media Fosters a Rapist-Sympathetic Culture

And now you ask me – “What does the media have to do with all of this? How are they playing a role in creating a rape apologist culture.

This was the mainstream media take on the latest rape case in the news

This was the mainstream media take on the latest rape case in the news

In regard to the Steubenville case related above, please look at the graphic to the side. That is what the mainstream media had to say about the case when her rapists were found delinquent.  What was the common theme in the press? Overtly, it was look at what the boys lost. What was the underlying theme? That the girl was drunk and somehow created the situation  by being inebriated. Had she exercised self-control, this never would have happened because these are “good boys”.

Going back to the Cleaveland, Texas case concerning the 11 year old, it was a case of people coming out in support of the rapists. It must have been the girl’s fault. She must have been asking for it the way she dressed. She must have lied about her age – as if an average 11 year old girl could pass for the age of consent. Community leaders blamed the 11 year old victim for taking — wait for it — too long to report being gang raped in an abandoned building by men and boys that told her they would kill her if she told anyone what was happening. What did the press do? They explored the angle that it was an 11 year old girl’s fault she got raped!!

Where Mainstream Media Failed

The press asked why it was so many young black men were arrested for gang raping an 11 year old girl, rather than asking why so many young men raped an eleven year old girl in the first place. Instead of highlighting how many of the young men were good athletes and how this would impact their team’s seasons, why didn’t they take a look at what the psychological toll would be on this child who was brutalized and her family? Why is it that some “legitimate press” even theorized the child may have wanted it to happen. How many 11 year olds “want” to be gang raped?

What Happens When The Rapist Becomes Seen as the Victim

Something we see on a consistent basis is the press turning the tables and talking about the rapists as victims and the victims as, somehow or another, asking to be violated. Does anyone remember the case of the Silsbee, TX, HS cheerleader that was kicked off the cheer squad because she refused  to cheer for the star football player that she, to this day, alleges raped her? Rakheem Bolton, the alleged rapist, was cleared on the grounds that a judge decided the girl was just ashamed of having had sex with an African-American, is now in college. Hillaire, the young woman in question, is living at home and doing little of anything still – aside from trying to heal.

Finally, after the blatant bias in the reporting of the verdict handed down on the Steubenville case, people are saying “This Has To Stop!” A girl was brutalized. The boys urinated on her passed out body. They made jokes about raping her and other women in general. For over 12 minutes, these beasts, laughed almost non-stop while they recorded the video which was thankfully leaked by Anonymous. They were so proud of what they did, that they tweeted and shared it all over social networks before having that “oh shit!” moment of clarity that it might get them in trouble at which time they removed the content referencing the attack.

The Role Of Government

Privacy laws for victims of rape and sexual assault are largely ineffectual. On paper, the laws look clear cut with no room for gray area interpretation. Victim’s identities are protected. Period. Yet, we often know the names of the victims within hours of a story breaking. We know where they live, work, who they’ve dated and sometimes we are even told what their favorite TV shows are. How does this happen? Most often, a name is leaked by someone in the know for cash. Let’s not pretend that doesn’t happen.

The press takes a name and location and scours the web for every word and photo they ever put online – and then they report on it. It’s not supposed to happen, but it does and it is shielded by freedom of the press. They may withhold the name in some cases – but they will give anyone with access to Google the ability to find it with one search which is just as bad. When was the last time you heard of a major media corporation slapped down with a fine and the reporter with prison for leaking the identity of a rape victim? The government, in general, bows down to the press. It’s bad enough when this happens to adults, but in the case of minors… It is unconscionable.

The Impact On Victims

The impact on victims is exponentially frightening. Imagine the world getting the play by play on one of the most horrific moments of your life? That’s what these victims get in the press. It goes beyond that, however. Rape victims see what happens to those who report. They already feel violated by the crime. They know they will have to relive it over and over if they report it. If they report it, they know it has a chance of being picked up by the press for any number of reasons. If it is picked up and grows legs as a story… they are in the public spotlight like it or not. Victimized one more time.

Are We Just as Guilty for Tolerating This Faux Journalism?

Why is that we, as a society, tolerate this blatantly half-baked reporting on sexual assaults and why do they do it? Is it for ratings? Any attention is good attention? That hardly makes sense. Is it because the newsrooms whether they be print, radio or TV are primarily run by men from an era when rape was regularly brushed aside because in many cases it was legal? It was only 1993 that spousal rape was deemed illegal in all 50 states in the US. Even now, we have states with gender specific marital rape laws and others where the burden of proof that there is no consent is so unduly cumbersome, we may as well say it is basically legal by inability to comply with the burden of proof in most cases. Basically, it is he said/she said and who does a judge believe.

The real answer why the press reports rapes the way it does is an answer we really don’t want to face – We allow it. We continue to tune in. We don’t sufficiently show our outrage. Sure, we moan and groan for a day or two on social networks, but then we move on to the next thing that pisses us off. We don’t follow through. We don’t harness our massive collective power to tell these networks and newspapers that enough is enough! We don’t seem to give a damn anywhere near enough until the next rape victim is violated by the press. Then we complain a couple days and move on.

This is the culture we have created

This is the culture we have created

I want to let you in on something though…

We can do better. We can make it a point to tell the networks no more and really mean it. We can stop buying their rags off the newsstand. We can stop watching the crap they trot out on TV as news. We can hammer their social media networks with such force that they have no option but respond because the waves of complaints are unrelenting.

Yeah…. We can do that. The names of the worst offenders in this case are clearly visible in the image at the top of this column. We can hammer them asking why they are more concerned with the rapists and what they may miss out on in life than they are the victims and what they have already lost and the scars they will carry the rest of their life wherever they go.

My question is will we? I know that I will. I know that I am. Will you?

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  1. Chris Sandys says:

    As I was reading this I kept thinking about the Duke LaCrosse team and Al Sharpton / Tawana Brawley. Both those situations were very high profile, and were opposite of what’s asserted here: innocent people were assumed predators by a lying false-victim and support of the media. In the former case – male athletes.

    I do agree with your prescription for change. I’m an advocate for hitting commercial entities where it counts if you intend to make a statement.

  2. Kevin says:

    Amanda, thanks for sharing your hard-hitting pro-active blog on this subject. I’ve been sharing everything I can on all my platforms and I’m supportive of any sanctions women can impose on the media to garner unbiased and objective coverage.

  3. patrick says:

    I do not think a rapist should ever have then name read or picture shown on TV.

    • Grace Alexander says:

      Really, Patrick? What about the victim?

      The rapist has done something wrong. The rapist is a threat to society. The rapist has lost his right to anonymity.

      The victim has done nothing wrong. The victim is still being victimized. The victim has top deal with trauma that she didn’t ask for, for the rest of her life.

      I don’t feel sorry for the rapists, not one bit. I save my compassion for the victim.

  4. Christian says:

    The football or basketball teams are representatives of the western cultures. Take it, do it and don’t care about the consequences. It’s far more than a matter of male versus female. So called developped western countries are forcing their will onto the world, stealing resources and destroying nature. What else would you call that behavior than raping the world?

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