Combating rape culture

There’s a Latin saying that goes ‘homo homini lupus’ which translates to man is a wolf to his fellow man. When I look around at the social issues plaguing our society, I cannot help but concede especially as the number of sexual violence cases against women and children has risen drastically in Namibia. The rise in sexual violence cases signifies that rape is a major social issue, but when we look at the various ways in which people have been defiled it has become clear that rape has become a culture of its own.
It is important to realize and understand that both men and women are at risk of being sexually assaulted.
When we speak about culture, we make reference to the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts that give these people an identity. This is in contrast to rape which can best be described as the act of having unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.
Rape culture can be defined as the normalization of sexual violence in which it is normalized due to societal attitudes and cultural perspectives that addresses the sex roles and patriarchal views. Rape culture is primarily rooted in self-entitlement and a genuine disregard for the next person’s well being.
One of the most common forms of rape affecting many young men and women globally is date rape which can be regarded as a rape in which there has been some sort of romantic or potentially sexual relationship between the two parties. Date rape birthed two other forms of sexual violation, being grey area rape and stealthing.
Grey area rape refers to sex that falls somewhere between consent and denial and is even more confusing than date rape because often both parties are unsure of who wanted what. The confusion comes from the fact that though consent was not given simultaneously it was not denied. Stealthing is the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex making it non-consensual sex which is illegal.
I find it equally important to stress out the fact that rape is not always violent. We’ve been socialised to believe that rape is violent so when people are faced with this kind of assault majority of the time there are doubts regarding whether one has been raped or not especially when one orgasms.
The main issue with both stealthing and grey area rape for me boils down to consent. As a man I find myself having to initiate sex and the one time I was with a classmate I asked her ‘Are you sure this is what you want?’ and she was taken so off guard by the question because among the guys she had been with the first person to ever remotely ask her for consent was her first lover. What I realised after this was that when it comes to sex education more often than not we focus on girls and women in terms of how to avoid being raped by policing their bodies when we should actually be having dual conversations with men too on the importance of seeking consent for any type of touching. In regard to stealthing I feel the media especially movies with sex scenes have glorified and romanticised unsafe sex without taking into consideration the transmission of STI’s and STD’s and the risk of unwanted pregnancies.
In terms of combating the evolution of rape culture there’s need to have conversations that include both men and women instead of conversations that focus solely on the victims whilst letting the perpetrator go scot-free.
By Sylvester Tanaka