Yes, rape culture is real, and if you aren't sure what it looks like, a hashtag that was trending Tuesday afternoon provides plenty of examples.
All of it started with writer Zerlina Maxwell, according to Feministing:
I also love when ppl question the existence of rape culture like it's a unicorn and not readily apparent to those who know what it is
Maxwell was reacting to recent op-eds arguing that there is no such thing as rape culture.
One example by the American Enterprise Institute's Caroline Kitchens suggested at Time the real problem isn't the unprecedented wave of women coming forward to say colleges mishandled their sexual assaults, it was men being falsely accused of rape and subsequently expelled. (An argument she's made before, and to be clear, false rape reports are estimated to be below 8 percent.)
But Kitchens' column was prompted by the input from the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network to the White House task force on college sexual assault. RAINN, one of the largest survivor advocacy groups, argued rape culture was not to blame for assaults on college campuses. The group's comment quickly became controversial among student activists and sexual assault survivors.
Maxwell, who has spoken about her own assault in the past, was one such woman who strongly disagreed with RAINN and Kitchens:
#Rapecultureiswhen you go to friends for support and they ask you what you were wearing.
#RapeCultureIsWhen too many people think consent to drinking means consent to everything else. Nope.
It quickly began trending in multiple cities on Twitter.
#RapeCultureIsWhen every rape on TV is a stranger in the alley or a rich playboy who drugs you. Rarely the friend or bf who pressures.
— Robyn Swirling (@RSwirling) March 25, 2014
— Annie E. Clark (@aelizabethclark) March 25, 2014
Several tweets are included here in no particular order. For more, check out #rapecultureiswhen on Twitter.
#RapeCultureIsWhen you can't go a day without hearing 'rape' used out of context in casual conversation
— emmy (@emmymcatamney) March 25, 2014
#RapeCultureIsWhen Survivors are asked "How high was your skirt?"and told "But you were kissing him before, so nothing could have happened"
— End Rape on Campus (@endrapeoncampus) March 25, 2014
#Rapecultureiswhen we make a million lists of "prevention tips" for WOMEN but fail to teach men not to rape.
— Katie Halper (@kthalps) March 25, 2014
— Theodora Tsipoura (@NioviGr) March 25, 2014
— Toula Drimonis (@ToulasTake) March 25, 2014
#RapeCultureIsWhen your first response to hearing a victim’s story is to look for reasons s/he might be exaggerating.
— Chris Kaiser (@chris__kaiser) March 25, 2014
#Rapecultureiswhen we believe Mia Farrow has manipulated her daughter before we believe Woody Allen sexually abused his daughter
— Jessica Wakeman (@JessicaWakeman) March 25, 2014
#RapeCultureIsWhen people deny or make fun of the fact than adult men can also be victims of sexual violence.
— Melody Wofford (@MelodyAWofford) March 25, 2014