The leaked recording of Donald Trump in the Access Hollywood (Fahrenthold) bus in 2005 started a movement. The term rape culture has been around for years (the term was coined in the 70s by the feminist movement in the USA) and awareness is slowly growing. The understanding that there are actions and views in our society that we take for granted and see as normal but that are in fact promote sexual assault (WAVAW). These include everything from the way women are portrayed in advertising (Walkman) to the culture of victim blaming. When someone gets assaulted one of the first questions is “what was she wearing?” or “how drunk was she?”
The fact that a presidential candidate brushed aside his statements of sexual assault as “locker room banter” (Fahrenthold) assuming he had done nothing wrong created a social media revolt. Many people started to ask themselves how this kind of behavior is considered ok and normal? Author and social media personality Kelly Oxford (CBS) shared her own story of sexual assault as a 12 year old under #NotOK and asked others to share. The results were horrifying. Tweets came pouring in. 9.7 million women shared their stories #NotOK in the first 24 hours. The hash tag is now also shared on Facebook and talked about in news media.
By women sharing their stories in a few sentences two things have happened. Firstly it has given these women the opportunity to let go of the guilt that they have kept with them (Heldman). Within a rape culture the guilt is most often experienced by the victim rather than the perpetrator. Through talking about their experiences the women can start to understand that they are not alone and that this is #NotOK. The second result of this social media storm is that people are now talking about rape culture again. We get stuck in our daily life and often need a reminder that there are many things in our surroundings that need to change. Social media trends such as #NotOK or #RefugeesWelcome help remind us that our society still has a long way to go until we can see each others as equals.
CBS (2016) Kelly Oxford starts social media movement of women sharing sexual assault stories
Fahrenthold, D (2016) Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005 http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-recorded-having-extremely-lewd-conversation-about-women-in-2005/2016/10/07/3b9ce776-8cb4-11e6-bf8a-3d26847eeed4_story.html
Heldman, C (2013) Pennsylvania public service announcement blames rape victims https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2013/03/21/pennsylvania-public-service-announcement-blames-rape-victims
WAVAW (2016) What is rape culture http://www.wavaw.ca/what-is-rape-culture
UCLA Medical center (2016) http://www.911rape.org/impact-of-rape/self-blame-and-shame
Walkman, E (2016) How advertising promotes rape culture https://medium.com/digital-workshop/how-advertising-promotes-rape-culture-1645d0a885ae#.np7wlfrxc