Rape Culture

Check out this new youth-made documentary by Hard Cover, a television program in Chicago that is completely created and produced by teens, called “Our Hidden Culture” about “rape culture,” including how and why rape persists in American society, statistics about how many people are raped, and the impact rape has on survivors.

The video opens with a tie to street harassment, which I find timely as today for my book I’ve been writing about how the fear of rape complicates and informs the way many women feel in public spaces, particularly when they see or are harassed by a man in an isolated area.

While most rapists (73%) know their victim, the other 27% don’t, and this fact combined with the widespread socialization of women to fear stranger rape, causes a lot of fear among women.

In their study The Female Fear: The Social Cost of Rape, published in 1991, Margaret T. Gordon and Stephanie Riger found that one-third of the women they studied worry at least once a month about being raped. Many said they worry daily about that possibility. A third of the women said that their fear of rape is ‘part of the background’ of their lives and ‘one of those things that’s always there.’ Another third claimed they never worried about rape but still reported taking precautions, unconsciously or consciously, to try to avoid being raped.

In every street harassment study I’ve read, the majority of the women said the fear of rape greatly impacted their street harassment experiences. Does it impact yours?


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