One of the newest trending concepts of this generation is the idea of “Rape Culture.” Basically, rape culture refers to the desensitizing of people to the appalling nature of rape and sexual assault or misconduct. In other words, we are seeing issues of rape and sexual assault so much that it doesn’t have the same effect as it would have had fifty years ago. Many people attribute this phenomenon to the level of exposure within the media. Those same people would argue that the media should limit and/or eliminate the references to rape and sexual assault. While this makes sense, there are indeed other arguments to be had.
Growing up in a generation to which every type of knowledge is literally at one’s fingertips definitely has its perks. Anyone can literally look up and learn anything to a level of proficiency. Television and media has adapted and reflected this access to knowledge by loosening some of the regulations as to what can be shown on television and broadcasted on the radio. While this lessening of regulations has its drawbacks, one of the major perks is that the media is more able to imitate life in a way that it has not before. Couples are now allowed to be represented as sleeping in the same bed. Heteronormativity is no longer the status quo. Now, we can see people of different races, backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender on television much less of a problem.
The problem with this is that now rape and sexual assault is now more common on television shows than ever before. Now, we can openly see imitated acts of rape and sexual assault on televisions shows such as Law and Order. On one hand, it is important to show people how to handle instances in which a person may suffer such trauma. Issues such as the Bystander Effect are discussed as well. All of these are good things. Nevertheless, how much is too much. We are now at a point in which a politician can be accused of committing an act of sexual assault and the general population is not outraged. In fact, it is almost expected for a male politician of national recognition to have some sort of devious act exposed by the media.
Are we as a generation becoming so saturated in the context of sexual assault that the act has become as common as a traffic ticket? Honestly, we aren’t at that point yet. There are still several cases of sexual assault that are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law with no prejudice. However, it is up to us to continue to fight to prevent things like this from becoming the “new normal.” The idea that twenty-five percent of the entire population will experience sexual assault once in their lives is still an statistic. We should not just accept it. We should be doing everything possible to lower the number.
Regardless of embellishment, media is intended to be a representation of current culture. While it may be shocking to see an influx of sexual assault being portrayed in the media, it is literally a mirror showing how society is now treating the issue of sexual assault. Until we begin to take this issue seriously again, things will continue to progress in the wrong direction. We still have a chance to learn and do better when it comes to these issues. Only then, will we see a change in how the media views sexual assault and more importantly how society views it.