How the Normalization of Pornography Contributes to the “Rape Culture”

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On January 12, 2012, in a small Missouri town, 14-year-old Daisy and her friend snuck out of her house and went to meet three older teen boys from her school. The next morning she was found in front of her house in the freezing cold, nearly dead, with twice the legal driving limit of alcohol in her system.

One teen boy immediately pled guilty to sexually assaulting Daisy’s younger friend, while the two older boys did not dispute the fact that they gave Daisy the alcohol. They also didn’t dispute the fact one of them had sex with her and that they had filmed part of the encounter. Nevertheless, charges against them were dropped due to “lack of evidence.”

There was fallout from the incident in this small town—just not the type you might imagine. The victim and her siblings were mocked at school, Daisy’s mom lost her job, and when they moved out of town and were trying to sell their house, it burned to the ground. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Daisy later said, “You’re [called] the s-word, the w-word, the b-word, just. . . . After a while, you start to believe it.”

Welcome to Maryville, Missouri, exhibit A of the rape culture.

What Is Rape Culture?
“Rape culture” has come to mean different things for different people, and its use to shame and degrade any perceived misogynistic slight can cause a reflexively defensive attitude among certain sectors of the population.

Evangelicals, aware of personal responsibility and personal sin, can understandably be cautious about attributing any individual action or craft any collective response to a supposedly social problem. Rape culture, though, simply describes a society that all too often “blames the victims of sexual assault” and “normalizes male sexual violence.” Author Emilie Buchwald describes it as “a complex set of beliefs that encourages male sexual aggression.”

Why does society all too often objectify female bodies while devaluing or ignoring female consciousness and experiences? We contend that the normalization of pornography contributes significantly to the “rape culture.” Sadly, a significant number of those responsible for describing and attempting to address issues related to the “rape culture” are the very ones normalizing the viewing of pornography.

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SOURCE: The Gospel Coalition
Jacob Phillips and Joseph Phillips

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