Rape Culture is Yours and Mine

Chivalry Can Cure Rape

Perhaps the most problematic of Macdonald’s ideas are that that women can “stop [sexual assault] overnight”. She asserts that if women simply insisted upon a traditional manifestation of chivalry, men would follow suit, quite literally:

“Why not have women organizing themselves for a sex boycott,” Macdonald suggests (and even she seems to chuckle lightly at this). “You know… Make boys come to them on bended knees with a suit and a tie on and roses and go out on a date.”

This suggests that women’s behaviour is the central cause of sexual assault and that if they only adjusted it, they would be worthy of the kind of respect that ensures one does not get raped.

For no other crime against a victim do we insist over and over that the victim is the responsible party, even partially. We don’t tell stores that they have a responsibility to put their goods away lest shoplifters steal because they made their product look too attractive.


The denial of rape culture is not only the twisting of facts, but the rejection of them.

To deny rape culture is to present a straw man as fact.

Rape culture denial sustains a belief in a world so perfect and lacking in nuance that there can only be one “true rape”.

And finally, I suspect, the urge to deny rape culture is the urge to deny that it is your rape culture and it is mine. We may not have chosen it but we live in it, and we must own it and challenge it.