The Pandemic of Rape Culture

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Ottawa student leader denounces 'rape culture' on Canadian campuses
Speaking out against rape culture can create some serious backlash, which reflects our culture of rape.

At UBC the dean of the business school muses about firing all the students who took part in the chant that celebrates rape, which was also sung at Saint Mary’s in Halifax. And the students voted to not contribute money towards a sexual assault counselling program.

At the University of Ottawa, student politticians had a Facebook chat about how they would sexually assault another student leader. Then they got a lawyer to try to stop her from distributing the transcript of their chat. Then the parents of one of the students one, a former respected police officer] said he’s a good guy, really.

Maybe it’s like the good young adults who participated in the Stanley Cup riot. Really, they’re good people who made a mistake.

Rape chants and sexual assault fantasies are hardly minor aberrant errors.

But here’s the issue. When it’s good kids getting caught up in this, that’s when we know that rape culture is pandemic in society.

“That’s so gay,” has been defended vehemently by people who reject how it could be disrespectful. That’s slowly changing. Much like how it took a lot of effort for people to stop tossing “nigger” around in casual conversation.

Everyone needs to assess whether we have an urge to defend men [usually] who try to normalize rape culture, or say it’s not that big a deal. That urge perpetuates the culture of rape. That urge also justifies sexism, discrimination and bigotry, all the way down to racist jokes at cocktail parties.

It’s up to us to delegitimize this.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website,

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