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Rape culture and sexual violence

Definition

The social phenomenon commonly referred to as “rape culture” refers to a set of attitudes, behaviours and practices that trivialize, normalize or tolerate sexual assault. This phenomenon is manifested in different social environments (family, work, community), the media, the legal system and the political sphere.

 

In this context, the social norms that are conducive to sexual assault and unequal relationships between men and women—and all human beings in general—and the buy-in to myths and prejudices about sexual assault are social conditions that promote sexual assault*.

Sexual violence pyramid

This pyramid** illustrates the progression in a system of attitudes and beliefs that encourage rape and sexual violence.

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For more information

* For more information on rape culture, visit the website of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ).

** Diagram adapted from https://sassk.ca/learn-more/