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From rape culture to consent culture

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The term “rape culture” refers to attitudes and behaviours that trivialize, normalize or tolerate sexual assault and any other form of sexual violence. This phenomenon permeates all spheres of society: within the family, at work or at school, in the community, in the media, and even in the legal and political systems.

A myriad of myths perpetuate rape culture: the myth of the perfect victim, the myth that women “cry rape” for no reason, and the myth that all men always want sex.

These myths, combined with social norms that perpetuate sexual violence and unequal relationships between different population groups, help to foster sexual violence.

  • Rape culture cherishes the myth of the perfect victim.
  • Rape culture says that “boys will be boys.”
  • Rape culture says “Yeah, but what was she wearing?”
  • Rape culture says that someone in a couple relationship doesn’t need their partner’s consent to have sex.
  • Rape culture says “I don’t believe it.”

Learn more about myths surrounding sexual violence.

Consent culture

Supporting and defending a culture of consent means working to build a society that values and respects the autonomy of every individual and their ability to know their own needs, desires and limits. It is remembering that sexuality is an expression of desire and mutual pleasure, not a relationship based on power.

The culture of consent goes well beyond sexuality: it is the respect for the integrity of others in all areas of society.

  • Consent culture means having consideration for what the other person wants.
  • Consent culture means respecting the fact that the other person KNOWS what they want.
  • Sexuality and consent always go hand in hand.
  • We need to work together to ensure that the culture of consent is universally applied throughout our society.

Learn more about sexual consent.