The Fruits of a Rape Culture

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Women are the victims of a system that sees them as a renewable and expendable resource. Because they are not seen as fully contributing and capable members of society, they are exploited with the mentality that their worth must be extracted.

 

Economic Exploitation

  • Women in the United States make on average about two thirds of what a similarly qualified man makes. (APA)
  • Due to the lack of support for women escaping violent domestic situations, poor women are more likely to return to abusive partnership. This is likely due to desperation for adequate resources. In these cases, the spouse/partner uses economic means to control his victim even after  the woman has reported the abuse and sought help.
  • Mental illness has a direct correlation to the economic exploitation that is a means to the rape culture. The World Health Organization (WHO)lists instrumental steps in combating mental illness “which are highly protective against the development of mental problems especially depression. These are: “Having sufficient autonomy to exercise some control in response to severe events” and “Access to some material resources that allow the possibility of making choices in the face of severe events.” (WHO)  Unless a woman is a societal and economic peer, she is at great risk.

 

Sexual Victimization

  • The National Injury Control and Risk Survey found that 10.2% of women were victims of rape. (NSVRC) While this survey was of all women, not just the economically disadvantaged, this shows that the victimization is as stratified as the across the board income discrepancy. (See the “⅔” example given in the economic exploitation section.)
  • 33.3 % of girls will be sexually abused before they are 17 years of age. This creates a state of dependence simply by virtue of victimization. (NSVRC)
  • Not having the resources to deal with the victimization trauma, these women are trapped in a cycle of economic, sexual, and physical abuse. (WHO)

 

Mental Health Trends

  • “While women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders, living below the poverty line is one of the most reliable predictors of depression and other mental health disorders” (APA, Grohl 2007)
  • A little over 41 percent of women that are on disability are attributed to depressive disorders which are often the result of trauma. The most common form of trauma is sexual trauma.(APA)
  • As a result of this disability, this demographic of women is trapped in the pitfalls that accompany poverty. Poor women are less likely to marry and more likely to have more children. Poor women who become pregnant are at a higher risk of post-partum anemia which further contributes to depressive disorders and hindered congnitive function. (APA)


Societal Consequences of the Rape Culture

  • Sexual Violence costs almost 152,000 dollars per incident. The only crime that is more costly to our society is homicide. (NSVRC)
  • However, if the healthcare and human costs are considered, sexual violence is more costly. The highest estimate that research puts on the cost of sexual violence is around 37% of what is spent on healthcare, over 700 billion dollars. (NSVRC)
  • Children are considered the measures for societal quality of life. Victimized women are more likely to be raising the next generation alone, and with 18% of children living below poverty. (APA) Statistics such as “One in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused before the age of 17” (NSVRC) perpetuate the cycle and correlation of poverty and violence.

 

 

By increasing the access to resources that women have available to them, women will regain some control of their environment and their bodies. Paired with Education, these resources might become tools to eradicate the Rape Culture.