Must Reads of 2013: Rape Culture Edition

I read a whole hell of a lot of stuff about rape culture. I know - I'm a real hoot at parties. One of the most popular questions I receive is 'What's a good primer on rape culture? What's a good blog post / article / book that I can share with folks who don't believe me when I say rape culture is a thing that exists?'

Here's my list of best takedowns of rape culture for 2013 (in no particular order).

Trigger warning for all of these articles, 'cause. Yeah.

1- "Gray Matters - How rape in pop culture became a matter of opinion" Kate Harding (Bitch Magazine, Issue 60, Fall 2013)

I read this article on a plane and found myself nodding along with every word. Why I think this article sticks out so much for me is that she calls out the 'accidental rapist' trope we hear. You know, the old "Oh, I didn't realize it wasn't consensual sex". This may or may not be the case for some, considering so many young people are missing basic sex education. But the reality is that many people are well aware that they are sexually assaulting someone and that was their intention. It's sad that it's not often called out, but kudos to Harding for bravely naming the blatant misogyny of rape culture.

2- "Boy next door" by Stacey May Fowles (Walrus Magazine, December 2013, Full story here).

This is both an incredibly detailed takedown of the daily impacts of living in a rape culture and a beautifully written memoir of growing up female. Fowles grew up in Paul Bernardo's neighbourhood and paints an incredibly vivid picture of what it was like being a teenage womyn in the shadows of the 'Scarborough rapist'. The way in which we failed womyn then and continue to do so today is depressing stuff. Her writing is impeccable on a good day and this is no exception.

3- "Your friends and rapists" by Sarah Nicole Prickett (Medium, Full story here.)

This piece got everybody on my Facebook timeline talking. It's an incredibly difficult but important read that calls out a painful truth: Rapists are people we know. People we love. People we call our friends. Her writing is poetic, which makes the descriptions of sexual assault all the more painful. This is a great article to send to those who fail to understand the need for bystander intervention. Her experiences of sexual violence demonstrate how sexual violence happens because we actively condone it. When we'd rather look away than call it out, we allow sexual violence to continue.

4- "The 7 Deadly Myths of Online Violence against Women" by Steph Guthrie and Jessica Spence (WiTOPoli, Full story here.)

A brilliant, simple and concise breakdown of myths surrounding violence against womyn in the online world. It's the best FAQs I've come across on the issue and it's definitely a keeper for your Bookmarks. It's ideal for whipping out when you get into the inevitable "If you don't like it, just leave" arguments about the need for safe spaces online for womyn. Guthrie is a leading voice in Canada for the inclusion of womyn's voices in online spheres and she's sadly had tons of personal experience dealing with this crap. This article is a resource I'll certainly make reference to in 2014.

If you read something powerful this year that's missing here, holler atcha girl.