Jumping from the third leg of our Preen Sessions on rape culture, let’s talk about the heart of the discussion. Speaker Maritina Romulo presented us with the rape culture pyramid and the 11th Principle: Consent in order to fully understand why the act of rape isn’t the only factor which contributes to sexual violence.
A little background first: The 11th Principle was created by a group of Southeast burners after the sexual assault issues plagued Burning Man 2012. They wanted to promote conversations and awareness when it comes to sexual assault. They also saw to it to make people understand that “one does not need to be 100% sober in order to consent.” The group also looks into the various gray areas where rape culture flourishes and the different actions it manifests.
In the pyramid above, you will see how rape culture starts from words and throwaway comments until it slowly builds up to more violent actions. In our last Preen Sessions, one could see how this Chinese proverb rings true, “Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.”
Rape culture starts even a little bit before we recognize our own sexuality. From the way we often remind young girls to “act properly” while letting the idea that “boys will be boys” flourish, it’s there. As boys are though that their responsibility isn’t as heavy as the burden placed on women, they learn to see themselves above women. This is how they justify cat-calling and “locker room talk.” At its root, it’s about insisting on male superiority over females. Something top locker room conversationalist Donald Trump should know about.
Unless called out and corrected, this is how the Anthony Weiners and Rob Kardashians of the world prosper. The second tier of the pyramid shows how words and attitudes go up actions. Unsolicited d*ck pics and the like intrude on the consent of a woman. Same thing goes for cat-calling. It imposes on women don’t have agency over their bodies and men are free to comment on it. As it goes on to stalking and following, it shows that men’s desires are paramount, regardless of what the woman wants. It also enforces how men are allowed to have sexual drive but women are expected to not have any, as it is forced upon them.
As we reach the third tier, we see how even in the act of sex itself, rape can happen. Any violation to the type of sex you want is considered rape. If you agreed to protected sex or to certain conditions to BDSM, but found your partner went against it, it’s rape. It’s him only doing what he wants on your body, when sex is an act between two consenting adults.
The top of the pyramid are the ultimate acts against the 11th principle. Rape, gang rape, molestation, violence, and murder are the ultimate crimes against a person’s sexual freedom and human rights. But they don’t happen all of a sudden. Rapists build up and usually learn to get more courage to do as they please the more they go up the pyramid. This graphic also shows how rape culture is something that is deeply ingrained in our society with its manifestations happening every day, to almost everyone.