Healing Gaia

No Means No

Not all men are rapists. However, there is a pervasive culture of gendered violence that is acceptable among some men.

By Doreen Nicoll
Published May 11, 2015

this article has been updated

This is the fourth article in a series for Sexual Assault Prevention Month. This series of articles addresses the issue of sexual assault. The material might be upsetting to some readers. Please take the necessary precautions and have a plan of self-care in place.

Sexual assault is a crime that has far-reaching effects felt by all Canadian girls and women. A 2004 General Social Survey found that 58 percent of Canadian women using public transit were worried about their safety after dark while waiting for or using public transit. 27 percent of women were worried about being alone in their own homes at night. 16 percent of women felt unsafe walking alone after nightfall.

Canadian communities are impacted by sexual assault. Survivors may experience lost potential and productivity. There are immediate and long-term physical and psychological affects that add to health care costs. Funding is required for rape crisis centres, counselling, police and victim services, court and legal costs, as well as correctional services. These are all important reasons why it's imperative to prevent sexual violence.

The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) reported that 12 to 17 year old Canadians are the primary consumers of pornography. 35 percent of these youth admitted watching sexually violent scenes while 37 percent watched sexually explicit videos on a regular basis.

METRAC also found that exposure to violence and/or pornography increases:

At the same time, empathy for rape victims declines.

Pornography alone cannot be blamed for rape. However, pornography portrays unhealthy, unrealistic relationships where men are verbally and physically abusive towards women. This plays a role in desensitizing individuals, especially teens, to the act and outcomes of rape.

Not all men are rapists. However, there is a pervasive culture of gendered violence that is acceptable among some men. The Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario released a fact sheet entitled Sexual Violence on Campuses which included the following disturbing statistics:

A study entitled, "Denying Rape but Endorsing Forceful Intercourse: Exploring Differences Among Responders," was published by the Journal of Violence and Gender (Mar 2015, Vol. 2). A synopsis written by Ximena Ramirez highlighted the fact that the study asked male participants two questions:

  1. "Have you ever coerced somebody to (have) intercourse by holding them down?"
  2. "Have you ever raped somebody?"

When rape was described as coercing or forcing, 32 percent of participants admitted to using this behaviour. When the term "rape" was used only 13.6 percent admitted to the exact same behaviour.

Media is very influential when it comes to shaping the attitudes young men have about sexual assault. Recently, Bud Light added a new tag line to some of its bottles: "The perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night" along with the hashtag #upforwhatever. This ad campaign reinforces rape culture.

A petition recently started demanding Bud Light end the campaign, pull existing product with the tag line and make a financial donation to promote pro-active consent education.

Positive pushback is happening on Canadian campuses where student led campaigns are working to counter rape culture and create more equitable learning and living environments. For more than twenty years the Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario has been promoting the "No Means No' campaign. If you don't have consent, it's sexual assault or rape.

Last word goes to students from Carlton University who know that "No Means No".


Update: updated the sentence "...a pervasive culture of gendered violence that is acceptable among men" to add the clarifier "some". Thanks to the RTH reader who pointed this out. You can jump to the changed paragraph.

Doreen Nicoll is a feminist and a member of several community organizations working diligently to end poverty, hunger and gendered violence.

21 Comments

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By alhambra (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 11:28:10

"Not all men are rapists. However, there is a pervasive culture of gendered violence that is acceptable among men."

Maybe you meant to write "some" men, but what you're saying here is 100% of men accept a culture of gendered violence.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:28:18 in reply to Comment 111501

We all accept it. That's why it's called a 'culture'.

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By Laurie (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 20:39:42 in reply to Comment 111518

Have you read the studies (which probably don't even capture the reality of the situation)? We have not evolved past this stuff. Maybe you have, but most people haven't, hence why 1 in 3 females experiences such violence. Wake up and accept the facts, and work to change them. Start by recognizing rape culture and fighting it.

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By no we dont (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 20:56:49 in reply to Comment 111547

the reality is that painting everyone guilty for a minority of very sick disturbed people doesn't help

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By Tyler (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 12:56:09 in reply to Comment 111548

60 per cent is not a minority, moron.

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By no we dont (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 14:23:37 in reply to Comment 111570

If you believe its 60% I submit its not me thats the moron

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By no we dont (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 18:00:17 in reply to Comment 111518

You may accept it but the vast majority don't

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By Tyler (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 19:49:26 in reply to Comment 111545

Re-read the article, moron. Esp. part that says 60 percent of...

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By yes we do (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 22:02:00 in reply to Comment 111545

The vast majority do through their consumption of popular media which allows the objectification of women to continue. It's systemic.

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By well (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 13:51:44

can't imagine Nicoll is much fun in a discussion or conversation: 'Please take the necessary precautions and have a plan of self-care in place.' Thanks there, we'll do that after we figure out what it means--it takes away from the strength of your postings, but of course you & RTH don't actually care about that.

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By Jessie (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 14:04:08

The points in this article essentially concedes what that troll 'truthit' was saying on this subject. What happened?

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By crapit (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 09:10:02 in reply to Comment 111533

Um, not even. Truthit kept saying men rape because of there lust, Nicoll is saying men rape because they have been taught not to respect women by media that degrades them. Not the same thing at all.

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By Jessie (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 09:53:55 in reply to Comment 111556

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

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By Shawn (anonymous) | Posted May 13, 2015 at 11:24:44 in reply to Comment 111559

I love 'dirty movies' but doesn't make me a pervert.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 10:25:04 in reply to Comment 111559

Uh, oh. Here we go again. Please stop. It's not about biology. It's about ethics. Yes we are animals. No it does not prevent us from using our frontal lobe.

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By Tyler (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 13:00:44 in reply to Comment 111560

It's probably both. You can't do away with the hard wiring through sensitivity training alone. We need to castrate some people.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted May 11, 2015 at 23:09:07

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By crapit (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 13:04:38

What is it about articles about gender and assault that brings out the trolls and lunatics in such droves?

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By Pervster (anonymous) | Posted May 12, 2015 at 19:51:22 in reply to Comment 111575

T&A always attracts.

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By AP (registered) | Posted May 13, 2015 at 07:07:37

Thanks, Doreen, as always, for bringing these important, difficult (as evidenced in the comments!) conversations forward for us. The subtle and pervasive reality of sexism and misogyny ensures they are phenomena that will not right themselves.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted May 19, 2015 at 08:32:44

Doreen, Please read this article to remind yourself that you must first lead by example. Would you have reacted differently if a man had said this? Where is the outrage?

Google:
Boston University prof in racist tweet flap accused of trolling white rape victim

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