Deconstructing Rape Culture and Building Connection
The phrase rape culture is increasingly utilized by anti-sexual violence activists in the United States to describe the current social and political climate within which we are living. But what exactly is a rape culture? In this interactive workshop, participants will examine popular media as well as anecdotal experiences suggested by the presenter to deconstruct the ways in which our society blames victims for the violence done to them, while normalizing sexual violence in our society. An environment where rape and sexual assault are a constant threat deeply influences not only the way we relate to each other in relationships - whether partners, colleagues or strangers, but also changes the way we relate to our own selves - body, mind and spirit.
The disconnect of constantly navigating a hostile environment, always managing how we react and respond to it, and feeling hopeless about our capacity to change our community can be overwhelming. The constancy of living in a society with daily triggers can reduce our ability to participate in our own healing, remove us from our sense of power, and diminish the fuel required to transform the culture as it exists.
Taking a pro-intersectional and empathy-oriented approach, Molly explores how race, gender-expression and identity, sexual orientation, ability/disability and socioeconomic status (among other factors) interact and impact our perception of victims/survivors, our commitment to ending sexual violence everywhere and our capacity to concretely address this epidemic. The workshop draws upon feminist and trauma theories, popular media, current events and personal reflection to help participants think critically about how sexual violence has been normalized and glorified in our culture - as well as offering an introduction to contemporary grassroots organizing against rape culture. Importantly, participants are challenged to connect more honestly and intimately with themselves, and bring that level of vulnerability into not only their critique of our society, but more importantly, into their vision for how we can create more connected, empathic communities. This thought-provoking and interactive discussion ultimately inspires participants to recognize that rape is not inevitable, and in fact, it can be prevented by their active participation in deconstructing it and building a new way of engaging with self and community.