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Community Members Discuss: What is Rape Culture?

“Rape culture is the air that we breathe.” –Susannah Bartlow, Pathfinders Trauma Specialist  

On Oct. 17, WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio joined Pathfinders and community members for a conversation about what rape culture is and how to push back against a society that normalizes sexual violence. The discussion was part of WUWM’s series, Let’s Talk, Milwaukee.

The panelists explained that rape culture is the way society normalizes sexual assault and protects perpetrators while blaming survivors and victims. In other words, it’s a culture that gives some people the right to other people’s bodies.

Sexual assault isn’t defined exclusively by penetration. Susannah Bartlow, Pathfinders Trauma Specialist, said, “Trauma is not defined by the action that’s taken, it’s defined by the response and impact on the body and on the nervous system, the psyche, the impact on someone’s behavior, their life... The impact anywhere on that spectrum could be the same. Someone being grabbed at a party could be the same as someone who experienced a form of penetration.”

Rape culture also impacts male survivors and victims. Cathy Arney, Pathfinders Vice President of Community Services, said that 1 in 6 boys will be raped by the time they’re 18. She said, “My exposure in the world says that men are sexually abused as much as women are. Little boys are sexually abused as much as little girls are.” She went on to explain that rape culture keeps male victims silent.  

Rape culture has a devastating impact on our communities, but there are ways to change the way we think and talk about sexual assault. To hear what else the panelists had to say, listen to the conversation on WUWM here.

Pathfinders News

Community Members Discuss: What is Rape Culture?

“Rape culture is the air that we breathe.” –Susannah Bartlow, Pathfinders Trauma Specialist  

On Oct. 17, WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio joined Pathfinders and community members for a conversation about what rape culture is and how to push back against a society that normalizes sexual violence. The discussion was part of WUWM’s series, Let’s Talk, Milwaukee.

The panelists explained that rape culture is the way society normalizes sexual assault and protects perpetrators while blaming survivors and victims. In other words, it’s a culture that gives some people the right to other people’s bodies.

Sexual assault isn’t defined exclusively by penetration. Susannah Bartlow, Pathfinders Trauma Specialist, said, “Trauma is not defined by the action that’s taken, it’s defined by the response and impact on the body and on the nervous system, the psyche, the impact on someone’s behavior, their life... The impact anywhere on that spectrum could be the same. Someone being grabbed at a party could be the same as someone who experienced a form of penetration.”

Rape culture also impacts male survivors and victims. Cathy Arney, Pathfinders Vice President of Community Services, said that 1 in 6 boys will be raped by the time they’re 18. She said, “My exposure in the world says that men are sexually abused as much as women are. Little boys are sexually abused as much as little girls are.” She went on to explain that rape culture keeps male victims silent.  

Rape culture has a devastating impact on our communities, but there are ways to change the way we think and talk about sexual assault. To hear what else the panelists had to say, listen to the conversation on WUWM here.