[TW for rape culture, rape apologia, victim-blaming, patriarchy]
It's absolutely amazing [read: terrifying] to me how hard people will fight to keep the rape culture running. How vehemently people will argue that the rape culture doesn't exist. How passionately people will argue that okay, maybe the rape culture does exist, but aren't we taking this just a little too far? How difficult it is for people to realize why rape prevention programs that place the burden of preventing the crime on the victim instead of the criminal help perpetuate the rape culture. How hard people will argue that yeah, we should teach men not to rape, but we don't live in a perfect world, so we should also teach women how not to be raped, and not realize how that idea also helps perpetuate the rape culture.
The rape culture has everything to do with the patriarchy and with women being given second class status to men. Men are never told what to wear, where to go and at what times of day it would be appropriate for them to be there, how much to drink (if at all), who to go home with, how many people it's acceptable or not acceptable for them to sleep with, etc. This burden is always placed on women. When you tell a woman she's not allowed to wear certain clothing, that she's not allowed to go out to certain places at certain times, that she's not allowed to drink a lot (or at all), who she's allowed to go home with and how many people she's allowed to sleep with, etc., not only do you implicitly blame her for any crimes that might be committed against her, you take away her agency. You take away her right to make decisions about her own life. This is directly related to the patriarchal idea that women are meant to be controlled, that we cannot (and should not) be allowed to have our own autonomous lives. We are instead meant to live in total fear and submission, and this is where the whole "here's how not to get raped" thing connects to the problem.
The problem with teaching women how to avoid getting raped is that if they do get raped, the implication is that they didn't listen to the people telling them how not to get raped and that is blaming the victim, no matter how you slice it. There are people who argue that even when teaching men not to rape that some people are going to fall through the cracks, so women should be taught how not to be raped, as well. People are going to fall through the cracks, yes, that is an unfortunate fact of life, but rapists are the only ones who should have to be told anything concerning the prevention of rape. A woman should be able to walk down the street in the shittiest fucking neighborhood fucking NAKED and DRUNK OUT OF HER MIND and expect not to be raped. She should be able to go to the police and expect that they won't put her on trial for her own assault. She should be able to do, dress, talk, act however she pleases and expect not to be raped. Telling women "this is how you avoid getting raped" in this society, a society that condones, normalizes and, dare I say it, encourages rape, is equivalent to saying "if you don't follow these rules, then you deserve what you get."
No, we don't live in a perfect world. We live in a world where if a woman is raped, she is guilty until proven innocent and the rapist innocent until proven guilty. We live in a world where her rapist will often never go to trial because either the victim knows how her case will be treated by a court of law and doesn't bother to report the rape because she knows how it will end up, or her rapist is acquitted. We live in a world where rape victims are put on trial by the very people who are supposed to be helping them, where questions that amount to "What did you do to make this happen to you" are ok to ask the victim. No matter how much women do to "prevent rape," it is never enough. If you dressed modestly, you were out too late. If you went home early, you were dressed like a slut. If you were home early and dressed modestly, then you drank too much (or at all). If you were sober and home early and dressed modestly, then you simply gave off all the wrong signals and didn't say "no" loudly enough.
So really, all the ways we're supposed to keep ourselves "safe," in the end, don't really matter at all. It's just a list of things that help rape apologists blame the victims instead of the criminals, and as a result, the victims wind up defending themselves while the rapists walk free.
And that, my friends, is the rape culture in a nutshell.