Social Learning Theory: The Cultural Construction Of Rape Culture

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The cultural construction of rape, or rape culture, is a somewhat misunderstood term in mainstream society. Many people shy away from the expression because it seems at first glance to demonize all men as evil predators. In reality, however, rape culture refers to a much broader social phenomenon that addresses both men and women. In an article for the Globe and Mail, for instance, Jordan Venton-Rublee defines a rape culture as “the environment that puts the onus on the victim, not the perpetrator”. Marshall University Women’s Centre also addresses the concept on their website, establishing that while rape culture does largely refer to victim blaming, it also can be seen more broadly as “an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which …show more content…
In his book, Ellis outlines three main sources for the social learning theory as established by Bandura; the impact from friends and family, culture and subculture, as well as the mass media (12). Proponents for the social learning theory also maintain that there are four processes which lead to sexual aggression, the modelling effect, the sex-violence linkage effect, the “rape myth” effect, and the desensitization effect. The modelling effect refers to imitating and modelling what one sees depicted in the mass media, meaning if one regularly sees violent depictions of rape and other sexual aggression they will be more likely to adopt such behaviour. Similarly, the sex-violence linkage effect refers to a type of modelling, though it is more focused on the depiction of sex and violence continually in the same context, which can lead to sexual desire and satisfaction coming from pain and causing others pain. The “rape myth” effect, in comparison, discusses the possibility that sexual aggression is caused by society perpetuating belief in various “rape myths” such as “No means Yes,” and “Women secretly desire to be raped” (12 - 13). Lastly, the desensitization effect refers to the eventual desensitization to the “pain, fear and humiliation of sexual aggression” through repeated exposure to various media sources which normalize the action

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