31 Women Show Us the Right Way to Respond to Common Excuses for Rape

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Rape is the one of the most common and yet continually under-reported crimes in the world. Most perpetrators of sexual violence, whether the victim is male or female, are men, but most campaigns against rape (with some exceptions) are still targeted at women. 

Unfortunately, these campaigns tend to spend an awful lot of time telling women how to avoid rape (as if sexual violence was just like the stomach flu or cellulite). However, research suggests the majority of sexual assaults occur when a victim knows the assailant, making the common "put your keys between your hands" advice well-intentioned, but not necessarily effective.

When we're not telling women they are responsible to stop rape, we're blaming them for falling at the hands of it. Rape survivors are still held largely responsible by school officials, the media, the police force and our judicial system. The consistent blame women get for assault has a direct impact on reporting.

Then there are the insidious societal effects. If police are publicly instructing young women "not to dress like sluts" to prevent rape, and judges are openly considering a rape victim's perceived promiscuity during sentencing, it's no wonder that 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. We're still living in a world where the burden of proof lies squarely on the victim's shoulders.

But despite all this slut-shaming and victim-blaming, there is hope. Many courageous women are taking the initiative and have begun fighting back against these stigmas and misconceptions. These efforts are exemplified in the countless women who have demonstrated on behalf of victims. Here's a sample of some of the women who have used their words to fight rape culture's ugliest delusions:

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After the anti-rape protests in India were being shut down by police in December 2012.

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