Lovell highlighted three characteristics that contribute to rape culture, namely normalisation, ownership, and power. He continued to say that rape is a difficult issue to talk about in society, but is very easy to joke about due to normalisation. According to Lovell, normalisation involves the act of making something the norm in a social setting. He argued that society has normalised the act of rape through speech and jokes.
When speaking on ownership, Lovell said that there is a generalised idea among men that they have some sort of ownership over a woman’s body because “men are used to getting what they want”. He argued that through “slut shaming” and objectification, men have separated women from their bodies and that men don’t see a woman’s other characteristics, but rather only focus on her body. He acknowledged, to the agreement of many in attendance, that this all came down to the system of patriarchy, which he claims is the dominant social system in the country.
With regard to power, he related everything to ownership and highlighted his earlier point that rape is an act of power. He continued to argue that women cannot occupy positions of power due to society’s view that men should occupy these positions.
There was a ten-minute intermission, after which the floor was opened for discussion. Lovell posed two questions to the audience: “What [role] does your religion play in rape culture?” and “How does the music you listen to inform rape culture?” In response to the first question, most of the floor highlighted how women are represented in religious texts such as the Bible. There were also points raised about rape culture within married life.
The floor discussion was lengthy and students raised points such as rape being an issue among individuals who are perceived as feminine, which led to many students questioning the fragility of masculinity in the country. The discussion then moved on to rape culture in a university context, with many people believing that students should be informed about rapists on their campuses.
Lovell said that PAM would commit to ensuring that these issues are discussed through posters and by continuing seminars centred around rape culture.