Rape culture is defined as “a sociological concept used to describe a setting in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.”
While some might argue that our (cough) highly civilized country is far from having an ingrained rape culture, the actual descriptions beg to differ:
Behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, slut shaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape, denial of widespread rape, refusing to acknowledge the harm caused by some forms of sexual violence, or some combination of these. … Entire societies have been alleged to be rape cultures.
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The United States is, by simple definition, a society living under the banner of rape culture. A perfect example of why this happens can be found in the person of Killen, Alabama police Chief Bryan Hammond, who took a sarcastic attitude and some choice words to a Facebook post about Beverly Young Nelson, one of the nine women who “have accused GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore of attempting to rape her when she was 16.”
Hammond claimed that “silence is consent” and then fictitiously accused Doug Jones, the Democratic senate nominee, of sexually assaulting him while at a boy scout camp. Jones is running against accused child molester Moore in the hotly contested senate race. In continuing his sarcastic victim shaming, Hammond wrote:
On another note, Doug Jones fondled me on a boy scout camping trip in 1978. I wasn’t gonna say anything, but I just couldn’t stand the thought of him being a senator. I was ok with it until now. By the way, you can’t see me right now but I’m crying as I type this.
And as if that weren’t bad enough, Hammond later added a faked photo of a hand-written signature that he claimed was written by Jones, saying “Bryan, Thanks for the great time camping. Doug Jones.” That was a direct play on the ACTUAL yearbook signature from Moore in one of his victim’s high school yearbooks.
Hammond did send an email to WAAY, whose Facebook page this occurred on, apologizing to anyone that might have been offended by his comments and tried to play off the comments as sarcasm. He told WAAY in his email that “his comments were intended as criticism of opponents of Moore who have remained silent about other scandals.”
Hammond has been working in law enforcement for over twenty years. He began his career in Killen in 1998. After all that time, you would think that he would have developed some sense of compassion for victims. He’ll be serving a 15 day suspension as a result of his poor judgement on social media, but will that be enough?
Featured image from WAAY screen grab