Rape is both personal and political. It is a deeply personal violation committed by one person against another. But it is also a symptom of a social context in which inequality, disempowerment and violence continue to shape the daily experiences of millions. Within this context it becomes almost impossible to separate the personal and the political.
I am familiar with the political context of rape. As a researcher with a particular interest in gender I have both read and conducted research which explores how particular, socially salient, versions of masculinity and femininity scaffold acts of violence, including sexual violence by men against women, children and other men. I have listened to countless songs on the radio and seen innumerable movies and adverts that position women as sexual objects. I have read frequent posts on social media which celebrate patriarchy. I have also heard numerous rape jokes.