Why Is Rape Culture Trending On Twitter With The Hashtag #Rapecultureiswhen?

“Rape Culture” trended on Twitter Tuesday as a way to get people to talk about sexual assault in a powerful way, Feministing.com wrote. According to the site,  writer Zerlina Maxwell started the trend with her initial post.

On Tuesday afternoon, Maxwell tweeted that Time magazine and the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) claimed she was “overhyping rape culture” in reference to an article she wrote. That didn’t sit well with Maxwell. And that’s when she began to tweet a series of posts, with one being: 

It can’t be fully confirmed that the trend began with Maxwell, but it certainly seems that way. Hundreds of people began to jump in, sharing their definitions of rape culture and the horrid realities of that culture in America.

Some referred to the Steubenville event, where a girl who was incapacitated from alcohol was sexually assaulted by her peers while pictures and videos were shot. Maxwell began to retweet many of the rape culture hashtags, almost encouraging others to join in on the trend.

The idea behind rape culture, as pointed out by Think Progress, involves society assuming that it’s a woman’s responsibility to protect herself from sexual assault, and that if she is actually raped, it's essentially her fault. Maxwell recently wrote a piece for Ebony.com in which she explained how people could teach men not to rape. “Don’t put it on me to prevent the rape,” she wrote.

Twitter can probably now be called the most successful social media platform to get the word out about rape culture. Even hours after the trend first began, it picked up again later in the evening, with more people pointing out different “rape cultures.”

Some responses that people used with the hashtag #Rapecultureiswhen have been posted below:

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