What Rape Culture Looks Like in the Latino Community

What Rape Culture Looks Like in the Latino Community

Our cultura has a problem with rape.

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That’s a difficult comment to make with Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump calling Mexicans rapists (not true) and Ann Coulter insisting that Latina women help men rape children (not true), but it’s one we need to make if we are going to address the real issue.

Before we do that, however, it’s crucial that I note that rape culture – a setting where rape is normalized and trivialized and where victims are blamed – is a worldwide problem that isn’t exclusive to Latinos or Latin America – far from it. This month alone there have been two major entertainment news stories that included rape, from porno darling James Deen being accused of the crime by multiple industry performers and Nicki Minaj's brother being charged with raping a 12-year-old girl. Just this week, an NYPD officer was charged for allegedly raping a 10-year-old girl for three years and a Saudi millionaire was cleared of rape by arguing that he "accidentally tripped and penetrated" a teenage girl.

Let’s be clear: The issue is rampant and global. As such, it’s also a serious problem among the Latino community. A National Violence Against Women Survey found that 21.2 percent of Latina women have experienced sexual assault. As the number of Latinos in the country continues to skyrocket, researchers believe that Latina rape and sexual assault survivors will also increase. It is believed that by the year 2050, 10.8 million Latinas in the U.S. will be survivors of sexual violence.

Making this brutality worse is the ways in which our culture – from music and shows to education and quips – perpetuates rape. If we are going to combat this violence, which we must, we need to understand what it looks like. With that, here are 18 examples of rape culture in the Latino community.

1. The objectification and sexualization of Latinas in media, from advertisements and films to newscasts and memes.

2. Spanish-language hit songs about men “seducing and abusing” women and telling them not to “refuse” it, tunes like Alexis Y Fido’s “A Ti Te Encanta” (“You Love It”).

3. Glamourizing and romanticizing Latin American drug lords who rape women (think every drug-cartel film and show, including the Netflix hit “Narcos”).

4. A Mexican TV host being sexually harassed on-air, forced to call the attack a hoax, and then losing her job.

5. Praising and defending alleged rapists because they’re celebrities, like actor-TV host Mario Lopez, who was accused of date raping women in 1991 and 1993. According to Dustin Diamond, who worked with Lopez on “Saved By The Bell,” NBC paid one of the women $50,000 to stay quiet about the rape.

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