Editor’s Note: trigger warning for sexual assault.

We’ve all heard the term “rape culture” before and it’s time to set the record straight. The United States of America doesn’t have a culture of rape any more than it has a culture of murder. This term aggressively paints men as dangerous and as the root of evil.

I know that people are out there on the fringe of reality who are going to criticize me for what I’m about to explain — but somebody has to explain this. My hope is that you read what I am about to say, and save your judgment until you finish reading.

The first thing everybody needs to understand is that bad people exist. This is the reason for murder, rape, child abuse, domestic abuse and all sorts of crimes. It is the reality of the world. Crime is not unique to the United States, and if you put a spotlight on rape, you don’t understand the real issue.

Next let’s take a look at what people often attribute to this non-existent rape culture.

I’ll be the first to admit that music lyrics can be extremely degrading towards women. Turn on any rap song and you’ll quickly hear some woman being described as a sex thirsty whore. Switch to the next rap song and you’ll likely hear about shooting people, selling drugs or the degradation of the black community.

How come none of the latter is attributed to any sort of culture, but the former is a sign of a rape culture? If music and movies speak of and depict murder, then do we have a culture that accepts and promotes murder as well? Of course we don’t.

I’ve never seen a feminist in a blaze of fury over the fact that Wiz Khalifa promotes illegal activity, and I don’t care that he does either. But why is there a double standard?

You’ll often hear very uneducated people make statements like, “If people taught their sons not to rape women then we wouldn’t have a problem.” There are a couple of problems with this statement.

First, it’s incredibly ignorant. Anybody who’s ever watched the news knows that rape is illegal, and yet the above paints the picture that our society is failing to educate young men on rape. Secondly, it implies that education can prevent true acts of evil. We teach kids not to murder and rob, but people still do it. Once again, you can’t always stop criminals.

Finally, statements like that put all the blame on men and put no blame on women. There’s no doubt that women are more often the victims of sexual assault and rape, but many men are assaulted and raped as well. Then why aren’t we teaching our daughters not rape?

A woman drugged a close male friend of mine, who was a superstar athlete, so that she could assault him. There was little outrage, but could you imagine if a superstar athlete drugged a random woman and raped her? It’d be on the national news by morning.

This last part is likely going to blow up my Twitter feed with hate tweets.

It is unfortunate that some women feel the need to exploit anything that may be rape for publicity. Not everything that is claimed to be rape is actually rape, and false accusations only take away from the credibility of real victims.

For example, I’ve heard many women tell me they regretted having sex with somebody, and that if anybody asked them they’d just lie and say they were too drunk to remember. It’s people like them that are huge problems. Why are women so desperate to demonize men that they’ll lie about being raped?

Let’s focus on those that truly need our help, and let’s stop evil people when we can.

David Hookstead (dhookstead@wisc.edu) is a junior majoring in political science.