The YNaija #RapeCulture Special Series: A glossary of terms

The words below are the most frequent when talking about the issue of rape. Rape is a sensitive subject and we have curated these words to explain what we mean in the essays concerning rape. We did it to give context to the words usage in the various essays to published during this series.


Make a physical attack on. Rape is an assault.


The place closest to the action or refers to a person who is actively involved in most challenging aspects of a cause or event.


A time of intense difficulty or danger.


A mental condition characterized by hyper-vigilancy of people who have been raped.


Defeat or overcome with superior strength, a man/woman overpowering a victim, in this case, rape.


Give permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.


A deeply distressing or disturbing experience.

For example, rape can be classified as a traumatic experience because most of the time, the victims’ physical and mental state is altered by their experience of violence, coercion and cruelty causing them to relive their experience when they experience an event that is similar to their traumatic experience.

Sexual abuse

A misuse of physical attraction or intimate physical contact between individuals. The victim is treated with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.

Sexual Violence

A behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage done by a person to another person sexually.

Consciousness raising

The art of raising awareness about a particular issue that people should be conscious about. In this case, people who advocate for rape victims and are against rape raising awareness of the dangers of rape.

Survivor/Victim blaming

This occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them.

Marital rape

Marital rape or spousal rape is the act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the spouse’s consent. The lack of consent is the essential element and need not involve physical violence.

Read Also: Purity Culture is Rape Culture and we must bring the church to task | The YNaija #RapeCulture Special Series


A system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is reckoned through the male line. It could also mean a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.


Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes.


Someone who exhibits behavior that doesn’t conform to socially acceptable norms and rules.


A person who campaigns to bring about political or social change. In this case, it is a person who campaigns to stop rape and then sensitises people on the dangers of rape while comforting victims of rape.


Having the power to make laws that punish sex offenders.


Permitted by the law.


A survivor is someone who lives with or overcomes the aftermath of a traumatic experience, like rape.

Read Also: Rape Culture endangers Muslim women too | The YNaija #RapeCulture Special Series


Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent.

The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.

Law enforcement agency

A government agency responsible for enforcing the law. Police, etc.

Criminal Justice system

The system of law enforcement that is directly involved in apprehending, prosecuting, defending, sentencing, and punishing those who are suspected or convicted of criminal offenses, and in this case, rapists.


The act of reclaiming a term or action with negative connotations and re-purposing it for a different, better cause

Crisis hotlines

A special telephone line for people to report a rape case or seek information on help for victims.


The provision of professional assistance and guidance in resolving personal or psychological problems for rape victims, and rapists.

Medical Advocates

A person/people who publicly support or recommend a medical cause or policy.

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SANE) 

SANE is a qualification especially for forensic nurses who have received special training to conduct sexual assault evidentiary exams for rape victims.


Duress is the situation when the person is threatened by force or violence, and may result in the absence of an objection to sexual activity. This can lead to the presumption of consent.


The action of teaching a person a particular skill or type of behaviour (to prevent rape).


Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. This is necessary for both the sexual offenders and victims of rape to let them see the dangers of raping someone and how to respond after being raped respectively.


The extent or length of reaching out.

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception refers to methods of contraception that can be used to prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse. These are recommended for use within 5 days but are more effective the sooner they are used after the act of intercourse.


The act of protecting or the state of being protected; preservation from injury or harm. a thing, person, or group that protects.


The action by a paedophile of preparing a child for a meeting, especially via an internet chat room, with the intention of committing a sexual offence.

Rape culture

A society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalising or trivialising sexual assault and abuse.

Purity culture 

Refer to efforts, especially in conservative Protestant Christianity, to promote sexual abstinence prior to marriage.


A dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men (i.e. the male gender).


A dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.


Something, especially an event that sets off a flashback, transporting the person back to the traumatic event.

Trigger warning

A stated warning that the content of a text, video, etc., may upset or offend some people, especially those who have previously experienced a related trauma: a blog post with a trigger warning for rape.


A person who uses something to bad effect or for a bad purpose.


A person who helps another commit a crime.

The YNaija #RapeCulture Special Series will run from September 15th to September 30th. Visit to catch up on all essays and excerpts from our Instagram interviews.



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