College Rape Culture

(Video found through CreativeCommons, originally posted by The Rock Ethics Institute)

( more about the speaker, Jessica Valenti)

As a college student, I know that college campuses are a place where rape commonly occurs. With binge drinking and partying common, bad situations can happen quickly.

My college campus is very small, and it feels very safe to me. However, I worry about how they, as well as other college campuses, would handle a rape case.

In past college campus rape cases, many colleges have tried to belittle the victim or tried to cover up the case altogether. There ares some very good examples of this problem in this article.

In some cases, the victims reported the sexual assault and either never heard back from school officials or their suspect stayed on campus with minimal discipline. (Illustrated in this article)

My worry is that women college students are not protected enough if a rape does occur. As a college kid myself, I would be worried if I was ever raped that not only would my school not do anything, but that they might even blame me for the rape.

I think this has a lot to do with the rape culture in the United States. Ever since I was little, I’ve been told not to go out alone at night, not to leave my drink unattended, not to dress too provocatively, to use the buddy system, to keep myself out of bad situations, and to be wary around guys I do not know.

These are all great pieces of advice, but why are we not telling the guys not to rape, as well? We put so much focus on telling the girls how to protect themselves from dangerous situations, yet we aren’t reprimanding guys for raping as much as we should be, as illustrated in the top two articles.

I feel like if we put more emphasis on what a horrible crime rape is, if it’s consequences were as harsh as they should be, and if we taught guys that it is a very serious thing and they should never be taking advantage of a girl, then maybe I wouldn’t be afraid just to go out on a Friday night and have a good time.

I think college is a perfect place to better educate guys and girls alike about rape culture. We should have educational discussions, maybe even classes about sexual assault and how both guys and girls can avoid these situations. Campuses should have staff dedicated just to sexual assault so victims can feel comfortable talking about it.

Bottom line, college students need these resources. I shouldn’t be afraid of being taken advantage of. I shouldn’t be afraid that my case will be covered up or that my rapist will have very little consequences. Rape is a very serious thing, and I think we need to stop blaming the victim and start treating it as the horrible crime it is.

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