It is no surprise that rape culture is prevalent on college campuses in our society. Fifty-five universities are being investigated for rape cases. However, these are not just state universities, they include the more prestigious schools such as Harvard, Princeton and SMU and our very own, Vanderbilt.We leave our homes to come to college, a place where we are supposed to feel safe. Due to the recent football rape case here at Vanderbilt, many girls do not feel as safe as they should.
The college town of Missoula, Montana was featured in TIME magazine regarding sexual assault on their campus. The first problem that I found in this article is that there is a target on attractive freshman girls. Boys will invite them to a party to get them drunk. It was said that they give them punch in which they add numerous amounts of alcohol into, which gets the girls extremely intoxicated. They said that they are the easiest girls to target because they do not know their limit with alcohol. In my opinion, this statement stands true. I have seen plenty of overly intoxicated girls trying to make their way through frats. I am personally skeptical of any kind of punch. We grow up learning to never drink something given to you because you never actually know what is in the cup. It seems to be the most dangerous method of date rape.
I found it disturbing that Project Safe said that rape cases had to meet a certain criteria in order to be acknowledged by the police to send out an email or be applied to statistics. The amount of emails we get regarding sexual assault seem frequent, but those are not even all of the tragedies that have occurred. One of the most common ways to prevent rape on campuses is to raise awareness. How can the student body be aware if we are not being notified of every assault? Granted, many assaults may not be reported, but those that are should not have to reach certain measures. Rape is rape no matter where or how it happens.
TIME magazine mentions that the reason that rape continues to happen on college campuses is because of the lack of consequences. It is stated that it is hard to discipline harshly because there may be cases where officials take the victim’s side. It would be unfortunate for someone to lie about something so serious. However, maybe students do not understand the seriousness because there are not severe repercussions. TIME stated that perpetrators might be falsely accused so expelling them would be unjust. Though this situation may occur, it is also likely that perpetrators could get away with rape without being charged and with no consequences from the university that they attend. If we progress towards diminishing rape culture, we will not have to worry about whether or not someone is guilty. If people stay away from these questionable situations then they will not have to worry about being blamed for something they were not a part of.
As I was leaving class today, I had an urge of frustration while walking to Rand. There was a group of students standing with their hands up in the “Don’t Shoot” position along the whole building showing respect to the Michael Brown trial. Racial injustice is a very important topic, but the number of individuals being raped on this campus continues to increase. Vanderbilt organized many events to raise awareness regarding the Ferguson decision. It was very deep and tragic to see everyone with a straight face and their hands in the air. Why are we not doing something like that to catch people’s attention regarding rape? After all, it is a very serious matter that is happening on campus. Maybe creating a sexual assault committee to help organize events during certain weeks would help people understand what is going on behind the scenes. There is no reason that women should feel unsafe on a college campus. But, it will not change without us.
Do you think it is possible to end rape culture? Are girls to blame for not drinking with caution? If alcohol was eliminated, do you think there would be less rape cases? Are the sexual assault awareness programs that we have on campus effective? Do you think that making a committee would be doable?