What’s Sex Got To Do With…The Military?

According to servicewomen.org, despite 25 years of investigation under the Pentagon due to sexual assault cases in the military, military cases of rape, sexual assault and harassment continue to grow. One would think that an institution of our country that prides itself on justice and valor would be different, however, tens of thousands of unwanted sexual acts are committed yearly in the military, and only a fraction are reported. Those that are expected to be covered up and not talked about.

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These statistics are shocking for multiple reasons. One of the most is because these assaults occur in all realms of the military, including present Active Duty, the Reserves, the National Guard and in the military academies. More importantly, there is a culture of victim-blaming, lack of accountability, and lack of liable command in these situations and it has become prevalent. These statistics threaten the strength, readiness, and morale of the United States military system. It takes away validity from our nation and US national security.

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Recently, a New York Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand has been making a bipartisan push to change how the military deals with cases of sexual assault with the help of Col. Don Christensen, former chief prosecutor of the Air Force. They are hoping to bring recognition to the Military Justice Improvement Act, which aims to remove commanders from the process of deciding whether or not to prosecute sexual assault cases. The issue with this is that commanders are oftentimes friends with both the alleged victim and perpetrator, and they become the enablers in this situation.

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The current situation present in the military is no different than that of college campuses. Both contain a lack of accountability, however, at colleges, it is that of university administration in failing to handle cases properly. Also, in both institutions, the misconception that victims ask for it and are at fault in sexual assault cases is present, when in reality, victims are never to blame. Another similarity between the two is that there are similar programs present at Vanderbilt and within the military to combat sexual assault and educate people about it.

Why do you think that there is such a heavy push-back on sexual assault and measures of prevention are just now being brought up with both institutions?

Is CASA Really All That?

The Campus Accountability and Safety Act, commonly known as CASA is a bill presented in congress that aims to accomplish a number of things. Specifically, according to the preamble of the bill, the purpose of CASA is “to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act to combat campus sexual violence, and for other purposes. This incredibly vague inclusion to the purpose of the bill has come under scrutiny and raises the question of what the true motives of the bill actually are.

The bill starts by amending the Clery Act of 1965 to require colleges to report a number of sexual assault statistics on their website. Also included in this section is a survey that colleges and universities are supposed to give to their student body to more accurately gauge how sexual assaults are happening on campus. The next section of the bill is titled “Coordination with Local Law Enforcement” It goes into detail about a variety of penalties and fines that will be handed out by the Department of Education if schools are found to not be in compliance with CASA. It also details the role that the Secretary of Education has in determining the validity of the infractions. The next section of the bill outlines what systems and programs colleges and universities have to implement for survivors of sexual assault. It goes into detail about the roles of “responsible employees” and what legal options survivors have available to them.

There are a number of clauses and lines within the CASA bill that do not help and may even hurt the war against campus sexual assault. Starting with the very first page, the preamble of the Bill gets kind of shady in its intentions by the inclusion of “and for other purposes.” Considering that this Bill is an amendment for another campus sexual assault legislative piece, I find it hard to believe that this Bill would have many other purposes. If it did, as a voting citizen, I would like for them to be outlined more explicitly for me. In fact, I think a greater level of transparency in all parts of the Bill would be a massive step up from the vague policies and language used in the Bill as it stands now.

For example, in Section 2 the amendment requires that colleges and universities include sexual assault statistics “on the website of the institution”. Not only does it not specify where on a website these statistics have to be (i.e. how easy they are to find), but the statistics that institutions are required to show are not very thorough. For example, there is no requirement for a statistic that shows what percentage of cases had repeat perpetrators. Another issue I found within Section 2 of CASA is the outdated and inconsistent language that is present in the bill. This bill is making amendments to a law passed in 1965 and uses definitions from a separate Act passed in 1994. Especially since the rise of the internet and social media, definitions of sexual violence, dating violence, stalking, consent, rape, and coercion have been rapidly changing. It is not productive to reference definitions from essentially three different generations in a bill that requires solid definitions.

In Section 3 of CASA, a number of penalties and fines are described for institutions that do not adhere to the new Bill. One noticeable flaw within the logic of this section is the power given to the Secretary of Education. While I personally do not know much about our current leadership in the Department of Education, it appears that they could potentially waive the penalties for favored institutions, even if a conflict of interest may be present. Section 4 of CASA attempts to provide ways a number of avenues for students to report their assaults. However, the confusing terminology and the fact that “the confidential advisor shall inform the victim of the victim’s control over possible next steps regarding the victim’s reporting options” may do more harm than good. As we all most likely saw in the Rolling Stone article, presenting a survivor with an overwhelming amount of options without any real guidance does not really do anything for the survivor.

How do you think CASA should be changed? Do you think Congress has the right ideas with this bill?

Racial Hierarchies in Relation to Immigrant Women

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Many women that are associated into a Diaspora culture are, more often than not, discriminated against, and seemingly forgotten about. Informal power unfairly shapes the sexualities and employment statuses of immigrant women. These women constantly find themselves in situations that they have no control over. Basic human rights, social justice, and fundamental equality are all nonexistent in the lives of undocumented female farm workers. People of considerably higher power take advantage of these undocumented workers, give them zero respect, and take away their dignity. With a strong sense of fear of deportation and no longer being able to provide for the families, female immigrant workers remain silent and accept sexual abuse. Racial hierarchies confine immigrant women to a status of diminished personhood where their rights, culture, and sexual agency are all reduced to nothing.

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Undocumented laborers that come to America have very limited options for work. Jobs in the field are really the only available choice that illegal immigrants have. In the NPR documentary, “Rape in the Fields,” the hidden truth about what really happens to female farm workers, in the fields, is portrayed. This film exposed me to a horrible secret that most people throughout the United States still are oblivious to. Undocumented laborers, but very specifically—women, are raped and abused by their superiors. It is very easy for their powerful male superiors to get away with these horrendous acts, in the land hidden within the fields. These illegal immigrant women feel that they cannot speak up or else their supervisors will rat them out and they will have to leave America. This sad, yet real fear of deportation is the only reason male supervisors are getting away with this sexual violence. Many of these women have families and children to support—so they accept this violence and remain silent. No person should ever feel like this. Female undocumented laborers are truly being torn down to nothing. They have no voice, no say in anything, no protection, and absolutely no rights.

Although racial hierarchy plays a major role in the discrimination against immigrants—male hierarchy plays a bigger role. Female immigrants are easily taken advantage of and forgotten about. I do think there is a strong sense of racial hierarchies, but women are being dominated by men—regardless of what race their superior is. These men feel that they own the women and can make them do whatever they desire. Because the undocumented women are in the United States illegally, the men know that these women will basically do anything to stay. This is just disgusting and unacceptable. The males in charge use their mechanisms of power to reduce women to plain nothingness. Along with the awful nature of this situation, nothing has been followed up by our society to put it to an end. This abuse and rape is most definitely still occurring in the fields and women are still being silenced and stripped of their personhood, along with their rights.

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The undocumented female field workers who speak in “Rape in the Fields” risked a vast amount by speaking out publically. Their lives consist of days spent fearing deportation. Along with this fear of losing jobs and being forced to leave America, these undocumented workers also carry heavy loads of shame with them. No woman should ever be ashamed of being a victim of sexual assault and violence. Which is why California has created a new bill as an attempt to prevent and put an end to sexual violence towards female workers in the fields. The Bill is called “Bill to Protect Female Workers From Sex Abuse.” This Bill was originally brought up after the documentary “Rape in the Fields.” The law has made sexual harassment training mandatory for labor contractors and supervisors—and all other employees. Interestingly enough, before this Bill came into law—agricultural supervisors with 50 or more workers had to go through sexual harassment training every other year. Now all supervisors and employees, regardless of the number of workers employed, have to go through training. Along with these minor improvements to our justice system (California’s at least) the state can take away the license of a supervisor who has harassed an employee. This Bill gives me hope (and I am sure it gives female field laborers hope as well) that our country, and maybe even global society, is opening their eyes to the reality of sexual assault. While sexual assault and violence in the field has not been put to an end quite yet, the California Bill is helping us to get there.

We live in a society that is advanced enough to be able to comprehend how offensive, horrifying, and disgusting these men are to immigrant women. It was appalling to me too see the NPR documentary. Undocumented women are still receiving the same abuse and neglect. While steps are being taken towards helping the female field workers, undocumented laborers will still always have a fear of speaking up—even if it will get their abuser fired. Female farm workers should feel safe while working and protected from sexual abuse. The undocumented female laborers are being stripped of their basic human rights and are receiving no social justice. Women are constantly being sexually violated, abused, and exploited. As a society, we have to work to put this to an end and give all these women their rights and dignity back.

 

Do you think sexual assault and violence in the field can be stopped? What do you think should be done to help end it? What can be done to help these female immigrant workers?

What’s Sex Got to do With…CASA

accountability

This year Congress released the 2014 Campus Accountability and Safety Act. The purpose of the Bill is to educate the people of our country (and hopefully the rest of the world at one point) about sexual assault and to fight back and stop sexual violence. This is a serious issue we are currently facing and it is not going away. Not only is it not going away, but it is in fact becoming an even bigger problem as time goes on. The Bill is very informative and it is a good start, and a conscious effort by America, towards tackling the major concern of sexual assault on college campuses (and everywhere for that matter).

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The CASA Bill begins with the preamble. In it—it explains how, as a collective body of people, we need to come together to combat sexual assault. People need to become much more aware of what is going on around them and then proceed to take action to end the disturbing violence. The language throughout Section 4: University Support for Survivors of Sexual Violence is very strange and differs from previous sections. The section only managed to mention federally funded schools—so school that are not funded by the government don’t have to follow the same rules. The section also used a lot of words such as survivors instead of victims and harassment instead of sexual assault. The transition of word use in Section 4 seemingly confused the rest of the Bill.

#YesAllWomen Live Rally in Seattle supports victims of violence

Overall, the Bill was very interesting to read. If I could change anything about it—I would make a few revisions. I thought the Bill provided quite ambiguous definitions. It could potentially be much clearer and more effective if there were in-depth and specific definitions. The CASA Bill also uses various different words for the same concepts. This was slightly confusing and unhelpful. If the Bill used consistent discourse it would help readers to better understand the concepts. Lastly, while non-federally funded schools are allowed to do whatever they please—I think they should have to follow the same rules in the CASA Bill that federally funded schools do. This would contribute to the decrease in sexual assault…if anything. Although I would change these few minor details, the Bill is very progressive and our country is headed in the right direction.

What’s Sex Got To Do With…My Final Thought?

Before taking this class; Sex and Society, I never really thought about sexual assault, how common it was, or understanding it from an academic stand point. I now know so much information that really has shifted my thinking in the best way possible. I feel like I have the knowledge to pass on to others and would be able to help anyone with questions in understanding various topics we have discussed such as; the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, intersex, asexual community, BDSM, sexual assault, the hookup culture, and how society influences sexuality. However, in my opinion, the most influential and most important topics that we discussed are LGBTQIA communities and the hookup culture. The reason why I believe these were the most influential is because of how prevalent they are in the college scene and within society.

Learning about LGBTQIA was incredibly influential because I wasn’t very familiar with what really goes on in the community and what everything exactly meant. I had no clue what asexual meant before this class, I didn’t fully understand the process of a transgendered person, I didn’t understand the difference between queer and gay or lesbian, and finally, I didn’t fully grasp the impact that legislation plays in a person’s life that falls into one of the LGBTQIA categories. I also think one of the most helpful and impacting parts of this topic was when the LGBTQIA group came to our class to share their stories and answer any questions that we had. It was great to hear first hand accounts about what their experiences were like when they came out and what motivated them to be in this organization. After listening to them speak, I quickly learned how important it is for these organizations to be on college campuses all around the country because it is the best resource for someone that needs guidance in trying to figure out who they truly are. Also, learning about this topic has made me more sensitive about what I talk about and how I phrase my words because I realize how easily I could offend someone if I’m not careful.

The other topic I felt was most beneficial and influential was discussing the role of hooking up, whether it is on campus or after college. Within this topic, I felt it was necessary to discuss the battle against sexual violence and how much of a role it plays on campuses. I had no idea that one out of five women would be sexually assaulted. That statistic shocked me and still shocks me to this day. Discussing how frequent sexual assault is was important for me so that I can be more aware of the people around me. I have also used this to be safer on campus and to watch out for my friends around me if we go out. We discussed the role alcohol plays in hooking up and how dangerous it can be. Learning about this is beneficial for every college student to learn, especially before they enter their freshman year. Overall, this class has been incredibly important and helpful in learning about sex and society. I have learned so much about the topics that really matter and really impact our society.

When Will Universities Finally Understand?

As rape cases are becoming more and more public on university campuses, more is being done with this terrible problem of sexual assault. One out of every five females will be sexually assaulted on campus and one out of sixteen males will be sexually assaulted on campus. Why are these numbers so high on campuses and how can we stop this problem? It seems like the more people know about this, the more people will do something about it. On November 19, 2014, an article was released by Rolling Stone magazine about a rape that happened on the University of Virginia’s campus to a freshman girl. She is just now sharing her horrific story, but sadly it’s a story that is too similar to other rape victims.

From Rugby Road to Vinegar Hill, we’re gonna get drunk tonight
The faculty’s afraid of us, they know we’re in the right
So fill up your cups, your loving cups, as full as full can be
As long as love and liquor last, we’ll drink to the U of V
—”Rugby Road,” traditional University of Virginia fight song

This fight song sets the stage for the female student that was raped on Virginia’s campus because of the effect that alcohol had on her perpetrators and the influence it has around campus. After reading about what happened to “Jackie” (the name was changed in the article to Jackie for her anonymity), many things line up perfectly with what we have discussed in class and with what has happened in other cases of rape victims. In the article, one of the quotes that I could most relate to was: “Jackie’s orientation leader had warned her that UVA students’ schedules were so packed that “no one has time to date – people just hook up.” We find this same type of culture on the Vanderbilt campus. I wonder if it has to do with the level of academics at both universities- the students are so dedicated to succeeding in the classroom and with extra-cirriculars that they do not feel the desire to date or have the time. Do you think this is a valid reason for hooking up? Do you see this trend on campus or with other campuses?

In class we learned that conservative estimates suggest that twenty five percent of women experience sexual assault in their lifetimes and about eighteen percent of those assaults involve rape. Also, eighty to ninety percent of sexual assaults are perpetuated by an acquaintance. This was true for Jackie. She went out to dinner with a Junior in one of the best fraternities on UVA’s campus and afterward went to the fraternity house for a party. They went upstairs to “talk” and when she got in the room there were other guys in there waiting for her. A sad and scary quote she gave in the article was about what one of the guys said about her: “Grab its motherfucking leg,” she heard a voice say. And that’s when Jackie knew she was going to be raped.” This quote can be a reality for many people, more common than what we realize. Jackie was raped by multiple college fraternity guys in a small amount of time and could not protect herself. Forty four percent of United States sexual assaults are perceived to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and this was no exception in Jackie’s case. She explained how for three hours she could smell marijuana and hearing them drinking alcohol while seven different men took turns raping her. They abused her sexually and violently and Jackie escaped around three am once she was finally alone and she woke up. 

Once Jackie escaped the horrific scene and found her friends, the friends did not want to take her to the hospital because it would ruin their reputations on campus and Jackie’s. In the article, it explains how Jackie recalls what was said from her friends about what to do; “Jackie listened as Cindy prevailed over the group: “She’s gonna be the girl who cried ‘rape,’ and we’ll never be allowed into any frat party again.” I believe that this issue is why many people do not report when they have been a victim of sexual assault. It is a topic that can hurt so many people, that victims are afraid to share what had happened to them. The fear of reliving the story and the fear of their perpetrators out weighs their ability to go to an authoritative figure who can help. While I was reading this, I was wondering if the University of Virginia had an organization like Project Safe on campus. After the representatives from Project Safe came to our classroom, I realized that this organization is necessary on every campus because it truly is a safe place for people to get help and learn what their next step is after being a victim of sexual assault. One in five women are sexually assaulted on campus but only twelve percent actually report the crime to the police. The importance of an organization like Project Safe would have helped Jackie figure out what exactly she needed to do. 

What are the next steps to prevent something terrible from happening on campus like it did to Jackie? How do you think we could better educate people about the seriousness of sexual assault on campus? This needs to end but I believe it begins with us.

What’s Sex got to do with…UVA?

This article published by The Rolling Stone on November 19th, echoes everything we’ve been discussing in regards to sexual assault on college campuses. The article focuses on UVA, specifically, but from our discussion we know that this is an issue plaguing dozens of universities in the nation. However, I was absolutely floored when I read about UVA’s actions toward sexual assault and rape incidents. I’m afraid that UVA is not the only school guilty of this conduct and that’s the scariest part. How many other prestigious institutions are sweeping sexual assault under the rug for the sake of their reputation and funding?

Continue reading

Are College Campuses No Longer Safe?

According to the Date Safe Project, “ one in four women in college today have been the victim of rape, and nearly 90% of these women know their rapists.”

Rape. Definition: the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse; any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon us.

From the time we are in our teenage years, us girls are educated on sexual assault and the dos and don’ts of how to avoid these awful situations. We hear lots of stories of rape scenarios, but to most girls they are just that: stories. Though I obviously know rapes exist, until a week ago, I had yet to come across anyone that has experienced assault of any kind first hand.

One of my best friends attends the University of Pennsylvania, and for the first month and a half of college, we talked on the phone at least one, if not more, times a week to catch up and just talk about our respective lives. This was something I always looked forward to, but about six weeks in, my friend (let’s call her Chandler for protection reasons), started to get more distant and not respond to my texts and calls. Though I should have been more worried, I assumed it was due to college and all its accompanying stress. Chandler finally called me last week, bawling, and explained that she had been sexually assaulted. She was one of the 20% of women who had been raped. Chandler was leaving a party, and her friend Rob from one of her classes offered to walk her back to her dorm room. On the way they passed his room and he said he had to grab something and asked if they could stop by. Once they got inside, things got heated but then Chandler realized she was intoxicated and wanted to go back to her room. She explained that to Rob, but he got angry and started using force to hold her down. Chandler started yelling and crying, but he didn’t stop, and no one could hear her. For the next few weeks, she was scared to even leave her dorm room, yet alone face him in class. She started talking to a guidance counselor, and when she finally got the courage to report it to the school, they did nothing about it. They switched all of her classes, but what about the boy? Why does he get to go off scratch free while Chandler has to suffer through this for the rest of her life?

Let’s face it; though college may seem like a safe, carefree environment, it is not crime free. Rape can happen anywhere and with anyone, even someone you trust as a friend like in the situation above. This shouldn’t deter us college kids from going out and having fun, but we should be careful and responsible in our actions.

Currently here at Vanderbilt, we have many rape prevention clubs and resources such as Green dot, Party With Consent, the Psychological and Counseling Center, and the Margaret Cuningghims Women’s Center, which I did not even know existed until yesterday. These are helpful resources but there is not enough to promote that they exist and are here for us to utilize. Additionally, though we are taught many rape prevention caution techniques, each situation is different, and the techniques need to be updated with the modern age.

For a big part of my rape education, consent has been emphasized over and over again. However, especially when one or both parties have been consuming alcohol and or drugs, this is a very thin line to cross. Is consent still consent after a blood alcohol level above the legal limit? Keep I mind, for those of us under twenty-one, the legal limit is .02, so consent is wary even after a few sips of an alcoholic beverage. I am not saying to stop drinking alcohol all together, but to be safe while doing so because there are many unwanted consequences that can occur.

I believe because the lines of rape are hazy, especially when it comes to college campuses where drugs and alcohol are plentiful, we must tailor our education and prevention techniques to fit those situations. There is no specific script for how rapes occur, so we must come up with techniques that outline situations of today. In Time Magazine’s, “The Sexual Assault Crisis on American Campus’s,” by Eliza Gray, the solution to campus rapes is distraction. Trying to pull a drunk guy away from going home with a drunk girl can be quite a task and cause some fights, but innovative bystander intervention can be an advantage. An example they used that I personally thought smart was if one sees their friend in a sketchy situation with another girl or guy, distracting them with participation in a game, a trip to a local fast food restaurant, or even just chatter or gossip. Since most sexual intercourse does happen after parties when students are intoxicated, obviously all drunken sex is not unwanted, and does not all constitute as rape. However, bystander prevention and prevention techniques in general can only be useful to have in our tool belts. So remember to pay attention to those around you and stay safe Commodores!

Sexual Harassment & Rape Culture

Rape Culture. This term has come to be recognized by society and is constantly under some type of debate. To some, “rape culture” has been exaggerated, arguing that sexual behaviors and or actions are just societal norms. Others are on the forefront, protesting the ways in which the authorities have dealt with and how they respond to incidences involving sexual behavior. They argue that the people are not protected; our personal rights and freedoms are infringed upon when we experience unwanted sexual actions and the authorities aren’t taking a stronger stance against this behavior. “Rape culture” has to do with the justification of sexual incidences in which people experience unwanted sexual advances or feel uncomfortable in an environment due to sexual behavior. Why, as a society, are we not confronting issues of rape and sexual assault? Why do justifications for these acts exist? To understand why, we have to look at what social constructions surround rape and other forms of sexual assault, and how our language is a factor in shaping this type of culture. In her article, “Sexual Politics in Intimate Relationships-Sexual coercion and Harassment,” Lisa K. Waldner essentially defines sexual harassment, sexual coercion, and the gray areas that comprise such actions that contribute to “rape culture.”

Part of the reason why the issue of rape in society is so ambiguous is because the lines between welcomed/unwelcomed behavior, what is seduction vs. what is coercion, and what is consent have been blurred by social constructs and perceptions of what displays of sexuality are acceptable. To have a clear understanding of what these ideas mean would allow us to abolish the ambiguity and help us determine hard lines between what is and isn’t acceptable. Recognizing the differences in behavior, Lisa Waldner takes a look at what sexual harassment and sexual coercion actually are. She begins by taking a look at various types of sexual harassment, including “quid pro quo” and “hostile environment” scenarios (Waldner 50). In the first type of circumstances, “quid pro quo,” there involves somewhat of a hierarchy of power in which the authoritative position initiates a sexual encounter through sort of a one-sided deal (Waldner 50). Where does this occur? In the professional realm, there is often the opportunity for this type of harassment because individuals may hold some sort of superiority by position. For example, professors may tell a student that they won’t get the grade if they don’t *insert some sexual act here*. The professor is exercising their power over the student’s grade in order to manipulate the student into a sexual act. In another scenario sexual harassment is seen on a more power-balanced level, where one person is making the other person uncomfortable in an environment, but neither is necessarily in a position of power (Waldner 50). As Waldner explains, this harassment may involve humiliation, taunts, or continuous unwanted sexual advances. Is it right for someone to be made uncomfortable in a situation where they are rightfully allowed? On paper, most people would say absolutely not. But they are rarely able to defend this in real situations, mainly because other social factors are also a part of it. To one person it’s a joke, to another it’s extremely uncomfortable and even threatening. Either way, the individual should be able to decide for themselves and be heard when they say that the behavior is unwelcomed.

The next topic that Waldner covers is sexual coercion, where the lines of what is accepted and what isn’t are even blurrier.   Whereas sexual harassment may not have been influenced by any “sexual interest,” sexual coercion does involve a certain level of “sexual interest” (Waldner 51). So how does society perceive sexual coercion? For most, there is a discrepancy between what is seduction and what is coercion. Persuading someone into sexual acts, ranging from kissing to intercourse, can be considered seduction. Perhaps someone sets the mood with candles or takes someone on a romantic date, society sees these techniques as very common ways to seduce someone. However, the line is crossed and the actions become coercive when the seducer takes a stronger approach to acquiring a sexual outcome (Waldner 52). Forms of physical pressure and verbal pressure all contribute to levels of sexual coercion. Rape is the most extreme level of coercion, involving the most extreme physical pressure and resulting in the most extreme result-intercourse. But the areas in between are where a lot of this unwanted sexual behaviors tend to occur, and that’s where society sees the ambiguity in coercion.

So why do we define such things as sexual harassment and sexual coercion? Moreover, why do we need to define these things? Simply put, there needs to be some sort of basis that society can refer to in order to understand how to classify certain sexual actions. We need these definitions because there have been so many debates over what constitutes harassment, who should be to blame, etc. Unfortunately, we are still seeing too many cases of rape, assault, and harassment in society today. In an article written by Zerlina Maxwell from Time Magazine at the beginning of 2014, this issue of rape culture was confronted as well. She addresses how authorities were dealing with rape and other such incidences as well as why people were trying to defend this behavior. Here she compiles a list, that couldn’t have been more clear:

 

  • Rape culture is when women who come forward are questioned about what they were wearing.
  • Rape culture is when survivors who come forward are asked, “Were you drinking?”
  • Rape culture is when people say, “she was asking for it.”
  • Rape culture is when we teach women how to not get raped, instead of teaching men not to rape.
  • Rape culture is when the lyrics of Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ mirror the words of actual rapists and is still the number one song in the country.
  • Rape culture is when the mainstream media mourns the end of the convicted Steubenville rapists’ football careers and does not mention the young girl who was victimized.
  • Rape culture is when cyberbullies take pictures of sexual assaults and harass their victims online after the fact, which in the cases of Audrie Pott and Rehtaeh Parsons ragically ended in their suicides.
  • Rape culture is when, in 31 states, rapists can legally sue for child custody if the rape results in pregnancy.
  • Rape culture is when college campus advisers tasked with supporting the student body, shame survivors who report their rapes. (Annie Clark, a campus activist, says an administrator at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill told her when she reported her rape, “Well…Rape is like football, if you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback, Annie… is there anything you would have done differently?”)
  • Rape culture is when colleges are more concerned with getting sued by assailants than in supporting survivors. (Or at Occidental College, where students and administrators who advocated for survivors were terrorized for speaking out against the school’s insufficient reporting procedures.)

 Source: http://time.com/40110/rape-culture-is-real/

 This is what rape culture is. And we are seeing too much of it. From OneInFourUSA.org, there are endless statistics that display the amounts of rape and abuse that men and women are faced with. The one that stands out the most says “1 in 4 college women report surviving rape or attempted rape.” This statistic does not include other types of sexual harassment.

Source: http://www.oneinfourusa.org/statistics.php

And due to incidences of reported rape and sexual harassment, our very own Vanderbilt University has been put under question for the way in which university officials have dealt with sexual assault.

Source: http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/education/2014/04/29/feds-investigate-sex-assaults-vanderbilt-university/8475183/

Looking at such facts and instances makes one aware that not only are these elements of rape culture extremely prevalent in the society we face, but in our actual home. We live at this university and may be no farther than one room away from the sexual violence that at some point, statistically speaking, we very well may face. As individuals we must challenge the rape culture that has woven itself into the basket of society that holds our freedoms and rights. As individuals we must not neglect the reality of rape culture until the day we become a victim of it. We must forget that although we may not know it first hand, it is a part of our culture, and thus we are inherently a part of it.