There is something wrong with a society when the victim of a crime is blamed.
A 16-year-old girl gets raped at a high school party after she has been drinking excessively. The culprits: two high school football stars. The rape was broadcast on YouTube and Twitter. Nobody at the party intervenes. The two rapists get at least a year in a juvenile detention center.
I’m talking, of course, about the Steubenville rape case. News reports have called the boys misguided and said they were promising students with bright futures ahead of them. CNN
reporters expressed sympathy for the two rapists in the Steubenville rape case.
This story is all too real, and the fact that people aren’t making a bigger deal about this shows what kind of society we live in, which is a society more and more commonly labeled as one that caters toward “rape culture.”
Rape is unfortunately something that is not so easily defined. As we saw in 2012, politicians are constantly trying to redefine rape.The Federal Bureau of Investigation has recently redefined rape as: “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
Rape culture is a culture where rape and sexual violence are common and in which the prevalent attitudes, norms, practices and media normalize, excuse, tolerate or even condone rape.
You may say we don’t live in this type of society, but I beg to differ. If a girl gets raped, there are a million excuses for it. I’ve heard everything from “She must have led him on,” to “Well, she shouldn’t have dressed like that.” This is not OK nor will it ever be OK.
The first thing people need to understand about rape is that it is not the victim’s fault. I don’t care if a girl stands naked in front of someone; that doesn’t give that person the right to force sex on the girl. Nothing gives anyone the right to have sex with someone else without that person’s consent.
Now, you may be a person who says you would never rape anyone, or that you would stop a rape from happening, but guess what? You might not. None of the kids at the party in Steubenville, Ohio, stopped the rape. Rather, they tweeted about it and made fun of the victim on YouTube.
Clearly, these kids and those rapists were in the wrong. So, why is the girl being blamed? Reports have said she was dressed inappropriately and that she was drunk.
Reports have also said going to an underage party was a bad idea. Some have even dared to go so far as to say she wasn’t taught on how to properly behave.
This is crap. Instead of blaming the girl, how about we focus our attention on the rapists? Despite the fact that these two boys were star athletes and good students, they did something horribly wrong. They hurt another person. They were the ones clearly not taught on how to properly behave.
The problem is that no one is taught what rape is. Yes, we’re vaguely told that rape is bad and not to do it, but I was never given a clear definition until I started looking for one. Again, rape is forcing someone to have sexual intercourse through physical means or while that person is under duress.
Aside from teaching children what rape is, we also need to clear up the misconceptions about rape. For instance, when most people think of rape, they think of a stranger in a dark alley pushing a helpless individual to the cement. However, more than 80% of rapes are committed by people the victims knew.
Another myth about rape is the fact that if the victim didn’t struggle or fight back, he or she wasn’t really raped, when in all reality, many victims are too scared to fight back.
Other popular misconceptions, such as the popular belief that men can’t be raped, are debunked at http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/commonmyths2.php.
I know some people are going to say that rape doesn’t happen everywhere. Well, guess what: it does. Rape even happens here in sunny St. George.
According to the most recent available set of data I could find, 23 sex offenses were reported in St. George within four months. However, many people don’t report rapes when they happen because they feel ashamed, scared or even as if they deserved it somehow.
This type of thinking needs to stop. The victim of rape or sexual violence should never feel like it was somehow deserved. It is never the victim’s fault. You wouldn’t say it was the victim’s fault if he or she got hit by a drunk driver, robbed or murdered. So, why is it the victim’s fault when he or she gets raped?
Would you blame your sister, your mother or your wife if she were raped? Would you call them sluts and tell them they were asking for it?
Even those against sexual violence and rape still sometimes promote rape culture. Every time you call someone a slut, or make a joke regarding rape, you are promoting rape culture. You are telling people that just because the girl you called slut has had sex before, everyone automatically gets to penetrate her. Every time you tell a rape-related joke, you are letting people know this is something humorous and not serious.
So, Dixie State University, think about these things before you say them or do them. Don’t condone rape in any way, shape or form. Teach your sons and daughters why it is wrong to rape or assault someone. Teach your children to not use words like slut and whore toward their peers. Don’t stand there and let rape or sexual violence happen. Step in, step up and stop rape culture.