Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Title IX

The phrase "rape culture" provokes a visceral reaction.  Many will scoff at the idea that there is a "culture" anywhere in the world or this country that promotes or sanctions rape. But it's clear that there is.  Obviously, our society as a whole does not appreciate or condone rape.  But with the present discourse surrounding rape, we are in fact creating a culture that has destigmatized and mainstreamed rape.  

In the NPR article we read despite the fact that  "7.7 percent of male students volunteered anonymously that they had engaged in or attempted forced sex, almost none considered it to be a crime." This stat alone is a clear indicator of rape culture.  This video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qk6aauThmW8) created by the campaign "It's On Us" is another depiction of how rape culture manifests itself.  We have created a culture void of any shame or consequence for rapists or the accused.  It's the accused that get the benefit of the doubt while the victim's word is always taken with a grain of salt.  It's not the rapists/accused that have to worry about negative consequences but rather their victims.  The Hunting Ground cites that "88%" of women do not report presumably because of a fear of retribution or a knowledge that despite their best efforts nothing will be done.  Which is why I take such issue with the Slate article.  While yes, men who are accused or rape do deserve due process and a right to share their side of the story, it shouldn't be at the expense of  its victims or undue the progress that's already been made, progress the author seems to see as regressive.  I also took issue with the statement that, "The day after graduation, young men and women will be thrown into a world where there is no Gender-Based Misconduct Office. They will have to live by the rules of society at large. Higher education should ready our students for this reality, not shield them from it."  Obviously despite all the preventative or supportive work in the world, rape will still be a problem but that doesn't mean an attitude of complacency should replace our current efforts to be more sensitive and proactive.  The author also seems to forget that only 2-8% of rape accusations are false so this call for a "narrower definition of misconduct" or a "standard of clear and convincing evidence" is simply unnecessary and redundant.  

It seems like every college in America has had some hand in making this culture worse.  Rather than helping victims they have shamed them into silence.  Rather than punishing perpetuators they've seemingly lauded them.  Institutions have made clear that their endowments and reputation are more important than the students they have a duty to protect.  The fact of the matter is that rape culture is real and is a prevalent force on college campuses and off.  It's a function of a patriarchy that continues to tell men that they are entitled to whatever or whomever they want.  It's a function of a society that continues to vilify women and convince them that they are worth nothing.  

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