Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Title IX

Regardless of the actual statistics related to sexual harassment, assault, and rape on college campuses, men and women are still being violated. “The College Rape Overcorrection,” an article that criticizes the recent victim-focused college responses to sexual accusations, even concedes that “those who commit serious sexual crimes on campus must be held to account” for their actions. The problem isn’t controversial, but the various methods taken to counteract the harassment, assault, and rape are. The article states that “the accused are indeed being treated unfairly,” yet it can’t be forgotten that the accuser also claims to have been abused which is not a consequence to be taken lightly either. The whole affair ruins both participants lives in different ways, or at least it should. The victim is left perhaps physically, but most certainly mentally scarred. The persecutor, however, often doesn’t find themselves reprimanded in proper proportion to the significance of the crime they’ve committed. Again the article offers a different view on the matter as it exaggerates the frequency in which the accused aren’t given their right to due process, while the documentary we watched in class exaggerated various colleges’ lack of action against the accused. 

I find the most interesting part of any rape-based discussion is why it happens in the first place. Is there some added pleasure to having a partner that doesn’t consent? Does it become a challenge that our competitive spirits can’t help but enjoy? Or is it the sheer power one can embody as they dominate themselves over another person? The NPR article describes one of the “primary drivers” that lead men to sexual assault as “peer pressure from other men to prove sexual prowess.” This is a theme that is prevalent in all forms of history; the literary allusion Don Juan exists because it is a character type that stems from observed human nature. Many times “locker room talk” also consists of power being derived from accounts of women playing the role of an object in sexual situations. Along with this concern of where the urge to violate others comes from, it’s also incredibly frustrating to try and understand how our society continues to condone such actions. And of course no politician or head of school is blatantly announcing that rape is okay, but by avoiding direct definitions of sexual harassment, assault, and rape, as well as neglecting to delve into the consequences faced by both the victim and persecutor, these cultures continue on college campuses and, in a larger perspective, the world. It’s infuriating to think that someone can confess to holding “a woman down to have sex with her against her consent” and believe it “was definitely not rape.” Too often media and society push the accusers to take preventative measures (show less skin, don’t ever be alone at a party) instead of seeking out the root of the problem: lack of education and of a firm admonition from those in authority.

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