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Rape Culture is real

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Richard Potts

Richard Potts

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When Beyoncé commands the stage as she melodiously sings “Run The World (Girls)”, most girls get up and sing with her. Ladies, I’m sad to say it, we don’t run the world. Women are dominating academia, athletics, and business. We had a female candidate for the presidential office of this country. Ladies, we are definitely rocking the world, but pardon me as I quote James Brown, “It’s [still] a man’s world”. No matter how far we’ve come, the battle for equality is nowhere close to being done. The society we live in still stands behind the one statement that every modern day woman — every modern day human — must not stand for.

She asked for it.

Let’s get this straight, since it isn’t. She didn’t ask for her fun college days to be twisted and spent depressed and ashamed. She didn’t ask for the most bitter of memories to plague her brain. She didn’t ask for pain. She asked for her attacker, her tormentor to not walk the same halls as her after she bravely came out. She asked for vindication and justice. She asked to go to college, and not leave feeling like another statistic.

Young American women are realizing how this society has let them down more and more every day. A sexualized image of a woman is seemingly on every billboard, in every show, and every commercial. Our bodies are not our own anymore. We are oppressed by an unfair dress code in school and work. We get $0.80 for every $1 dollar our male counterparts receive for the same work, according to the AAUW.  And now, we risk being drugged and raped when we step onto a college campus. We are scared of furthering our pursuit of knowledge because we don’t want to be another statistic in the system. Statistics like: One in five women are raped while in college. During their freshman year of college, 15 percent of women are raped while incapacitated from alcohol or drugs, according to U.S. News.

On campus, according to Lane alum, Kamil Lungu, friends always go to parties together to protect each other.

“The issue is less roofing drinks and more predatory men finding intoxicated women who are easy to seduce,” Lungu said. “The biggest thing done at parties between friends is “tealdotting”, which is checking on a girl before she heads anywhere with a guy. A quick check in is useful to quickly assess the situation.”

Women, we don’t have the security of ivy on the walls. The threat of being raped in college seems to be everywhere. Women don’t want to be judged as liars and manipulators, when they come out for help. Consequently, according to the National Institute of Justice, less than 5 percent of completed or attempted rapes against college women were reported to law enforcement. When cases like People v. Turner, where a male student at Stanford can have 5 charges of sexual assault and only serves six months in prison occur, who do you think would still want to come out and face the public scrutiny of getting a rich boy or college athlete in trouble? Next to no one.  No real woman is asking for it. The society we live in just expects it. The power of male privilege is still prevalent.

We have a man who has spoken the most offensive and disgusting words about women, leading our country. He justifies his actions as “locker room” talk and people accept it. Men accept other men dehumanizing women. We are not a toy that you grab and play with and leave broken on the floor, looking for another once you’re tired. We are not weak because we say “No!”

Lane is a rare community that tries to unify when outside forces spread division. Despite the voices protesting, the results of election are slowly dying down, Lane’s organization of women made sure they would never be silenced.

For President Sabrina Lopez, inequality between girls and boys has existed since elementary school.

“It was around 4th or 5th grade, when I started noticing how in my elementary school, boys and girls were treated differently,” Lopez said. “Not in terms of teachers, but in gym class the boys would be put in the group of students who would get to do harder workouts and then the girls would be expected to go hopscotch or jump rope.”  

This unfair treatment feeds its way to high school where girls are expected to adhere to a dress code that sexualizes our bodies, and blames us for any sexual harassment we might face dressed the way we do.

“Rape culture is telling girls to cover up,” Lopez said, “It perpetuates the mindset of you have to be the one responsible if you get raped. Like if you don’t cover up, you’re asking for it.”

Luckily, Lane’s female students’ bodies seem to be respected when you look at how unrestrictive our dress code is compared to other schools.

“I think we attend a rather liberal school,” Lopez said. “Our dress code isn’t like crazy strict. I think there is a lot of respect, and I haven’t been disrespected myself.”  Coming from such a liberal school and going to a more conservative college, can be hard for students to adjust to how different people see the female body.

For Lane alumni Kamil Lungu, his rather liberal college campus takes every step necessary to protect its students and educate all students on the importance of consent.  

“Pomona makes students go through online sexual abuse prevention training on top of spending hours on the topic during orientation,” Lungu said. “Plus, there are sexual abuse support networks.”

Rape isn’t encouraged, but victims are degraded. Even male victims. Believe it or not, men can be victims too. One in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college, according to the national Sexual Violence Resource Center. The system that portrays men as masculine and invulnerable figures that can not be abused is flawed beyond belief. In reality, men can and have been abused. Taking into account how underreported female sexual assault is, male sexual assault reports are even more underreported. Why must the gender of a victim raise so much doubts? For years society has denied the possibility of a man being abused by a woman, and due to the bravery of these victims, male voices are finally being heard. Boys aren’t, pardon my word choice, impenetrable forces. There are innocent men who have been victimized and their voices deserve a microphone as well.

“Queer men experience sexual assault,” Lungu said. “I do not feel there is enough work done in making men comfortable coming out with it.”

Don’t let the reality and power of rape culture diminish the hope. Many colleges have strong women’s unions, and sexual assault networks. You have to remember, that no college intentionally sides with the attacker, and wants its female and male students to be victims of sexual assault. There is always someone to go to on most college campuses if you have been assaulted. Whether that be friends, family or a counselor, we are not alone anymore and our voices are getting louder.

Rape culture is real, but so is female empowerment, male rape victim awareness, and the love that connects us all as people who are finding or have found who we are and who we want to be, in college. So never let your voice be silenced, and always stand up for victims of sexual assault, no matter the gender or sexual orientation. One day, rape culture won’t be a necessary but taboo subject, it will be history.

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Rape Culture is real