Part 11: Rape Culture and Our Schools

By December 31, 2013Gender & Faith, Women
In this continuing series, guest blogger Toria helps us consider rape culture and how to better “do justice” for women. Warning: May contain explicit images, language, and/or triggers.

Sexual assaults and rape on university and college campuses are unfortunately common, and it is not unheard of for the faculty of these institutions to either cover up the incidents, fail to report them to the proper authorities, or to ignore them completely. There are too many of these to note, so here is a small sample:
  • Faculty members of Penn State failed to report allegations and reports of employees in the sports departments abusing young boys. I don’t think I need to rehash this one.
  • Girls are subjected to a stricter dress code than boys do while in grade school. There are stories all over the internet of girls being sent to the principal because their skirts were too short, their shoulders weren’t properly covered, part of their bra strap was showing, their stomach showed when they had to reach up to a high shelf to grab something, and the list goes on. These girls are often told that showing too much skin “distracts the boys” (and male teachers) from their work. Some schools have even banned yoga pants because they are “too tight” and are distracting to male students. Another school sent messages home to the parents of female students, saying that they should make sure their daughters don’t wear clothing that leaves their “backside […] too closely defined.” This teaches the girls that their body is something to be covered up and hidden, rather than teaching boys that they have agency to avoid constantly ogling girls.
  • The University of Southern California came under fire when a female student filed a Title IX complaint to administrators after being raped by her ex-boyfriend, a fellow student. Administrators told her that they wanted to “educate” him rather than punish him, even after the student provided an audio recording of her assailant admitting to the rape as evidence. She was also told that she was not raped because her ex hadn’t had an orgasm before he stopped. Another student was also told that her rape was her fault because she shouldn’t be surprised if she goes out drinking and gets raped.
  • A student at Boston College submitted a long, detailed account of three rapes he said he committed against three drunk/passed out female students to a Facebook page called Boston College Confessions. This “confession” included claims that he had enjoyed it and that he would likely do it again. Once the post drew attention and had been reported to police, the student said that it was a hoax. The Dean of Boston College has said nothing about determining if this is in fact a hoax, but rather wants to resolve the situation as if the post is entirely untrue. There is a chance that no proper investigation will be done.

You can click here for a list of other rape-related incidents at colleges relating to football players (as this seems to be a common thread in many college rape cases) that details what actions were taken against the perpetrators. In many cases, campus administration did little to investigate or to seek justice for the victims.

The Hunting Ground: Documentary about rape on college campuses

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