Rape Culture, Again

Good news: I got my computer back from the repair shop!  Bad news: it has to go back tomorrow.  Since I have it for one day, though, I wanted to write something for you all.  Today, I wanted to write about the fashion industry, because despite being in the headlines more for severely damaging behavior, it’s still seen as a glamorous profession.  However, recent news has pushed that one temporarily to the back burner.  Apparently, we still need to talk about rape culture.


“But Nerd Girl,” you say, “you talked about rape culture in your very first post!  You brought it up again in your second post.  Why are you still writing about it?”  Well, faithful hypothetical reader, because apparently it still needs talking about.  In Michigan, a principal told a victim not to report her rape because it could ruin her rapist’s chances of getting to play on a D1 team in college.  She listened.  Two weeks later, he assaulted another girl.  What a surprise.

Hey, remember Reno Saccocia, the Steubenville coach who told rapist Trent Mays that he’d cover up the rape for him and that “shit ain’t gonna happen?”  Well, he just got a two year contract extension.  Well done, Steubenville.  Way to send a message about facilitating rape.  I’m shocked they didn’t give him a raise and a medal.  To do that, though, they’d have to be at UNC-Chapel Hill where Landen Gambill was threatened with expulsion from school for going public with the fact that she was raped.  She didn’t name her accuser, but she is still being brought up on honor code violations for “harassing and intimidation” of her unnamed rapist.


An Amherst Survivor

For those keeping score for Team Rape, Chapel Hill is the same school whose administrator told rape survivor Annie Clark that “Rape is like a football game, Annie. If you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback and you’re in charge, is there anything that you would have done differently in that situation?”  Rape is football, and the victim is the quarterback in charge.  That is possibly the most insulting, demeaning message that a rape survivor can hear.  For the most part, they are already plagued with doubt and thought of what they could have done differently, what mistakes they made, how they could have avoided the situation.  For an administrator to basically tell a victim that they made the mistake and let things get out of hand is revolting.

Occidental and Swarthmore are two more colleges that have come out on Team Rape: College Edition, joining Amherst, UNC-Chapel Hill, Dartmouth, Wesleyan (home of “The Rape Factory” Beta Theta Pi), and Yale (land of “No Means Yes!  Yes Means Anal!”)  Swarthmore assault survivor Kenda Woolfson stated that she was discouraged from reporting her rape by the dean.  Carly Mee, a senior at Occidental said, “When I told an administrator that I did not feel safe, I was told that I had nothing to worry about, that she had met with my rapist, and that he didn’t seem like the type of person who would do something like that.”

Dartmouth students had a protest last week against the administration’s side-stepping of sexual assault, as well as instances of homophobia.  Unfortunately, the student protestors were threatened with rape and death by fellow students on BoredatBaker.com, an open thread site which has since been taken down.  In response, the administration finally decided it was time to do something and followed in Oberlin’s all too recent footsteps by cancelling classes and offering “alternative programming” that teaches respect.  Unlike the backlash faced by Oberlin’s day of class cancellation, the media response to Dartmouth has been neutral to positive.


click to enlarge

Some of you may wonder why I have yet to mention Dean Saxton who became famous this week for carrying a sign around University of Arizona saying “You Deserve Rape” at a Take Back the Night protest.  I didn’t bring him up until now, because fuck that guy.  Also, this fun little snippet of 4-chan (shown left) was brought to my attention.  I figured I’d include it here, because fuck those guys, too.

On a more positive note, since colleges seem more interested in keeping their donations high and their rape reporting low, survivors have taken matters into their own hands.  Know Your IX is an activist collective created by rape survivors and victim advocates from many of the aforementioned colleges.  Their goal is to educate young women on Title IX before they start college so they are less likely to be steamrolled by the administration in case of an assault.  They are currently accepting donations to get the project off the ground.

It’s time for America to wake up.  Victims are not responsible for their rapes.  How good of an athlete some is has nothing to do with whether or not they are a rapist.  Back when sexual assault was rarely reported, we shunned those convicted of it and it destroyed their careers (see: Ike Turner and Marv Albert).  Now, Chris Brown is still at the top of the charts, Kobe is still playing basketball, and America still mourns the jail time of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond.  We have a very long way to go.

7 thoughts on “Rape Culture, Again

  1. I agree, rape is horrible.

    But as a counter argument, people can’t do anything about it until you name them or report it.

    Furthermore, girls who have been raped should look back on the event and review how it could have gone differently.
    After being assaulted a few times I decided to join a self-defense gym. It did wonders in helping me recover from the events, not to mention the confidence boost this gave me.

    Victims should not be held responsible for being the target of a rape. But they should have responsibility for how they deal with that rape/attempted rape.

    • It’s horrible that you went through that, and I’m glad you feel more confident and empowered now. I agree that nothing can be done until we feel strong enough to report things. Unfortunately, the legal system is still biased in the assailants favor, so getting closure legally can be difficult. Also, I think that everyone handles their assault differently and there is no right way to handle the aftermath of an assault. Rape Trauma Syndrome is basically PTSD. Whatever a victim/survivor feels they need to do to move on is probably what’s best for them in that moment. We may not agree with an individual’s choices, but considering how dramatically their choice has been taken away during the assault, the best thing for them is to have that power of choice back in their own hands.

      • Just read that, to clarify by assaulted I meant:
        -Felt up by an old arab man when I was about 14, luckily he was frail enough for me to just walk off. Turn out police ars over here say “The full monty” on the siren button lol
        -Been threatened with a knife
        -Got into several bar fights
        -Started on by a few street gangs
        -Chased by gangs of children twice, first time I had a brick thrown at me, second time was only rocks.

        Nothing as serious as rape really, being a 6ft, heavy broad-shouldered bloke does wonders in these situations 😛

        It’s just my own viewpoint that you should report these things, I get so annoyed when you see victims of these crimes say “More should have been done at the time” when they come out years later. It’s not nice that they were raped, nor is it ok. But THEY could have done something.
        For an example, look at the recent saville case. More should have been done, but it does not excuse the fact you did nothing.

        Personally I don’t believe that the legal system favours the assailant, it’s just harder to prove someones guilt than it is their innocence. You need circumstantial evidence or significant eye-witness testimony (from bystanders that were not involved usually) to convict someone.
        Plus, most police resources are directed to more serious cases, usually involving death in some way.

        Victims are not responsible for their rape, but women are responsible for attempting to prevent it just as much as society is.

        It might seem a weak argument, but that’s all I have to say

        (PS: You probably don’t approve, but the 4chan image you linked gave me a nice chuckle)

  2. Hey Fridgeworks! Why don’t you take your broad-shouldered-six-foot-tall self along with your weak ass arguments and head on over to another forum where actual rape victims, like myself, don’t have to read your drivel. The sheer audacity of you to suggest that women need to be preventing their rapes a little bit better because you’ve defended yourself in a bunch of street fights blows the everloving F*CK out of my mind. Also, you completely undermine one of your main arguments (women are responsible for taking action following a rape or attempted rape) by then adding a puzzling contradiction (it doesn’t really matter anyway because law enforcement doesn’t take rape seriously.) Thanks for that.

    Oh, and Fridgeworks? I did go back and “review my rape.” Here’s how it could have gone differently: he could have STOPPED when I said NO.

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