Claire Martinez
English 1B
Rape & Rape Culture on college campuses


In modern day America rape is all too often a topic of conversation on the news and within the home. From a young college girls’ perspective one thing that was quite evident after I graduated high school was that young men and women become more interested in dating and going out together. With that there comes more social interaction, partying, and an opportunity for promiscuity to come about. In this essay I would like to address the issue rape on college campuses and the culture that is also tied with it and how this problem could be handled better by college level administration and security and also by councilors who are there to help guide students down the right path.
Let me start by introducing the three main principles or stigmas for rape culture. First off there is “individual determinants” which is “primarily a consequence of perpetrator or victim characteristics such as gender role attitudes, personality, family background, or sexual history. Flezzani and Benshoff 2003; Forbes and Adams-Curtis 2001” a real life example of this would be to verbally pressure someone or persuade them to obtain sex or whatever maybe desired.
The second principal is actually called “rape culture”. In this perspective, “sexual assault is seen as a consequence of widespread belief in “rape myths,” or ideas about the nature of men, women, sexuality, and consent that create an environment conducive to rape. For example, men’s disrespectful treatment of women is normalized by the idea that men are naturally sexually aggressive.” Or for an example a common heard excuse in television shows is “she asked for it”. As we all know this perspective is completely wrong both morally and ethically but is still sadly used very often in a lot of cases were college rape is concerned.
The third perspective does not have a specific name but concentrates more on the fraternities and bars as the problem. This case suggests that sexual assault is supported and enabled with who is in the surrounding area and specific settings when men and women interact with one another. “Men attending parties at high-risk houses treated women less respectfully, engaging in jokes, conversations, and behaviors that degraded women. Men made a display of assessing women’s bodies and rated them with thumbs up or thumbs down for the other men in the sight of the women” (Fraternities and Rape Culture, Boswell). These three perspectives are the most common cases when rape occurs between a man and a woman. There has been countless movies and documentaries advocating this issue but yet there has been minimal movement in the right direction, in fact in a documentaries called “The Hunting Ground” by Kirby Dick there are two girls that have been sexually assaulted on two of California’s most distinguished schools and when they went to the dean of students about the incident that happened they were asked “well what were you wearing” or “did you ask for it” instead of being believed about both of their rapes they were told to be quiet about it so they didn’t tarnish the schools name as well as theirs. Its incidents like this that are the problem for both women and men who are victims of such brutal and unspeakable crimes. For this reason of almost shaming it seems there is an astronomical amount of non-reporting happening on campus. “In a national-level study of college women, Fisher and Cullen (1999) reported that 86.7% of rapes and 85.7% of sexual assaults went unreported to the police. Almost all (97.7%) unwanted sexual contacts were not reported to the police” (Fisher, Reporting sexual victimization, pg.9). I can’t help but think that maybe the lack of support for victims is the reason why they do not report or confront this problem with sexual victimization head on. In an article by Anne Hendershott called Campus Sexual Assault: Real and Imagined, she makes a huge an argument that rape does not happen on college campuses because of the “rape culture” but rather because of the “hookup culture”. She also states that “campus sexual assault has actually declined from 9.2 per 1,000 college students in 1997 to 4.4 per 1,000 in 2013. Far from being a site of violence, the study found that female college students are safer from sexual assault while in college than at any other time in their lives” (Hendershott, Sexual Assault: Real and Imagined). Drugs and alcohol do have roles in these crimes that happen for example the National Council on Family Relations reported that the percentages for male and female alcohol use are very high for all three types of unwanted sexual experiences. The women report male use of alcohol for over 75% of all types of experiences” (Acquaintance & the College social scene). To go into more depth about “hookup culture” it has to do with a person’s moral compass and standards, so who you would hookup with and why. Not only is there a moral compass that should be followed but religion is also put under this category, the reason for that is college campuses who share all one religion or follow the same belief share the same moral convictions and would have a stronger moral influence on not just the students attending that school but the community surrounding.
With the previous evidence I had presented there are huge gaps that could be filled and places in administration that could be helped for the student’s sake. To start there should be a specific office on campus for students who have experienced sexual assault to go to equipped with doctors or medical professionals who can not only help with the medical aspect of the issue but therapists as well as administration specifically trained in how to deal with situations where this could arise. This area should be a judgement free zone and no questions about what he or she was wearing or if they asked for it should come about because that is not the problem at hand. The dean of students should be separate from this division of specialists due to academic and personal boundary. Personal feelings about the school’s reputation should not be included at any given point the student’s health and well being becomes the first priority. When a man or woman claims something such as this has happened to them they should be put on an academic hiatus until it is confirmed or denied that it did in fact happen so they do not fall behind or feel they are at risk of losing all the progress they have made thus far. At no given time would it be acceptable for any type of administration other than the specialists to intervein or ask questions about the sexual assault that way no threats or buyoffs could be offered or exchanged, and if this were to happen and this line were to be crossed on administrations part serious consequences such as suspensions or termination could be a result. To ensure complete knowledge of this at the beginning of the hiring process there will be a contract signed stating that at no given point in their career can admin not specifically trained and assigned to sexual assault cases be involved or talk to students undergoing investigation.
In conclusion college rape is almost considered an epidemic the statistics are alarming and there is definitely room for improvement in the social structure and safety on campus. For there to be a noticeable change throughout campuses worldwide there has to be a lot of individuals willing to come together to be the change they wish to see then and only then will the problem start to dissipate.

Armstrong, Elizabeth A., et al. “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape.” Social Problems, vol. 53, no. 4, 2006, pp. 483–499. JSTOR, JSTOR,

This article was mainly about statistical evidence and the ratios of rape on college campuses. I found out statistical evidence and the ratios of rape on college campuses. I also was informed on all of the different aspects of “rape culture”.
This is a scholarly article because it was found through the Chaffey College library and was written by people with educational backgrounds.

This article offered reasons as to why men and women don’t report their sexual assault. There are multiple reasons as to why they don’t but this mostly came from people with power on college campuses.

This is a scholarly journal with statistical evidence written by scientists and doctors.

Hendershott, Anne. “The Campus Sexual Assault Problem Is Not the Result of ‘Rape Culture’.” Sexual Assault on Campus, edited by Jack Lasky, Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context,
This article brought up some pretty interesting opposing viewpoints on why rape culture isn’t the real reason behind rape on college campus and that it has more to do with modern day culture.
This is a scholarly article from Chaffey College bookstore.
Boswell, A. Ayres, and Joan Z. Spade. “Fraternities and Collegiate Rape Culture: Why Are Some Fraternities More Dangerous Places for Women?” Gender and Society, vol. 10, no. 2, 1996, pp. 133–147. JSTOR, JSTOR,
This article is about designated areas on campus that are more dangerous for women to be at any given time of the day because certain fraternities have initiation and or gang like behaviors. And the certain strategies both men and women use to pick up on eachother or flirt in a social setting like parties.
This is a credible source through the chaffey college library written by credible authors.
Ward, Sally K., et al. “Acquaintance Rape and the College Social Scene.” Family Relations, vol. 40, no. 1, 1991, pp. 65–71. JSTOR, JSTOR,

This explains how a majority of the rape that happens on college campuses are by people who are in your inner circle or closely knit to your inner circle whether by a mutual friend or sports this is often times the most common case of rape that takes place.
Credible article from the Chaffey Bookstore.
Sundance Film Review: ‘The Hunting Ground’
Picture Citation.