Mariana Castaneda

Professor Ramos

English 1B-04564

8 April 2019

Women Can Do What They Want

About 25% of women in college report to being forced to have intercourse during their time in college. There is a problem in the number of women that are raped by college men and the victims not getting the justice they deserve. More than 90% of sexual assaults on college campuses are not reported, so what does this say about us as a society? It says that we would rather have people deal with their problems on their own, no matter how burdensome they are, for the sake of not inconveniencing others. However, the problem does not lie in the victims not reporting, but in the colleges’ inability and reluctance to take action against the male college students; our society is at fault just as much, if not more, as they are perpetuating blame onto the victims and making it harder for victims to heal from their trauma. It makes the victims feel silenced and intimidated even more than they already do.

Image 1. (psu.edu)

In order to remove the stigma from victims coming forward is to start with not telling the victim’s what they should have done or what they could have done after they have experienced some form of sexual assault. According to Nancy Worthington, every time there is an incident of a campus rape or any other form oh great, there  are many news outlets and PSA’s speaking out and specifically targeting women informing them of where they should not go, what they should not do, what they should not wear, and essentially telling them what behaviors are and are not appropriate. Ann Burnett informs us that someone is raped every two minutes, and one is four times as likely to be raped if they are a female college student. Yet, there isn’t much focus put on men, even though they make up the majority of the attackers, and how they should act or what they shouldn’t do. This is almost a light form of victim shaming because we put the focus on the victim essentially saying next time don’t [whichever behavior they use] and maybe that wouldn’t happen to you.

The most common factor in many college rape cases is the presence of alcohol and the involvement of Greek life. One theory suggests that the correlation between alcohol abuse and Greek life is one of the triggers for what is commonly referred to as date rape. Dr. Wiersma-Mosley’s article shows that fraternity men and athletes are more inclined to express behaviors of sexual assault, and one out of every three campus rapes take place in a fraternity house. She hypothesizes that the reason for this is because the culture of the Greek system emphasizes male dominance and college parties. When these two are combined they have been shown to cause danger not only towards women but to other students as well. This ultimately lies at the college’s fault for granting Greek organizations special leniency when it comes to their parties and when they violate school policies. However, athletes and fraternity men bring money to the colleges and it would be safer for them to take their side and virtually let them do what they want. Because, at the end of the day, college is a money hungry business.    

Image 2. (feminist.org)

Furthermore, men should be educated in rape prevention because they are more likely to commit an act of sexual assault. All-male rape prevention classes have been shown to decrease the likelihood of a man willing to commit rape. It seems like most if not all rape prevention classes are mainly targeted towards women, and implying that rape can be avoided if the victim was more educated. Though one of the prevalent factors in why men rape is there acceptance of rape myths. Examples of these myths are; prostitutes cannot be raped, if she doesn’t say no immediately it wasn’t rape, and she didn’t fight back. Cassel suggests that once we start attempting to educate men on rape myths and prove them as untrue, then their attitudes towards rape changes and so does their desire to improve their behavior and that of their friends.

Image 3. (impoweryou.org)

College campuses can afford all-male rape prevention classes, and they could either be organized by the campus or free by any clubs. School associations would be more than happy to host seminars that are targeted towards men that are especially ignorant on the subject. Faculty inform women that they should be aware of their surroundings because “anyone can take advantage of you”, but Ann Burnett proves that rape between known persons is the most common. Which tells us that it’s almost never a stranger attacking but the person you least expect it to be. These rape prevention classes don’t have to be as dull and unappealing as “don’t sexually assault women, it’s bad”, Alexandra Cassel suggests that men need to feel a sense of responsibility in order for them to start to make a change. Thus, these classes should be given by peer mentors that college men can take after and be held accountable by, so that they may see someone they can relate to also being responsible for what they can do to motivate change.

Thus, the prevailing problem of women being raped at college campuses is a reflection of how we as a society place blame on victims of sexual assault and essentially ignore the attacker. We must focus on what we can do decrease the growing problem of sexual abuse on college campuses and the external factors that colleges can change. Colleges need to be more proactive in providing education about rape myths and rape prevention for men. Those that have a higher likelihood of engaging in sexual assault, such as fraternity men and male athletes, need to be educated in rape prevention and rape myths; that they may, at least, think logically if they ever encounter a vulnerable female student. The media has to stop informing women on what they should and shouldn’t do, and instead shift the blame to those that still believe “if she didn’t fight back it’s not rape”.   

Annotated Bibliography

Wiersma-Mosley, Jacquelyn D., et al. “An Empirical Investigation of Campus Demographics and Reported Rapes.” Journal of American College Health, vol. 65, no. 7, Oct. 2017, pp. 482–491. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/07448481.2017.1343829. This article examines different colleges and compares certain factors and whether or not it has on effect in the chances of a woman getting raped. It compares qualities such as public vs. private colleges, cost of tuition, and Greek life. This was written by The Journal of American college Health so it is a reliable source. I will use this to show the correlation between campus rape and Greek life.

Burnett, Ann, et al. “Communicating/Muting Date Rape: A Co-Cultural Theoretical Analysis of Communication Factors Related to Rape Culture on a College Campus.” Journal of Applied Communication Research, vol. 37, no. 4, Nov. 2009, pp. 465–485. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/00909880903233150. This article depicts that the way we perceive rape is one of the factors as to why campus rape is so prevalent in college campuses such as; rape myths that are still seen as true by some people, the use of alcohol before sex in Greek life, and the silencing of rape victims. I will use this to support my claim that victims are still being blamed and intimidated into silence. This was written by Dr. Ann Burnett who is the professor director of Women and Gender Studies Program at NDSU and she is a reliable source.

Worthington, Nancy. “Negotiating News Representations of Sexual Assault: Structure and Agency in Reporting on Rape.” Conference Papers — International Communication Association, May2005,pp.1–25.EBSCOhost,chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ufh&AN=18655515&site=ehost-live. These conference papers illustrate how the representation of rape in the media focuses on the victim and what they should have done differently. The author mentions cases in which the assault was not reported, and when the attacker knew the victim. I will use this to support my claim that colleges purposefully do not report cases of rape. Nancy Worthington is a professor of Media Studies and Chair of Media Studies at Quinnipiac and she is a reliable source.

Cassel, Alexandra. “Are You the Problem, or the Solution? Changing Male Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Sexual Assault.” Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, vol. 17, no. 2, Summer 2012, pp. 50–58. EBSCOhost, doi:10.24839/2164-8204.JN17.2.50. This article explains how rape prevention should be directed towards men because they are more likely to be the abusers. The author includes a study where they determined that men would be more inclined to support change when they feel a sense of personal responsibility This article will offer support for my suggested solution of educating men about the statistics of rape and denying rape myths as truths. The article is from the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research and is a reliable source.

Cassel, Alexandra. “Are You the Problem, or the Solution? Changing Male Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Sexual Assault.” Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, vol. 17, no. 2, Summer 2012, pp. 50–58. EBSCOhost, doi:10.24839/2164-8204.JN17.2.50. This article illustrates how all-male prevention classes have positive long lasting results on men. The author uses studies that have made rape prevention classes for men and result in lower likelihood of rape, and lower rape myth acceptance. I will use this as a basis for my suggested solution for campus rape prevention.

Rich, Marc D., et al. “‘I’d Rather Be Doing Something Else:’ Male Resistance to Rape Prevention Programs.” Journal of Men’s Studies, vol. 18, no. 3, Fall 2010, pp. 268–290. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3149/jms.1803.268. This article informs the reader about how men’s attitudes towards rape needs to be changed and that it is the duty of the college to do so. The author points out how many colleges fail to properly decrease the number of sexual assault incidents. I will use this for my claim that what colleges are doing now is not enough. The article is from the Journal of Men’s Studies and is written by Dr. Marc Rich, a Communications professor at CSULB, and he is a reliable source.

Image Citations

Kvc. “Rape Culture and Rape on Campus.” Girl Power The Movement, 12 Apr. 2017, sites.psu.edu/corcorancivicissues/2017/04/12/rape-culture-and-rape-on-campus/.

Carroll, Kelsey. “Fraternity Signs Promote Rape Culture, Elicit Outrage.” Feminist Newswire, 25 Aug. 2015, 11, feminist.org/blog/index.php/2015/08/25/fraternity-signs-promote-rape-culture-elicit-outrage/.

impoweryou. “Tag: Rape Culture in the Usa.” Individual Empowerment, 10 Dec. 2014, impoweryou.org/tag/rape-culture-in-the-usa/.