Realities of Rape Culture

College. While students generally see it as an exciting, freeing experience – or a cause of great stress – there are those whose experiences at college were a nightmare. And no, it’s not because of too much studying, student loans, or enough instant ramen to last a lifetime. In actuality, the issue is much more severe.

Every 21 hours there is another rape on an American college campus. 60% of male college students “indicated some likelihood of raping or using force in certain circumstances.” In 2006, 300,000 college women were raped. These statistics are not only horrifying, but they’re revealing of a much more widespread problem in our society.

The fact is, we live in a rape culture. This means that when a woman reports a rape to the police, they ask her what she was wearing. This means that women who choose to wear more revealing clothes are “asking for it”. This means that, apparently, no doesn’t mean no. Sorry, dictionary, but men everywhere would like you to know that no actually means yes.

Why is rape the only crime wherein which the victim is condemned? We certainly don’t blame people for being robbed, or tell them that they were asking for it. Yet for some reason society has decided that it’s a woman’s fault for being raped, and that males are incapable of controlling their sexual urges.

Sure, there are women who rape too (though it’s interesting how the male victims of female rape are almost never considered victims), but rapists are overwhelmingly male. I don’t know what exactly goes through their minds that causes them to think that women are to use and abuse as they please – perhaps its society’s blatant objectification of women, or simply male entitlement. Whatever it is, it’s creating a world in which women must be wary of the males around them. After all, 78% of rapists are an acquaintance, friend, or boyfriend of the victim.

Women and girls shouldn’t have to be afraid of the men in their lives. They shouldn’t be blamed for being raped or sexually harassed. And they certainly should be taken seriously when they say “no”. Because despite what rapists everywhere might think, no doesn’t mean yes: no means no.

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