Covering Up Campus Rape
Covering Up Campus Rape
Rape Culture on college campuses has become a serious issue in the United States. It
didn’t use to be like this, but the beginning chapters of frats and sororities created a whole new
era of alleged sexual assault cases and mass underreporting from universities. Rape culture is the
culture in which rape is normalized, and trivialized through fundamental beliefs about gender,
sexuality, and violence. Rape culture is represented through the way our society ignores and
jokes about the prevalent sexual violence. It could be argued that the United States is the
paradigm for rape culture, the traditional gender roles we display polarizing the sexes and
causing the philosophy that men are sexual predators and women become the prey. None of this
sounds right, young women should be able to attend a higher institution to further their education
and not worry about trivial things, such as a young men that cannot control their urges. Rape
culture has increasingly become widespread across campuses in America. “According to a
survey commissioned by the Association of American Universities, one in four women
experience sexual assault on United States College Campuses.” (Politics & Government
Business 34). The main contributing factors to this frightening statistic: fraternities, sororities,
alcohol and drug usage. The way that college frat and sorority chapters are depicted in movies
and glamorized in songs shows students, illegally and legally getting blackout drunk and binge
drinking to obtain a popularity status. However, these movies often don’t show the danger that
can occur on a regular basis.
When young adults leave their familiar surroundings and security of their hometowns to
travel to distant cities for college, they have a certain ideology of the college experience. The
parties, drinking, and excessive or unknowing drug usage. College is meant to pursue further
knowledge and acquire a higher degree for a future career. They also offer a lot of different
opportunities other than academic stimulation. Balancing extracurricular activities and clubs
display socially and intellectually maturity (Gonzalez, Schofield, and Schmitt 2). Personally, I
cannot fathom where young men lack the mental capacity to perform such a sick and potentially
mentally scarring act. In an interview with a future college student, Kylie Glaus displays
confusion and little knowledge about campus security and rape culture where she will be
attending school in the fall at Oregon State University. I asked Glaus if she knew how safe the
campus was, “ I haven’t really looked into it, but I’ve never heard anything about sexual assault
cases being reported, I assume it is probably sufficient.” Then I explained to her the personal
safety training classes that the school offers, and asked if she would be interested in attending the
class, “Probably not, my parents have alway taught me to never really be out late and by myself,
I feel like the class would just be things you should’ve been taught.” This is also a contributing
factor, women thinking that it could never happen to them, therefore not being educated and
ignoring precautionary measures.
Acquaintance rape is one of the most notoriously prevalent forms of rape on college
campuses. “A survey from the United States Bureau of Justice reported that in threequarters of
all rapes and sexual assaults against women, the perpetrator is known to the victim” (Romeo 62).
This is possibly one of the most confusing forms of rape, reason being the blurred lines of
consent because of the nature of the relationship. They could possibly be a classmate, a
laboratory partner, or an ex. Regardless, there may be a false sense of existing trust between the
victim and the perpetrator. Acquaintance rapists possess certain behaviors that can identify their
true motives, this is in order to heighten vulnerability of victim and gain some type of trust. This
could be promises of engagement or simply slipping something in a drink. Using a form of
alcohol or drug to incapacitate the victim would simply render the victims capability to resist his
sexual assault. Acquaintance rapists also have an easier time manipulating the victim into a
situation where they would be alone together. Certain types of drugs can be used in these
situations and it is important to recognize that these drugs are usually colorless, odorless, and
tasteless making it extremely easy to slip into a drink, or disguise. Obviously unconscious and
immobilized victims are unable to resist anything or for most cases, remember anything. The
amnesia effect is caused by most “date rape” drugs. It is usually chosen for its sedative effects
and its immediate effects. Victims cannot remember ingesting the drug or anything until they
wake up hours later. “Therefore, the victim is unable to provide valuable information to the
police in an investigation and subsequently, a successful prosecution of the rapist. In addition,
these drugs are quickly eliminated from the body, and often not detectable in the victim’s
bloodstream, which further hinders any police investigation and prosecution” (Albinum).
The way that rape culture makes it sound is that if a woman fails to take any
precautionary measures to protect herself and gets raped, that it was her fault. People aren’t
taught not to rape, they are taught not be raped. As women we feel as though it is unfair that we
have to take these necessary precautionary measures to ensure our safety and men for the most
part do not. However, we must regardless of how unfair it is, it is sad to say that for a massive
change to be made, millions of young women must take a stand, and that might not even be
enough. “Rape culture does not have to be an inevitable product of our times. Men need to be
taught at a young age that the lines of consent aren’t blurred and that raping someone has
consequences” (Albinum). It shouldn’t matter what a girl is wearing or how she is acting.
You’ve seen shared articles on social media and brief coverage on the local news but rape
culture on college campuses needs to be brought into the spotlight. This could happen to anyone,
it all may sound like just statistics and numbers but these are daughters, sisters, friends. These
numbers represent lives that have been mentally and physically altered forever because of this
prevalent sexual assault issue. Things like sexaul assault don’t seem real until it happens to
someone you know personally or maybe a girl you sit next to in class. There are small things that
we can do that would make a small decrease in the statistics, but any decrease of sexual assault
cases is a positive one. Constantly be aware of your surroundings, whether you’re at a social
event or walking home from an afternoon class. You should also always be able to interpret a
situation and feel responsible to act as part of a solution. Educating yourself on identifying a non
consensual situation looks and sounds like, and always know who to call for help. Encouraging a
victim to report is crucial, if someone has unfortunately been raped it is imperative to take them
to a hospital for a rape kit immediately, or as soon as possible after the incident to ensure that
there is irrefutable evidence and to test for any diseases.
As more and more rumors and victims come forth with the news of their cases being
swept under the rug, colleges are rushing to find more excuses for their underreporting statistic.
Obviously college campuses have defective procedures for handling campus rape. “Rape
complaints should be heard by independent, trained professionals instead of school
administrators (Gillibrand). The school administration will likely require hard evidential support
and even then not act immediately. As a prime example of colleges covering up or ignoring cases
is a Columbia University student, Emma Sulkowicz. This young woman brought forth her case
in 2012 of a fellow classmate sexually assaulting her in her own dorm. The case was then handed
to university authorities who held a court hearing, that hearing wasn’t until seven months after
she reported it. For seven months Sulkowicz was forced to live on campus with her rapist,
showing up places he knew she would be and harassing her. The case was dismissed and the
court decided the young man was not guilty. Sulkowicz appealed the court’s decision, thus
sending it forward to the dean who held complete autonomy to make the final decisions on
sexual assault cases (Alter). To protest her school’s administrative refusal to expel her rapist,
Sulkowicz carried a twin size mattress everywhere around campus. Columbia University, like
most wellattended colleges, is more concerned about their public image than keeping people
Many young women who have been raped remain silent, possibly because they fear
retaliation from the offender, scrutiny from police or administrators, or they talk themselves into
believing it was their own fault. This raises the question: why is campus rape, or any rape,
always met with such disbelief? To prevent violation of a victim’s dignity and privacy in a
sexual assault case, the Rape Shield Law was enacted in the 1970’s. This law limits the scale as
to how much a defendant can introduce evidence entailing the victim’s sexual history. Since the
beginning of the women’s equal opportunity, Constitutional equality provisions have been
strongly encouraged. More so in the area of the legal definition of rape, the penalties men should
face, and the most important, evidentiary requirements that be provided by the defendant:
Strong shield provisions help protect the privacy and dignity of victims, may
consequently encourage victims to report rapes, and may reduce the ability of offenders
to intimidate victims into silence or to escape conviction by eroding the credibility of
genuine victims. (Call, Nice, and Talarico 776)
I believe that campus rape can also be met with such disbelief because of the
preconceived notion that many women lie about being sexaully assautled. It seems like for every
single true allegation there are at least five false ones. It only takes one honest false allegation to
raise doubts about honest accusations.
The honest truth is that a good majority of college men are not sex offenders, but too
many stand by when they know of, or see a rape happening, This puts them at just as much fault
as the rapist. Even sicker men will record it and post it to social media. The “Bystander Effect,”
is a psychological term that describes the public’s unwillingness to intervene and help people in
distress. Many bystander’s claim that they didn’t know when or if the crime was happening
(CulpRessler). College students should be notified of the schools specific codes of conduct
sexaul assault. This would inform students of the definition of consent, when the lines of consent
have been crossed, and when they’re witnessing someone else crossing the lines. The code of
conduct should also entail a clear and safe procedure in case a student has been sexually
Rape culture is majorly prevalent in today’s culture, but even more so on college
campuses. Young women and men should be able to coexist with one another peacefully while
furthering their education and maturity. Since this is unlikely, women should take the necessary
precautionary measures and take action against male predators if necessary. Young men should
be taught from a young age that rape is not okay by any means and highly punishable by the law.
They should also be constantly reminded of the clear lines of consent. College administrators
should make more of an effort when it comes to rape allegations. No means no, and if someone
is even the slightest bit intoxicated, it still is considered nonconsensual.
Abinum, Daniella Abinum. “Viewpoint: Rape Culture Shifts the Blame onto Women and off
Rapists.” USA TODAY College. USA Today, 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 23 May 2016.
Alter, Charlotte. “Student Who Carried Mattress in Rape Protest Unveils New Project.” TIME.
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How We Can Change That.” ThinkProgress. Center For American Progress Action Fund,
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Assault?.” Time 183.20 (2014): 28. MAS Ultra School Edition. Web. 6 May 2016.
Glaus, Kylie R. “Opinion on Rape Culture.” Personal interview. 23 May 2016.
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Instructor: Dr. Berry
Outline: Covering Up Campus Rape
THESIS: Rape culture on college campuses should result in punishments for the
perpetrators and campuses shouldn’t be able to cover up the sexual assault accusations.
I. The definition of Rape Culture
A. Its prevalence in today’s society
B. The large role that it plays on college campuses
1. Main contributing factors
2. Frats and sororities
II. Brief reinstatement of rape culture
A. Personal beliefs on the subject
B. The viewpoint from a young women going to a university (kylie)
1. Interview questions
2. Acquaintance rape
III. Precautionary measures that can be taken
1.Alcohol & Drugs
2. Buddy System
IV. Why women should take them even if they don’t want to .
A. “Boys are never taught not to rape…”
B. 1 in 4 college age women will be the victims…” Gonzales, Alberto R., Regina B.
Schofield , and Glenn R. Schmitt
V. Why Should we care?
A. How does this impact personal lives?
B.Emma Sulkowicz Columbia University
VI. The college and university reactions
A. Allegations that are swept under the rug because of not enough evidence
B. Rape Shield Law Encyclopedia Britannica
C. Jackie “rape on campus” story
VII. Bystander effect
A. Basic description of the term
B. How it applies to campus rape