Rape culture in America: an ignored truth

Rape culture in America: an ignored truth

Alana Flinn, Sports Editor, JAG reporter

As numerous rape trials have captured people’s attention through the media recently, it has become obvious that America is turning a blind eye to our own rape culture problem.

While millions of Americans demanded justice for the Indian woman who was gang raped and murdered on a New Delhi bus in December, it seems as if when rape occurs closer to home, it is ignored.  In that same month, The New York Times published an article about two high school football players from Steubenville, Ohio, who allegedly raped a sixteen-year-old female classmate.

The focus of the story was less on the destroyed life of this girl, but instead on the “ruined promising football careers of the players.” In January, a California court of appeals ruled that since a woman was raped while sleeping, her rapists could not be convicted due to a law stating she was unmarried, therefore the rape was illegitimate.

The list goes on. While the media is quick to report of the horrors of rape around the world, they are slow in printing the truth about our country. Examples like the Times article show that as Americans we are more focused on the portrayal of high school heroes instead of the girl who was raped.

A report published by the U.S. Department of Defense states that there has been a 64 percent increase in violent sexual assaults since 2006, proving that rapes in our country cannot be ignored any longer. On top of that, only five out of every 100 rapes lead to felony convictions. It is as if the truth of the rapidly growing mistreatment of women is simply overlooked.

We have to stop painting America in such a nonviolent light. Only in 1993 did marital rape finally become illegal. Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock stated during a debate that “[rape] is something God intended to happen.” The countless examples  of the way people make excuses for rape validates the ignorance of Americans towards the way we downplay rape.

For men, consent is key. Just because a girl was flirting with you all night or has had a few drinks doesn’t allow you to take advantage of her. Don’t place blame upon the female for the wrongdoings of males. A woman’s dress being “too short” is not a reason to rape; it’s a sorry form of an excuse for the rapist.

For women, we have to live in caution. It is one of the worst things about being a female, but it must be done. Always have a friend watch the drinks, never be alone at night and be aware of one’s surroundings. It is unfortunate that we must go through life in this way, but until America acknowledges our rape culture problem, it’s going to be like this for awhile.

As a society, we must stop holding victims accountable and forgiving the rapists. We must stop making excuses for why the rape happened, which leaves women alone and isolated from the horrors of what happened to them. For a society so quick to judge the rapes in other countries, we are equally as quick to overlook our own faults.

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