Monday, February 22, 2010

Curbing Rape

I don’t know about you, but I am appalled by the statistic that 1 in 6 American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape. I am horrified to realize that my classmates, my friends, my family members, and my neighbors continually are subjected to this form of violence. Through my participation in the Vagina Monologues, I have also come to understand how affected this community is from this form of violence. So much silence surrounds this issue; women are ashamed to talk about their experiences and other people often feel uncomfortable hearing about those experiences. Well, why can’t we talk about it?

A person who was recently raped told me that her counselor asked her, “What were you wearing the day that you were raped?” This question appalled me and the fact that someone who was supposed to help her sort through her experiences asked her this question appalled me even more. How dare a counselor suggest that she somehow caused her rape by her choice of clothing? On the one hand, the argument presented in Mackinnon’s work about rape mirrors the sentiments of the question asked by the counselor. The fact that some feminists believe that making sex more acceptable for women will curb rape suggests that women resisting sex is the problem! Incest, for example, is also a huge problem in our society. The fact that women are raped by their own family members could not be curbed by making sex more acceptable to women. Would these feminists suggest that women should not refuse sex in this case? The very suggestion is outrageous to me. I wholeheartedly believe that this is not the correct way to view an extermination of rape and work toward creating a solution.

Making sure that 1 in 6 American women are not the victim of sexual violence next year would mean that we would honestly have to analyze our society’s view of sex. Why is there so much silence around sex? Why are students not educated about sex? We like to believe that every child can go home with their parents and have honest discussions about sex. We like to believe that every person has someone that they can talk to when they are assaulted. We like to believe that everyone has the resources to leave an abusive situation and that no one has to be subjected to violence if they do not want to. This is clearly not the case. I have met numerous people who don’t feel like they have someone they can talk to or have resources. I feel like one of the first steps would be creating a dialogue about healthy sexuality. People should be educated about what it means to be an autonomous sexual being. This would have to start in schools. Students must be educated about their bodies and the boundaries of other people’s bodies to make sure that such acts of violence are not perpetuated in the future.


  1. Ciara,

    I definitly agree with your point that the first step in the awareness of this issue is the recontruction of sex education in our schools. Until we learn how to freely and openly communicate about sex and sexual harassment, the issue will remain secretive and shameful. Education about issue surrounding sex and sexuality would greatly improve people's acceptance of the reality of sexual violence. I believe that when people can understand the benefits of sex education in our schools, we will have made progress towards a future where girls won't have to worry if the length of their skirt is going to warrent unwanted attention. I think the monologue "My Short Skirt" from the Vagina Monologues embodies the acceptance of sexuality that we should educate our future generations about.

  2. If interested this is an event I believe is relevant to the post.

    Mike Domitriz will be speaking on campus on March 1 at 6:00 in Blount Auditorium. He will be speaking to students about healthy dating and communication in an effort to improve student's understanding of relationships and decrease the prevalance of sexual assault on campuses such as Rhodes.

    I think that the programs and speakers offered by Rhodes concerning sexual safety and responsibility for students is essential in maintaining a healthy and safe environment.


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