Cultivating action against rape culture on campus

Originally Posted on The Triangle via UWIRE

Photograph by Kaylee Scheidegg for The Triangle

The institution that preaches acceptance, diversity, inclusion and equality has failed us once again. The most disturbing Drexel University Alert, in my opinion, was released via text and email on Wednesday Oct. 9 at 1:33 p.m. A female, one of our own, a family member, a friend, a daughter, a human being reported a rape. As a woman, a student and a concerned citizen, this is simply unacceptable.

Rape culture is a pressing issue on college campuses nationwide and now has become evident within Drexel’s administration. According to the State Press, “Rape culture is a culture in which rape is rampant, yet it is excused by the people and media within that culture. It is exemplified in the blatant objectification and sexualization of the female body, lack of regard for a victim’s human rights, the romanticism of rape in the media and dehumanization of victims of sexual assault.”

The way in which the alert and email released by Drexel described the circumstances was almost as bad as the lack of concern the administration has shown thus far. The text was vague and not very useful to other students on campus whose well-being was endangered. A public statement, call to action or sympathy-driven response is needed.

I no longer feel safe walking around campus, and I’m sure other women feel the same. A rape was committed in broad daylight, within blocks of a police station, and the suspect is still at large. There is a major problem with all of those factors. This rapist is not accountable for his actions right now. A young woman is surviving a traumatic, life-altering emotional and physical injury, and a text alert is supposed to make me believe the situation is being handled accordingly?

Drexel needs to do a better job. Improved rape prevention effort is necessary, and higher police presence should be considered because, clearly, what we have right now is not enough.

There is a Rape Aggression Defense organization on campus that offers self-defense classes, but with little to no advertising. There is a basic physical defense class, an advanced self defense class and keychain defense options available, but I have never seen them advertised. The issue of individuals being raped on campus appears to be taken lightly.

It is the duty of this school, and all members including students, staff, and faculty to uplift and support one another. By allowing horrific crimes to be committed and brushing them off, we are allowing injustice to flourish. There were numerous sexual assaults reported last year, yet no news was followed about the repercussions or outcomes of such crimes.

Rape is one of the most heinous crimes; the life and dignity of a victim will never be the same after the assault. College culture has a history of underplaying the severity of rape and sexual assault, brushing incidents off or ignoring them altogether. This cannot keep occurring.

“The Department of Public Safety is encouraging members of the community to be on heightened awareness of their surroundings. Walk in groups and in well-lit areas. Make sure vehicles and residences are locked and secured,” Eileen Behr, Vice President of the university’s Department of Public Safety, said in a statement to the Inquirer.

I refuse to believe that walking in groups or in well-lit areas will prevent this. Rape and sexual assault are not openly discussed the way they ought to be. Victims are suffering in silence while the university sits back and allows it. Though no one else seems to care, I promise some of us do. We will not let rape culture influence this campus any longer.

Read more here: https://www.thetriangle.org/opinion/cultivating-action-against-rape-culture-on-campus/
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