Violence, A man is expected to have a

rape, on college campuses as become prevalent in the last few decades or so. It
is used as a method of controlling women, who while inhabiting a predominantly
male sphere, reject patriarchal gender roles and expectations by existing in
the public sphere. Rather than assume that rape is just part of being a woman,
the Take Back the Night movement can be seen as a feminist practice as it provides
women a method of rejecting not only rape culture in public, but, also the
patriarchal structures within which it exists and allows women to exert their
own agency. Women are forcing college officials to recognize campus rape by
vocalizing issues of rape on campus and taking part in public demonstrations,
such as Take Back the Night, and by publicizing rape cases on campuses across
the country and demanding justice for rape victims.

discuss campus rape, it is important to first provide a definition for rape and
rape culture, in addition to, describing the ways in which it functions on
college campuses. Women Against Violence Against Women, WAVAW, defines rape
culture as a, “complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression
and supports violence against women… women perceive a continuum of
threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to
rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism
against women as the norm… both men and women assume that sexual
violence is a fact of life, inevitable”. WAVAW
provides a working definition of rape culture which is necessary in order to be
able to properly discuss campus rape. It assists in defining and highlighting
specifically which topics of rape will be discussed. Rape culture rises from a
form of toxic masculinity which exists in the patriarchy. It is, “the mechanism that channels toxic
masculinity into specific, socially legitimized practices of sexual violence” (Posadas
178). In the patriarchy, men are able to establish their masculinity by demonstrating
or committing acts of violence against women. This is because masculinity is
defined in terms of violence and sexual aggression, which normalizes violence
against women and their fear of rape or other forms of sexual assault. A man is
expected to have a large sexual appetite as part of their masculine identity.

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rape functions differently than other forms of rape which occur outside of the
college atmosphere. On college campuses students become free to engage in
alcohol use as there is little regulation. Many colleges don’t pay much
attention to it, however, it has been proven that on college campuses “alcohol use is a serious problem, and
it is clearly implicated in the forms of sexual aggression” (Ward 71). In continuing
with alcohol in relation to campus rape, a “DOJ
study found that a whopping 75 percent of college rapes occurred when the victims or the
assailants had been drinking” (Burleigh). Being drunk or unable to utter the
word no does not mean yes. It is important to understand that the absence of a “no”
does not equal the consent of a “yes” as is thought by many people in a rape
culture. It is also important to discuss
the varying kinds rape that occur on campus and labels them as date rape, party
rape, stranger rape, and acquaintance rape (Ward 66). These kinds of rape vary
due to circumstances and relationships that exist between both parties involved
a rape. In the patriarchy, women
are expected to submit to patriarchal gender roles as the child bearers and are
meant only to exist in private spaces. Women’s appearance in public spaces
demonstrates a form of deviance which in turn demonstrates to men that it is
acceptable to rape women in public spaces, where public rape is a way through
which men can exert their masculinity and establish dominance over women.

masculinity, and the patriarchy, there is deep seeded hatred for women.
Patriarchy demonstrates that in order for men to establish their masculinity
they need to demonstrate violence against women, rape. The patriarchy tells men
that it is their right to sleep with women, therefore women should not have a
choice as to whether they want to sleep with men or not; they have no agency
over their bodies as men are the once who have complete control over them. Therefore,
women, who for simply existing on college campuses, invade public spheres and traditionally
male dominated spaces, are seen as targets in a rape culture. Since colleges were
traditionally meant to be male only spaces, the appearance of women on them
demonstrates and evokes a sense of emasculation in men who are told, as part of
the patriarchy and ideas of masculinity, that women need to be put back in
their place as members of the private sphere only. Additionally, as part of
being masculine is about being sexually experienced, the rape of women is seen
as a part of this. After raping a woman, a man can then go brag to his friends
about his latest conquest, sexual encounter. For men, the more “bodies” you
have the better. The term “body” in this context refers to the women you have
slept with. This terminology further subdues women and objectifies them as it
establishes them as something which one can count and pile up as if they weren’t
actual people. The women, the people behind these bodies are completely forgotten
about and ignored.

While there has been growing
numbers of women telling their stories and actively speaking out about rape,
college officials still remain unsure of what to do in response to an
accusation of rape. Most often, little to no action is taken against rapists by
college officials and the rapists are allowed to go free while those we were
raped often leave their universities and never see any justice. Rape culture on campus is demonstrated
by the disregard by and response of college officials and professors to the
ongoing college campus rape crisis. College officials often ignore women’s
confessions of rape or other forms of sexual assault and tell them to simply
“forget about it”.

and government response to rape have previously allowed many rapists to go free
by serving the minimum sentence or even less than the minimum. Cases regarding
any kind of misconduct on college campuses are referred to the school board
which then decides the course of action which is to be taken. In the case of
rape, it is well known that “school disciplinary boards have rarely done a very
good job of handling these cases” (Goldberg 13). Campus officials are not
properly equipped with how to handle these cases. Victims of sexual assault are
therefore further victimized by college officials as they are repeatedly
questioned about the assault and their statements are doubted.

 In reflecting on her experience with the
school board regarding her rape, student Audrey Logan stated that, “‘The
adjudication board itself was one of the worst things I had to experience outside
of the actual assault, and in some ways, it was worse'” (Goldberg 13). Similarly,
on an NPR show, Talk of the Nation, student Angie stated that her four
assailants didn’t really have to suffer any consequences. She said, “Two of
them, they had them go on probation, but they allowed them to do it over the
summer…The other two were close to graduating. They were seniors…and so they
were allowed to go ahead and graduate”. It is the general feeling of rape
victims that School boards are much more “invested in protecting the school’s
reputation than in seeking justice” (Goldberg 13).  Colleges would much rather remain quiet in
response to rape accusations, basically keeping themselves safe at a cost to
the student who has been raped. It has been widely documented how rapists have received
minimal, if any, sentencing in school- run proceedings. The process of
school-run proceedings has been shown to take a toll of victims of sexual
assault who often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and are
marginalized by school officials debating their cases. They’re made to feel as
if they are liars or as if their rape doesn’t matter. The entire process of
having the school board decide a punishment for rapists looks to be secretive
and confusing from the eyes of the victim. It doesn’t assist students in
dealing with their mental and emotional health after the rape, especially since
they are not able to talk about it on their own terms and as a result have to
hold back their emotions.


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