As we examined in Part 1 of this series, the United States has been prey to a vicious ‘rape culture’ that defends assaulters, while heavily questioning victims if they are perceived to be somehow impure. While this problem has been seen in entertainment media, it is present in college campus life as well.
Last year saw an unspeakable amount of college campus sexual assault cases. These horrifying public cases have demonstrated a few key points in how our culture views sexual assault crimes, and rape.
This idea of victim-blaming, or, focusing on how assault is the victim’s fault, has been so widespread that politicians have echoed the idea that girls should avoid drinking alcohol if they want to avoid being assaulted. This idea reinforces a strong, damaging message for young women: that if you engage in ‘bad’ behavior, like drinking, then assault is almost natural to occur.
With this negative attitude towards victims of sexual assault, it’s no wonder that so many victims choose not to report their assault. According to rainn.org, only 20% of female student assault victims will report the crime to law enforcement.
2016 brought a blinding spotlight onto the issue of assault victims not just being blamed, but judged, for their personal behaviors. It also demonstrated that on college campuses, victims will rarely be supported by their universities.
One hopes that in the future, college campuses, and entertainment media, will come to understand that victims are not responsible for being violated, whether drunk or sober. One hopes that moving forward, we can realize that there is no ‘perfect victim’.