In-depth: Rape culture, it’s effects span culture, class, and college life

by Zach Letourneau
edited by Bryce Johnson, Aaron Santini, Harrison Berkland

I want you to picture for a fleeting moment what it must be like to grow up thinking that being molested dependably throughout your little life was normal.  One in ten children will be sexually abused or molested by the time they turn 18. Children of the ages 8 and below make up 20 percent of the overall child sexual abuse statistic. College students face no different terms and situations. One in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted while in college.

Rape, statutory and non-statutory, is the most under-reported crime on college campuses. With 63 percent of sexual assaults not being reported to the police. Last year alone there were 10 instances of sexual assault or abuse that occurred here at Franklin Pierce University on campus grounds. These statistics are outlined in the annual Clery Report facilitated by Campus Safety. The instances are further outlined by definitions of fondling and statutory rape. From a personal experience perspective, I serve my community as a police officer. While in school full time. I’m still waiting on my opportunity to comfort someone suffering from a situation similar to my own, as a victim of sexual abuse, but the point is that I’m helping others help myself.

On the other side of this issue, the predators and perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse, however as of late, have started becoming more known to the public. And it’s about time. Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, John Grissom, Brett Ratner etc. The list seems to get longer every day. In fact, the celebrity complex has added a woman to its list this morning, Mariah Carey. It’s not only ironic, but enlightening, that the people whose faces we’ve seen plastered up on screens across the globe happen to be exclusively people in positions of power and control. It’s ironic because power and control is what sexual dominance is all about.

This era of spot-lighting the troubling truth that sexual assault is rampant gives me palpable hope, unequivocal optimism, and physical comfort to see such bastions of societal power being brought to their knees by their impending public relations crisis and subsequent legal woes. It will no doubt go down in history as an awakening of reality. The stories give breadth to victims, and hope to broken spirits.  Sexual assault, no matter who perpetrates it or who is victimized by it, is no joke. It cannot be sidled or belittled. Sexual assault affects every demographic, every culture, and every family. And the side effects of this horrid crime last a lifetime; that’s why it’s so important to call attention to the rape culture perpetrated by those in power and those who control the methods of media in our society.


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