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Moving Forward

April 19, 2013

On the Monmouth College campus, rape has recently become a pressing issue. The biggest debate has been a result of the “Slut Walk.” We have seen the Courier, social media, and lunch tables become the sources of debate about the actions and consequences of those who participated in the event. While the actions of the individuals seem radical, it should not be a subject which overshadows the true goal of the event: the liberation of women in society.

Lately, we’ve wanted to write this article for one reason. Since we have friends on both sides of the argument, we hope to bring some common ground, while we identify some key problems with dominant rape culture.

On one side of this movement, we have a group of individuals at Monmouth College seeking to raise awareness of the horrors associated with rape, other forms of sexual assault, and victim blaming.  They have done this through the controversial “Slut Walk.” We saw men and women in various levels of dress, marching around campus, propagating the notion that no matter what, in any situation, victims never ask for rape. On the other side, we’ve seen people advocate for individual responsibility as a key solution. The response on campus to these opinions has varied greatly from person to person. We believe that both sides should be able to come to a consensus on minimalizing rape in society.

In response to the Letter to the Editor on the “Meat is Murder” article, we have some reservations. It is evident, by the author’s language, that he was not addressing all types of rape, only the kind that occurs (wrongfully) in these perceived “high risk” situations.  We do not believe it was the author’s intent to include rape that happens outside of these mentioned constraints. Secondly, the analogy of the car to a human being has proven to be controversial. We do not believe that a metaphorical comparison to sexual acts, or rape for that matter, exists; there is no experience like having every bit of power taken away from you (or being convinced that you have none), and being violated in ways that you did not know were possible. Despite these reservations, we believe he makes a good point in stating that the focus of our efforts should be the well-being of the victim and the punishment of the rapist.

Addressing the debate surrounding the “Slut walk” and the decision of some of the participants’ choice to go topless, we have this to say.  This was a radical action to address a radical situation and we applaud them. However, Facebook exploded with comments that we found demeaning to those who expressed an opinion of discomfort with pictures of topless women on social media; as a result, potential activists were alienated. We believe that the response to the reactions of those who were made uncomfortable could have been handled better.  Quite frankly, rape or any unwanted sexual contact is unacceptable and unjustified in ANY situation: man or woman, clothed or naked, sober or intoxicated, to name a few. Though it may never truly be rid of in this world, the feminist movement succeeds in raising awareness for rape’s unequal, inhuman, and evil characteristics. We saw topless women in the recent “Slut walk” for two reasons: 1. no matter how scandalous we see women dressed, they, under any circumstances, are NEVER asking for unwanted sexual attention 2. Women are sexual subjects, not sexual objects; they play just as much a part in sexual activities as men do and should not have the right to their own bodies be usurped by dominant rape culture.

We believe that this campus needs to be educated on rape in order to prevent it. Currently, students are only informed how to report rape, not how to minimalize it. Men, just as much as women, need to understand what it is and what consequences it yields. Raising awareness is quite possibly the most powerful tool in ending dominant rape culture.

Phil Buckwinkler and Timothy Morris
Contributing Writers

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One Response to Moving Forward

  1. Elisha French

    April 20, 2013 at 7:03 am

    To start, I would like to thank those who messaged me and stopped me to offer their support. I wish I would have been approached by those who didn’t support what I said but, that is a different issue…
    The illustration with the car was a parable. A parable uses everyday elements known to the audience to express one point or idea. The point behind the car illustration was that an individual is able through their actions to either enable or hinder a criminal action. I then took this point and applied it to the issue of “gray” rape. This was specifically done to counter the idea as presented in the gray rape section of the “Meat is Murder” op-ed. I specifically quoted the author in her assertion that a victim is unable to control how much alcohol they were consuming. Obviously, this seemed to cause problems for some people who did not understand or comprehend the message. I will take blame in this as I could have left out the personal pronoun (I) and replaced with something more bibliospeak like “There was once a person who owned a car”. I would hope in writing all of this that it is understood that I do not view rape as being equal to theft, I do not believe an individual is an object like a car, or any other silly notion.
    The authors make incorrect quote about “high risk” situations. I never used the term high risk as I don’t view an individual doing any of the ascribed actions as putting themselves in a situation where there is an over 50% chance they will be assaulted. I said that the risk is increased by certain actions. This should be common sense (common sense is not common to everyone…).
    Second, the authors in their discussion on the imagery of the car, talk about use of metaphor in regards to rape. The point of the car thing was not a metaphor, there is no comparison being done. There is an element to this line that could be an underhanded ethos attack. I don’t believe this to be the case but just to cover all the bases… Having been an abuse victim and also ministering to many men and women who have been the victims of rape, molestation, and other sexual assaults, I feel I have an above average understanding of the physical, emotional, and mental issues involved. Plus, I wasn’t dealing with the effects but rather the individual’s ability to protect themselves from “grey” rape, before the rape would occur.
    I personally have no issue with the slut walk. I think it was ill-conceived and will in the end be ineffective but, if individuals want to assemble, march, and proclaim their beliefs it is their right to do so. That would also include the weird duck tape thing (didn’t that hurt?).
    My wife and I constantly are concerned with the environment our daughter is coming into. After hearing story after story from individuals about how they were molested by caregivers, it took us forever to release our daughter to the care of others. We look around at the sexuality that is present in our culture and we are concerned for our daughter’s safety and future. The best protection we can give her is to teach her how to prevent what can be prevented and for the predator, give her a 38 special… concealed carry or not.