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