Opinion | Recent Ohio University student rape questions whether ‘rape culture’ exists
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 02:10
An Ohio University (OU) student was reportedly raped during their homecoming weekend.
A photo and video of the alleged rape in front of a Chase Bank near the campus was circulated on social media by onlookers, according to the Washington Post and Athens Police.
OU’s definition of consent states that consent cannot be obtained from someone who is “asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs or some other condition.”
The incident has stirred up debate on whether a rape culture exists on campus. Tom Pernecker, a senior at OU, said he does not believe a rape culture exists at the university.
“I just can’t buy into the idea that Ohio University harbors this much talk about rape culture,” Pernecker said.
Cassie Fait wrote in OU’s web publication, Speakeasy Magazine, that she disagreed with Pernecker.
“Many people questioned the existence of the rape culture on OU’s campus,” Fait said. “There was an open rally and parade bringing awareness about OU’s rape culture the night before the publicized rape.”
That rally was hosted by a new organization on the campus known as FuckRapeCulture.
Their focus is toward implementing policy and cultural changes such as protecting underage drinkers in case of rape, changing the language in crime reports and consent education, according to Speakeasy Magazine. Co-founder of the group, Claire Chadwick, touched upon the relationship between drinking and sexual assault.
“I do remember having this sense of fear that it was my fault since I was drinking,” Chadwick said. “I think this is a mentality we need to break down.”
Pernecker had a different perspective on the inclusion of alcohol in the homecoming incident, however.
“But, if both parties head home inebriated and one party calls rape on the other party this serious accusation should be taken with a grain of salt,” Pernecker argued.
One commenter on Fait’s article echoed a sentiment I had seen elsewhere on this issue.
“That’s not to say rape doesn’t happen, but in this case, it was a woman waking up the next morning, being ashamed of what she did while blacked out and then crying rape,” the commenter wrote.
An OU student was reportedly harassed for being falsely identified as the victim of the alleged rape.
Miami University was also brought into the national spotlight last October for the, “Top 10 Ways to Get Away with Rape,” flier posted in a men’s bathroom.
In a recent Student article about Women Empowerment Week, senior vice president of Panhellenic Public Relations Katharine Davies said the Miami environment is not that favorable to women, it is not safe or empowering.
“There are a lot of issues that women are facing on campus and no one was in a position to do anything about it besides us [at Panhellenic],” Davies said.
About 4,000 U.S. college students report to school officials that they have been sexually assaulted, according to NBC News.
Campus Security Act’s 2010-12 report shows that in 2012, there were 11 cases of sexual offenses – forcible, in residential facilities, and 17 on campus.
I take issue with much of what Pernecker said in his piece. For instance, he specified “serious sexual assault,” as if there are non-serious forms of sexual assault. Then he said quite clearly that “we all know sex without consent is indeed rape,” but then later in the article mentioned how “we should rethink what the term rape means and what situations it applies to.”