We live in a culture in which rape is pervasive and sanctioned through sexist attitudes and beliefs that make violence against women seem like a normal, natural and inevitable part of society. Misogynist jokes, glamorized imagery of sexualized violence in the media, objectification of women, sexual harassment and the public / government dismissal of sexual violence as mere women’s issues help shape a rape culture and enable it to thrive.
The mainstream media is a strong arm of rape culture and frequently depicts violence against women in a way that sexualizes and glorifies it. Violence against women is so ubiquitous that we don’t see it because we see it everywhere which makes it so normalized and ingrained in our everyday lives that most people don’t even think twice about it. Paradoxical as that may seem, the oversaturation of violence in society has made us desensitized and numb to it. It makes us accept violence as a given part of life. The constant bombardment and oversaturation of these images in our society indoctrinates people into rape culture, degrade women, and eroticize violence against women.
Here are some examples of outrageous media advertisements that perpetuate rape culture. The images speak for themselves…
We need to hold the media accountable for their sexist representations and treatment of women and we need to hold the media accountable for perpetuating a rape culture. In order to do so we have to de-familiarize and de-normalize these offensive and toxic images and see them for what they really are – a misogynist vehicle that sustains our rape culture.
Rape is the most underreported crime on college campuses nationwide and is a silent epidemic that remains for the most part unaddressed and ignored. Most colleges discount sexual assaults on campus, prioritizing protecting their reputations instead of the safety and wellbeing of their students. They have flawed sexual assault policies that lack specific, concrete disciplinary procedures and re-victimize survivors. Further, many administrators and faculty members lack awareness about and training on how to deal with sexual assault on campus.
It is imperative that institutions of higher education assume leadership in ending sexual violence on their campuses by providing effective sexual assault education and implementing equitable sexual assault policies that enable survivors to pursue justice, thus ultimately working to transform a rape culture. In a rape culture, women especially live in fear and their freedoms are limited which prevents them from maximizing their productivity in society. Educational institutions have a moral responsibility in ensuring that this basic human right is realized and upheld, especially if they are committed to social justice and their goals are to prepare students for active civic engagement in society.
The Sexual Violence and Health Advisory Board is being launched to provide a direct way for students to provide feedback to the Tufts administration about the realities of sexual violence on campus and what resources, policies, and programming need to be updated or implemented in order to make Tufts a safer campus for everyone. The board’s first meeting is next Wednesday, February 18th at 7:30 pm in Room 202 of the Campus Center. Come for a chance to critique and help reform Tufts’ sexual assault policy and to start an important conversation that concerns everyone at Tufts.