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Letter to the Editor — Rape Culture exists

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Rape Culture exists, and it breathes through our daily lives. It is almost like it weaves into unexpected places and brings you back to a time where the world tears into you until you are small. You spend years contemplating what happened, if it did happen or if it was an insignificant moment that you should just get over.

There was a time in our society where sexual assault was barely talked about. And now? We do talk about it. But it seems like society continues to rationalize it, to forgive its actions, and all while leaving behind the people who should matter the most — survivors.

People, and statistically speaking, cisgender men, will go out of their way to make sure you are nothing but an object. They will melt all over you, smudge down your multifaceted traits until you are nothing but just a one-dimensional sentient that only aims to please them. And it destroys you.

But violations also do not just come in physical form. They come in multiple forms. When I was 15, I was cat called. When I was 23, I was going home and this man tries to grab me in the bus. When I was 24, I had a man follow me every day during my work commute home, asking me if I was single yet. Throughout the years, I’ve learned to find ways to cope and to learn safety tactics.

But it isn’t enough.

We know the alarming statistics on college campuses and that most of the cases involve someone you know. However, people rather view the world as just. It was disheartening to see the banner. It was worse when I read the comments in defense of the fraternity. But I wasn’t surprised. It’s easy to rationalize this. But to survivors? To people who have experienced being humiliated and harassed? They have seen this before.

The students who saw this banner knew what these boys meant. They knew that new members referred to the mostly freshman students who were visiting sorority houses. And they knew that these boys were not offering housing tours. And anyone who defended them, especially those who are parents, should really learn better critical thinking skills.

This university must do more instead of censoring activists who were just building awareness. They should be more transparent about these sexual assault cases and they must stand with survivors who need their support and resources the most.

To the students who felt afraid, just know that I see you, that I believe you, and you are valid.

If you need support and counseling, the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center is here to help with their 24-Hour Crisis Line (316) 263-3002.

 

Deborah Ojeda-Leitner

12 Comments

  • Thank you.

    Thank you.

    [Reply]

  • You speak for all of us

    Thank you

    [Reply]

  • Fire

    Get ready to get a letter from Fire helping define free speech and from guys saying how bad they have it.

    [Reply]

    Rape Culture Reply:

    “The girl I raped said I ruined her life? She ruined my life! Now I have this reputation for raping her. She needs to just get over it because she’s ruining my future, my education, and my job opportunities…all I did was rape her. It’s not a big deal. She has ruined my life. She needs to get over it.”

    Rape Culture is a blaming, shaming, and denegrading culture.

    [Reply]

  • WSUGrad

    That banner didn’t rape anyone. Let’s get that straight. Boys wanted to meet girls. End of story. Hardly a scandal. Free speech is under attack on college campuses everywhere. It is a right that must be protected. Surely we can differentiate between real sexual assault without having to violate first amendment protections. Over-reactions actually harm efforts to support sexual assault victims by making their claims feel more trivial. Serious actions deserve serious discussion. You look like an idiot.

    [Reply]

    Nice Strawman You Got There Reply:

    She didn’t say the sign raped someone. She said it perpetuates rape culture. Not sure if you’ve noticed your comment is among a lot of comments of support, so clearly, these “harmless” actions have a negative effect on people who have experienced the very thing the sign perpetuates. So of course, you will drone on about free speech while conveniently forgetting that free speech also includes public scrutiny of shitty behavior.

    [Reply]

    Tired of explaining this... Reply:

    The more you defend the actions of these frat boys, the more it validates the presence of rape culture on this campus. Rape culture exists when you actively refuse to believe it’s there, despite survivors telling you, over and over again, this is what it is. Listen to us. Do the work.

    Y’all were so proud of these boys a month ago when they were traipsing around campus in high heels.

    [Reply]

  • Survivor

    Thank you. I am a survivor and it is obvious nobody gets what is at play here. To watch people call rape survivors stupid and ignorant is disheartening at most. They’re the monsters we have to watch out for.

    [Reply]

  • To Survivors

    It’s really a beautiful thing. It seems like survivors are coming out of the dark places they hide and are finding their voices right in this moment. I am really, really proud of all of you. You are strong, brave, and courageous. Stand up. Speak out. Hold your head up high. The time is now.

    [Reply]

  • Rape Culture

    Thank goodness that we live in a republic that is more concerned with fact than the anecdotes from Debbie.

    The foremost issue with this mentality is that individual creepy men now constitute an entire culture and gender and are indicative of Western society, which is blatantly false. Until 2015, sexual assault, and violent crime overall have been falling and continue to fall, especially in the United States. There has only been a rise in sexual violence in Europe over the last couple of years as they’ve taken in millions from the Middle East and Africa. It hasn’t been those that have grown up and lived in those countries… It’s been migrants from an area of the world with legitimate rape cultures who have brought it into nations that never had a rape culture. It seems more apt that we should stand up against ideologies that legitimately devalue women and encourage legalities in their devaluation than calling out a sign that literally means nothing.

    The devaluation of actual sexual assault and its modern equivalency to being called attractive is disgusting. Rape is one of the most disgusting things that can happen to anyone, and everyone in the United States that I know would call for the maximum penalty under the law for the assailant. To call some guy trying to pick up some girl sexual assault not only demeans the act of rape, but puts Debbie’s “assaults” in the same category as women who have been violently abused. As with anything today on the left, it’s all about a victim culture that degrades legal precedence.

    There are people who actually need help, need to seek out legal recompense, and deserve justice under the law for the legally-defined violence that they’ve experienced. Unless you’ve been held down against your will, beaten, penetrated, and violently forced into sex, you have no right to claim that you’ve been sexually assaulted.

    Call what happened to you what it might be: sexual harassment. It should also be said that men are also sexually harassed by women… If it’s not in the workplace (which is something that every company and U.S. law allows you to address), then move on, call the guy a jerk, and if you’re legitimately being stalked (also covered by the law), then get a restraining order. We have to stop these extremes, and stop devaluing the experiences and deserved justice of ACTUAL victims of real crime.

    [Reply]

    I would disagree Reply:

    Oh, I think your ideas were all over the place there. What was your thesis exactly? Like you have some good ideas and then they go wildly wrong with your conclusions. The whole intro about Europe and numbers and calculations lost me. And then how you get to a place where you’re calling out women who are devaluing rape. It was just not well-formed and it was more annoying to read than anything. Just let violation be violation. Don’t bring other women down because, honestly, whatever you categorize it as, whatever you call it. It’s wrong. period.

    [Reply]

    Where was I wrong? Reply:

    The point that I was trying to make is that there are actual rape cultures existing in the world today. In the West, rape and all violent crime has been continually falling for years, while actual rape has not only continued in other parts of the world (along with real and sexual slavery), but women have actually been punished for charging their assailants with the crime in an increasingly large portion of the world (see the spread of Sharia in Africa and Southeast Asia).

    The United States is also the only country in the world that encourages women to take any means necessary to physically defend themselves against violent attackers. We’re the only country that wants women to carry firearms to defend themselves because we understand basic biology means that men will almost always overpower women. Guns are the greatest equalizer and well-trained women stand the greatest chance of defending themselves against rape and robbery. How do you guys encourage women to take control of their lives? Abortion? Get raped and then end a life afterward? Why not stop it before it happens?

    As stated above, real rape cultures have moved into the Western world and have created racial-and-ideoligically-motivated rape cultures that never existed before. Migrants in the U.K., Sweden, Germany, and France have all dissolved their culture, and migrants in those countries are allowed to walk free after creating grooming gangs that prey on young, vulnerable white girls, specifically because of their race, clothing choices, and religion .

    My “thesis” is that there is no rape culture in western society, and there is no rape culture on college campuses. The West has stood against sexual violence since our inception. It all goes back to the Magna Carta, Enlightenment thinkers, and the American Founding Fathers.

    The commonly-touted “one-in-five” statistic comes from allegorical evidence expressed in arguments like Debbie’s. As someone who has had a family member chained to a tree at the age of nine, violently raped by two men and left to die on that tree, I consider sexual assault to be something far beyond what was presented in the argument in this letter. Being offended will never equate to what has been experienced by my family, and to say that it should proves how insolent this “rape culture” mindset is. Everyone I know would violently fight and expel a rapist and pedophile from any area of American life… But apparently that may only be conservatives. Read through this and see the now-deleted cultural divide: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/02/salon-removes-pro-pedophilia-articles-written-todd-nickerson-website/

    To conflate what a member of my family went through to what Debbie went through, and that freaking Phi Delt sign is disgusting. Rape exists, and horrible people exist. When we define anything that offends us as sexual assault, we completely lose the definition of real rape. There are real victims of real crimes who need actual help. If we’re going to focus on ending rape in the U.S., maybe we should pay attention to those who have dealt with actual violence. If we’re against a rape culture, maybe we should focus on the pervasive ideology that encourages treating women like property.

    Maybe we should all stand up against an ideology that compares cat-calling to violent pedophilia and real sexual assault. My family member’s testimony in an actual court of law led to their assailant passing away in jail. Our family saw that as justice, and that person’s sentence was as appropriate as they could receive for their crimes. Their accomplice killed themselves before standing trial.

    I’ll never attribute motive to anyone, and I absolutely believe that everyone has a right to speak their own truths. That being said, people like Debbie need to understand and listen to people that have experienced more than they ever could. Debbie’s stated personal experiences pale in comparison to the real experiences of those that Debbie hates. I hope that Debbie will take the time to speak to and understand the people that Debbie hates.

    [Reply]

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