Addressing a serious issue

A commentary about rape culture

Tara Habibi

Guest Writer

    Take a look around the rotunda, down the hall, or inside one of your classes.  Count the number of girls that pass you every single day. One, two, three, four, five. One in five. That is the statistic of women who are raped in their lifetimes. Chances are, in every group of 5 girls, one of them has been or will be raped in their lives. Why then, is there so little talk on this issue? Why are we blind to how prevalent it is around us?

    Often times, the topic of rape is one that is skirted around, whether it be because we don’t like to think about it, we choose to avoid it, or maybe simply because we are all guilty of playing a small part in the culture that allows for rape victims to feel the need to hide and lets offenders so easily off the hook. Working to fix this problem means first acknowledging that there is one.

    We’ve heard “No means no” but what about the concept of “Yes means yes.” If someone is able, capable, and straight-forward about giving consent, then there is consent. In any other instance, if there is any doubt to consent or an inability to give consent, then that’s that. Even allowing small, seemingly innocent behaviors such as cat-calling, inappropriate comments, and unwanted advances take place, we are making room for rape culture. By saying someone is overreacting by turning down a guy or girl is setting up the mentality of a much grander, drastic scenario.

    But do we talk about these issues? How up-to-date are our health classes? What do our conversations about consent and rape culture look like in the classroom? When our classes do not focus on important issues such as these, they are doing an injustice to the students that live in a world where these issues are real and pressing. Classrooms that are shaping students for the outside world should also be teaching them how to navigate and treat things like sexual harassment, assault, and rape.

    Our school must talk about these issues more openly whether that be in health class or other monthly sessions. Schools are supposed to instill values in our students and American should be taking the initiative to instill yes means yes and no means no.

    Addressing these issues now is important. Being aware, being informed, and being proactive about problems that our friends, our peers, and our community face means initiating positive change. But it all begins with a conversation and taking the step towards a solution.

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