Broaden the conversation about sexual violence, awareness
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 23:02
If you have been reading the Barometer, receiving timely warnings from the Oregon State Police in your inbox or simply overhearing the murmur around campus regarding the recent assaults, no doubt you, like us, would like to broaden the conversation. You, like us, may want the discourse to address the rape-normative culture in which we live, include information on the reality of non-stranger sexual assaults, and provide education about healthy, consensual relationships.
Rape culture is a term to describe the culture we live in where rape and sexual violence are common occurrences, and where everyday phenomena such as attitudes, norms, practices, and media validate, normalize, perpetuate and even condone rape. What this looks like:
• When we laugh at sexist jokes, we perpetuate rape culture.
• When we say things like “that test just raped me,” we are perpetuating rape culture.
• When we tolerate sexual harassment and cat calls, we perpetuate rape culture.
• Whenever porn is tolerated, rape culture is perpetuated.
• Whenever we focus on stranger assault alone, we perpetuate rape culture.
• When we blame victims (she asked for it, short skirt, etc.), we perpetuate rape culture.
• When we teach women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape, we perpetuate rape culture.
What we know to be true is that one in three women will experience some form of intimate partner violence or sexual assault in her lifetime. What we know to be true is that rape is a crime committed against all genders, but most survivors and victims are women and most perpetrators are male. What we know to be true is that women between the ages of 16-24 experience rape at rates four times higher than the rate for all women. What we know to be true is that the majority of assaults are committed by individuals who are known to the survivor or victim.
Yes, rape is bad. However, regrettably, it is an extremely common occurrence, and unfortunately many people don’t fully understand what constitutes rape. So let’s talk about what rape is.
• Rape is unwanted sex.
• Rape is using force to get sex.
• Rape is pressuring someone into having sex.
• Rape is creating an environment of fear so someone doesn’t feel safe to say no to sex.
• Rape is getting someone intoxicated to “loosen them up” for sex.
• Rape is rape no matter what.
On the flip side, we advocate for enthusiastic consent. So let’s talk about what consent looks like.
• Consent is a voluntary, sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest and verbal agreement.
• Consent is an active agreement — consent cannot be coerced.
• Consent is a process, which must be asked for every step of the way. If you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy, just ask.
• Consent is never implied and cannot be assumed, even in the context of a relationship. Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean you have permission to have sex with your partner.
Sometimes it’s hard to get information out about local services available to survivors and their loved ones, so we will attempt to give a very short overview of support available within our community.
The Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence is a local organization that provides many free confidential support services for both survivors and support people, and has a 24 hour hotline (541-754-0110 or 800-927-0197).
Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS), which is housed in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), provides free confidential support for OSU students of all genders who have experienced any form of unwanted sexual contact or relationship violence (541-737-7604).
Student Health Services offers a fully integrated Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program to support students who are survivors of sexual assault. This is a confidential service; students do not have to report assaults in order to have an examination. Most services are free or include a minimal charge (541-737-9355).
If you are an individual who would like to learn more about bystander intervention, please contact Carrie Giese at Student Health Services (541-737-7880).
If you are a male identified individual who would like to learn more ways you can support the movement to end violence, including rape and sexual assault in our community, please contact Nick Daily at Men’s Development and Engagement (email@example.com).
If you would like to learn more about rape and sexual violence, or would like to host a student led workshop on these issues through the group Every1, please contact Carrie Giese at Student Health Services (541-737-7880).
If you are a survivor of rape, sexual assault or intimate partner violence, know that you are not alone. If you are a survivor of rape, sexual assault or intimate partner violence, know that we believe you and support you in your process of recovery. If you are a survivor of rape, sexual assault or intimate partner violence, know that no matter what happened, it was not your fault. If you are a survivor of rape, sexual assault or intimate partner violence, know that we know you are an incredibly strong person for surviving.
As the poet and social activist Meridel LeSuer so rightfully said, “survival is a form of resistance.”