Rape and sexual assault should not be cultural obscurity

Carolina Sanchez/Contributing Writer

“Rape Culture” can be described as an environment that normalizes and understates sexual harassment and assault.

In major news outlets, rape cases are hardly broadcasted or shown. Most of what “violent news” we receive comes in the way of murders, mass shootings, police on citizen brutality, or terrorist attacks.

Such is the case of the recent Rockville Rape which took place in the city of Rockville, Maryland. Two students, Jose Montano, 17, and Henry Sanchez, 18, were charged with the planned rape of a 14-year-old girl, which took place in the bathroom at Rockville High School. In the case of the Rockville Rape, however, Fox was one of the few news channels to televise the account.  

Unfortunately, this is an occurrence that often happens in rape cases. Currently, recent developments in the investigation have revealed that the alleged sexual assault might have been consensual. Nevertheless, the age differences between that of Sanchez and the victim would still constitute statutory rape.

The minimal amount of awareness that the Rockville Rape received, however, catalyzed the question: does the media give sexual and rape related assaults the importance they deserve?

The insufficient action taken by the media perpetuates the view in society that sexual assault and rape are not as heinous as are other crimes and felonies. In turn, this perception belittles the policies and legislations in place to protect human rights, such as the right to say “no.”

When crime is not given the awareness it deserves, it undermines the consequences put in place to prevent them. As a result, society inevitably adopts the view that such occurrences do not warrant concern. Little media coverage of such instances encourage the notion that they are trivial matters.

International relations major Tiffany Colt believes that it’s obvious that sexual assault, especially when it pertains to women, is “downplayed and trivialized by society.”

I believe that the view that society maintains about sexual assault as it pertains to women emanates from archaic machista views where women were seen as the extension and/or property of a man. Society has intergenerationally normalized rape and the effects it has on the victim.

Usually, rape cases seek to place the blame on the victim, and focus on how the victim might have “provoked” the attack instead. This shift in blame usually results in the victim being described through derogatory words, and perhaps even critiquing what she wore to allegedly welcome or invite the assault.

Current feminist movements following the presidential debates, such as the 2017 Women’s March, have been aimed specifically at raising awareness for the objectification of women against their wishes as well as sexual assault.

Many of these conversations and movements seek to define what “consensual sex,” really means in today’s world, and how it can be reinstated and implemented in our community.

In order to bring rape and sexual related assault out of cultural obscurity, society and the media need to raise awareness and concern for such crimes. Additionally, the justice system needs stricter reform in trying cases of rape and sexual assault.

By continuing to advertise the rights of women and sexual assault victims, the intergenerational view that currently normalizes rape and rape culture can be altered. These crimes need to be taken more seriously, and that begins by implementing the view into society.

 

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

 

Image retrieved from Flickr.

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