I decide to see what’s new in the world before I go to bed and what am I greeted with? Another politician has said something about abortion that’s not only ignorant, but sounds like he’s trivializing the victim’s needs. John Koster, a GOP candidate for the Washington State House of Representatives, said that he only supports abortion when a woman’s life is in danger, and then said “Incest is so rare…but the whole rape thing?…how does putting more violence on a woman’s body and taking an innocent life make it all better?”

What is he smoking?

And his spokespeople may be saying that this guy takes rape seriously, but calling rape a “thing”? That’s not taking it seriously. And violence on a woman’s body? How would you know? Did you ask women if they think abortion is violent? Or did you never consider that maybe carrying the product of a rape to term is a form of violence in itself, it’s so traumatizing to women?

Honestly, I’m getting really tired of male politicians saying these things about women’s bodies and rape and abortion. “Legitimate rape”; “God intended it”; “the rape thing”. When are these men going to realize that saying this sort of stuff is asking for trouble? Really, learn your lessons already.

This brings up another topic I’d like to mention: colleges and rape. I’ve also recently read some articles about how colleges try to cover up rapes and blame the victims…told from the perspectives of the victims themselves. In every case, victims were told by the college administrators and people who worked for them things that confused me.

For example, one doctor asked why a victim didn’t report her rape for months. Apparently to the doctor it didn’t seem logical. Hello? Since when does anyone do anything that makes sense when they’ve just been traumatized and put into deep shock? And asking why a girl is saying she was raped when before the incident she liked the guy and wanted to sleep with him? Well, let’s see…um…he was charming at the coffee shop, but when I told him I wasn’t comfortable doing that after the third date and he just pressed on…are you kidding me?!

I love higher education. I wish everyone had a shot at it. But it’s also, unfortunately, big business. And no business wants the nickname “Rape University”. Now, some colleges do rape prevention, treatment and prosecution better than others. I couldn’t find any statistics for OSU, but I’ve seen posters in several buildings and my dorm about what constitutes healthy relationships and what doesn’t. I’ve also seen classes hosted inside dorms instructing girls on how to prevent being attacked and how to defend one’s self when being attacked. And the Wexner Medical Center has a Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Unit, so that’s definitely a good sign. And I don’t know how often the disciplinary board takes on sexual misconduct cases, but our student code of conduct defines sexual misconduct as tightly as most police officers do. Got to give them credit for that.

Some colleges however, don’t excell in this capacity. On the contrary, they’ll do anything to make their problems go away, even if it means making the victims suffer. Amherst College is a pretty bad offender. There’s even an article about it, which links to another girl’s experience prior to the article (http://acvoice.com/2012/10/23/surviving-at-amherst-college/). I must say, it’s disheartening to see schools put their reputations before their students. If they’d just prosecute these cases for what they are–rape, and not by any other name–then there reputations wouldn’t suffer, they’d grow with the knowledge that the school does not tolerate rape or any other form of sexual assault or misconduct.

So to the politicians and schools, do us all a favor. Stop belittling what women go through. Help them get the services and closure they need. Get educated on the facts. Don’t try to make the problem go away or insist it’s not as big as people think. And certainly don’t say women should live with what happened to them because of a fetus that’s nervous system is underdeveloped is in their uterus or that because of alcohol or they came forward after a certain amount of time they can’t be helped.

Rape is rape. It’s that simple. Preventing it and bringing justice for the victims should not be.

Comments
  1. craft fear says:

    Thanks for this, man. I used to work as a rape-prevention educator and victim advocate and it was too much for me and my anxiety-brain to handle, so I had to quit. Seeing men in power, and even other women, say these things was heartbreaking every single day (oh I laid the SMACK down on some teenage girls when they said that victims of internet predators “brought it upon themselves”). It gets fucking exhausting. All it would take is a little empathy and appreciation for other people’s humanity to understand how terrifying and complex an issue this is.

    Also, I WISH incest was rarer than it actually is. Someone should tape that guy’s mouth shut and make him job-shadow my former co-workers for a week.

  2. ruhrow says:

    Most colleges DO have sexual assault resources, education, information, posters, etc…all in an attempt to make sure that THEY don’t look like one of ‘those schools’.

    Actually, that’s not fair. They really really do want to prevent rape. The problem is that once it happens, they’d rather pretend that it didn’t than acknowledge that it can still happen on their campus despite their best efforts.

    The policies you mention at OSU sound great, but they also sound strikingly similar to those in place at many of the schools which have recently been featured in the news for their poor handling of these cases. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that a good front-end structure implies good follow-through. Too many students do.

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