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Blame should not fall on rape victims


Rape is frequently blamed on a lot of things: High alcohol consumption, the way a woman dresses, the way a woman is “asking” for it, a misunderstood acquaintanceship, campus dorm culture and many more excuses.

But the bottom line is, rape is rape and there is no excuse.

Whether the victim is a drunk female in a miniskirt, or whether the victim is one who defies the stereotypes that perpetuate a victim-blaming culture, the focus of rape should remain on the rapist and not on the one who was raped.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 54 percent of sexual assaults go unreported and typically, only 3 percent of rapists serve jail time for the assault. The self-blame issue could be part of this problem.

On Friday, students and faculty were notified of a reported rape on campus that broke many of the victim-blaming stereotypes.

The email stated the student was a non-resident, ruling out that rape only occurs in dorms on campus; he was in the Campus Recreation center locker room, ruling out too much alcohol consumption at a party; and the victim did not know the aggressor, ruling out that there was a history of acquaintanceship.

This case is just as serious as any other.

It sheds light on the idea that rape occurs because of something the victim did wrong. Rape occurs because the aggressor did something wrong.

According to RAINN, 10 percent of rapes in the U.S. involve male victims. While that is a small percentage, it is important to recognize that it still occurs and is even more underreported, as RAINN reports men are actually more likely to fall victim to self-blame.

While USF supplies students with ample resources for rape victims, an emphasis on rape prevention needs to occur.

USF has resources to prevent rape, such as the campus police department’s Rape Aggression Defense training that is free for students, as well as efforts from the Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention and the Relationship Equality and Anti-violence League
project campaign on campus.

The issue is not that the resources do not exist, but that there is a lack of overall awareness of them to get students involved in these
programs before they become a part of the increasing statistics.

It is very important for students to know how to protect themselves, but it is more important for students to understand what is considered legal consent and an increase in consequences for rape. The prevention of rape needs to occur at the source before it happens.

Ali Leist is a junior majoring in mass communications.