Sexual Assault is a Need or a Crime

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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“With those short shorts, she was totally asking for it.” “She was drinking. It’s not his fault that he has needs!” “It was only a few minutes. I didn’t even finish!” This is the culture we live in: the culture where it is perceived to be acceptable for a college student to rape an unconscious girl. This culture is one that should be simply unacceptable in the twenty-first century. Rape is deemed acceptable in this culture, but we cannot allow it to stay this way.

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Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer, was convicted of raping an unconscious girl.

His victim was 22 years of age and was found passed out by a dumpster near the fraternity house after a party. Brock Turner was found on top of her, her dress pulled above her waist whilst he was thrusting into her. For this, Brock Turner only got 6 months in jail. To add further insult to injury, his father perpetuated rape culture by saying that, “Prison is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.” What is the motivation behind sexual assault?

According to Katherine Baker of Harvard, “Rape is not usually about the sex. Rape is about the power that the perpetrator will feel after violating another individual.” Power over the girl? Is that what Mr. Turner was looking for?

I think that Mr. Turner may have been looking to be in control of his stressful life- as a college student or as a star swimmer. This, however, is not a justification for the rape of the 22-year-old college student he chose as a victim. It was not only twenty minutes of action. To her family, to the girl, the twenty minutes of action as labeled by the father is actually a lifetime. How many women are affected by sexual assault?

One woman is raped for every five. Of all women who are sexually assaulted, 80% are first assaulted before the age of 18. Allow me to drop some very important stats: 90 % of college girls do not report sexual assault. In 2016, 17.7% of Sophomores, or high schoolers in the tenth-grade, had been sexually assaulted already. That would mean that almost 20% of all 15-year-old girls or boys are getting sexually assaulted, or possibly younger.

You think that the gun violence is bad in America? Buckle up, buttercup!

We have a long way to go. Why does anyone decide that it is ok to sexually assault someone else? As said before, it is about having power over the victim, but as always, the answer is never that simple. Many times, “the perpetrator adheres to the strict traditional gender roles”, as stated by the Rutgers office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance. However, this cannot be left at simply a “gender roles” problem. In fact, looking at the culture behind the gender roles is key to understanding the rape/sexual assault of many women. In the case People v Dorking, which was decided by the New York High Courts in 1874, a 14-year-old servant girl was raped by her master.

The decision was: ‘Can the mind conceive of a woman, in the possession of her faculties and powers, revoltingly unwilling that this deed should be done upon her, who would not resist so hard and so long as she was able? And if a woman, aware that it will be done unless she does resist, does not resist to the extent of her ability on the occasion, must it not be that she is not entirely reluctant? If consent, though not express, enters into her conduct, there is no rape.’ As clearly seen, he was found not guilty of rape. He was not punished. Furthermore, the girl was sent back to him.

What is wrong with society that we see similar things happen in child care that happened back then with servitude? We are allowing children, young people, adults, and elderly to be raped and/or sexually assaulted while we sit around as a society and calmly state that there was only twenty minutes of action or that a 17-year-old girl was asking to be brutally raped because she was wearing a thong, which was the recent decision of a court in Dublin, Ireland. (Erickson 2018) Women all around the world have decided to use the acquittal of the 17-year-old’s rapist as a rallying cry for victims and activist around the world. Women have been putting their underwear on the steps of courthouses and been using the hashtag “#thisisnotmyconsent” on many social media platforms, including, but not limited to: twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. In many countries, sexual assault and rape are not considered as such when it is perpetrated by the husband of the victim.

These such countries include: India, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. According to an article written by Emily Shugarman, “One 27-year-old Indian woman told the Womens Media Center that her husband once beat her into a semi-conscious state and raped her with a flashlight. He was never prosecuted.” With laws protecting spousal rape still on the books in more than a few countries world-wide, laws are mainly on the side of the perpetrator and the victim hardly ever receives justice.

There is a skit done by SNL that is titled “Welcome to Hell” that is about the struggle of women throughout the ages with sexual assault. The skit/song really illistrates that women are still fighting for their rights 98 years after being granted suffrage by the United States Government. What more does a woman want to be equal? We are so happy that you asked! Our list includes, but is not limited to: equal pay for equal work, fair punishment for sexual crimes, end of discrimination in the workplace, see the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, have a woman become president, and many other things.

We wish to see an end to the age-old gender stereotypes that state that a woman is weaker than a man on account of her gender, which, believe it or not, actually contributes to rape culture. (Neal “Rape Culture”) Neal states that rape is used as a way to confine a woman to traditional gender roles. This should not be seen as a surprise, since violence has always been used to keep a minority or the oppressed down. After the Civil War, for example, the Ku Klux Klan used violence as a means to prevent the African American man, and woman after 1920, from being able to cast a vote or cause change in the country.

What can be worse than seeing your rapist become a president? And no, I am not talking about Donald Trump or Bill Clinton. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson was a habitual rapist. He raped his slave Sally Heming continously over the course of a certain amount of time. There are those who say that Jefferson loved this “mistress” as well as his children by the slave, but Thomas Jefferson did not free the woman whom he raped nor did he free his children, in life or in his will. Interestingly enough, he did grant freedom to two people during his life and five in his will. Heming’s name was never mentioned.

The United States as a whole insists on the worship of a man who was both a rapist and a racist, which allows rape culture to be furthered based on the deeds of President Jefferson.

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Sexual Assault Is a Need or a Crime. (2021, Nov 21). Retrieved from