There have been several harmful narratives that have been promoted and pushed throughout the United States and institutions, specifically the universities. One of these fallacious ideas is the persistent and chronic belief in an American rape culture.
Now I know that to some this claim sounds borderline nonsensical. “How can anyone think that the United States has a culture that promotes any type of sexual assault?” the average person would ask. “Why would anyone even think that others believe in an American rape culture?”
But one simply has to google the phrase ‘American rape culture’ and dozens upon dozens of articles from reputable news sources pop up, declaring that the United States has an ingrained acceptance of sexual assault and misogyny. This concept has become even more prevalent with the recent Harvey Weinstein controversy and the dozens of women in Hollywood sharing their stories of sexual mistreatment by Weinstein, as well as other Hollywood elites.
If we simply look at what media outlets like the Huffington Post and Salon publish and what various politically-biased think tanks such as the Southern Poverty Law Center proclaim, we can see that the myth that sexual assault is pervasive and promoted in America is widespread amongst certain schools of thought.
Specifically, those who are far left-leaning. Various media publications such as the ones mentioned above, among others, have weaved their own narratives into stories such as the Duke lacrosse case, in which multiple members of Duke University lacrosse team were falsely accused of sexual assault by a stripper.
The most well-known example of a false rape accusation being blown way out of proportion is the infamous mattress girl from Columbia University. Before the case could be taken to an actual court of law, various organizations and media outlets had immediately sided with the mattress girl Emma Sulkowicz, claiming she was ‘brave’ or ‘a survivor’ in the case of an NPR article. The National Organization of Women even went as far as to award Ms. Sulkowicz with its Women of Courage award last year. The treatment of the Duke lacrosse situation was largely the same. Politically biased entities instantly siding with the victims of each case and smearing the accused men before the case was settled by the courts.
This false narrative of a widespread plague of sexual assault in America has been pervasive enough to even reach the White House. Former President Obama used the long-debunked “one in five women are raped on college campus” statistic in a 2014 speech about a task force his administration formed to “protect university students from sexual assault”.
This statistic has been used countless times despite its complete detachment from any actual facts. The Bureau of Justice Statistics has reported that since 1995 the risk of rape on college campuses has declined by 60 percent. The actual number of sexual assaults and rapes on college campuses is far from the one in five statistic as well. The only reason the fallacious one in five number is perpetuated is because of the statistic’s unreliable source. The number comes not from an actual government report, but from a survey given to several universities about sexual assault. The survey itself is extremely vague with what it considers sexual assault, labeling “attempted forced kissing” as a full sexual assault onto a person.
This constant and delusional idea that rape is some widespread and accepted epidemic across the United States doesn’t even make basic logical sense.
Last time I checked, rape and sexual assault are both illegal. I’d bet my whole college tuition that if I went up to some random person on the street and asked them if they think rape or sexual assault are acceptable activities, they’d say no. The idea that college students need constant reminders and lectures that rape and sexual assault are wrong is asinine to the nth degree. Who in their right mind believes that people who commit these disgusting crimes shouldn’t go to jail?
There are of course rape cultures that do exist throughout the world. Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq still punish women for allowing themselves to be raped. In fact, it’s not illegal for a husband to rape his wife in Saudi Arabia, among other Middle Eastern countries. Now those are rape cultures. Those are societies that refuse to punish actual rape and sexual assault.
Those are cultures that have widespread and systemic issues with equality and sexual assault. America, on the other hand, has no such issue. There is no deep-seated acceptance of rape in the United States. Just because supposed victims of sexual assault are tasked with the burden of proof doesn’t mean American culture endorse rape or any form of sexual harassment. We as a society need to stop propping up this erroneous and unfounded belief that’s being perpetuated throughout our public representatives, media sources, and especially universities.