A student at the College of William and Mary took to the opinion pages of the student newspaper to express his views about so-called rape culture.
The student, sophomore Thomas Briggs, insisted that America doesn’t have a “rape culture,” but it does have a “hookup culture” where students get drunk and engage in sexual activity. Briggs described what he sees as rape culture in the Middle East, and provided an example of a Saudi gang-rape victim who was sentenced to 200 lashes for being in a car with a man. She was punished for her suffering on the false pretext that she had caused her own rape.
“What aspects of our society lie within the realm of a rape culture?” Briggs wrote. “There is simply no systemic tolerance for rape, no prosecution of victims and the general disgust for rape and rapists may only be trumped by the general disgust for pedophilia or murder; indicating that it is not, contrary to what many say, an institutionalized part of our ‘culture.'”
Briggs wrote that by redefining hookups as rape, society has started to “overlook the true contributing factors in these instances: alcohol and the disregard for personal responsibility and safety that hookup culture so shamelessly advocates.”
The comments section on Briggs’ post is exactly what you would expect, with some vehemently denying his premise and insisting that rape culture exists and is prevalent, with others supporting his article.
Much of the dissent seems to focus on “victim-blaming,” the act of supposedly telling a victim they are at fault for the crime perpetrated against them. This is an abhorrent thing to do, as everyone can agree, but what gets labeled as victim-blaming these days includes a broad range of issues, including common-sense crime prevention techniques such as being aware of one’s surroundings. These prevention measures are still suggested for every other crime, but when suggested as techniques to prevent rape, they’re called victim-blaming.