OliviaErickson, Staff Reporter
At lunch, where I sit with a large group mostly comprised of close-minded teenage boys, one of them turned to me and asked, “Olivia, why do girls always cry rape?” Without realizing that the question was meant to be a jab at rape victims, I explained that most guys don’t understand what actually entails rape. One of the biggest misconceptions is that if a girl, or guy, is too heavily under the influence of any intoxicant that he/she cannot give consent, it isn’t considered rape. Hearing that it is actually rape, all the guys chimed in with the conclusion that “rape isn’t real.” One boy even had the audacity to turn to me and expectorate that “rape should be legal.”
Rape is defined as “unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent” by Merriam Webster. I would like to bring attention to two often neglected parts of the definition: “under threat of injury” and “incapable of valid consent.” Many of the boys involved in this discussion did not understand how a girl would allow herself to get raped, objecting that “if she’s that drunk, it’s her fault” and “if girls don’t want to get raped they shouldn’t lead guys on.”. To any person who does not understand how rape could occur, let me adjust the situation:
“If you put a gun to my head to get me to give you $5, you still stole $5. Even if I physically handed you $5,” “If you ask me for $5, and I’m too drunk to say yes or no, it’s not okay to then go take $5 out of my purse… Just because I didn’t say no” or my personal favorite, “And to think a man said ‘Well she sat on his lap and went to his house.’ Okay, if I ask you to hold my purse, does that mean you can take money?” (via @thatxxv on Twitter). If someone says no or is unable to say yes or no, it is rape. Even if they said yes earlier in the night, or anytime in the past.
The teenage boys’ invalid argument was largely based on the endless accusations of women who slept with all-star athletes or anyone famous and then, often falsely, accused them of rape to get money or attention. “Actual rape cases barely ever happen. At this point, women are just lying.” claimed many of the boys. I understand, and agree, that these false rape claims are not okay to make. However, according to Stanford University, the truth behind that argument is that only, 2% of rape cases are said to be false. In reality, only 40% of rape victims go to law enforcement because of the fear of scrutiny or press attention in reality. More often, women are too scared or too damaged to even report their assault to the police.
With Donald Trump, who himself has been accused of assault multiple times, recently chosen by the electoral college as the president elect, it is more important than ever to understand that rape is in fact real and never the fault of the victim. The boys in my lunch period were continuously using quotes by the sexist Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, as main points. Sexist, inappropriate and unjust things said by one of America’s new authority figures do not become appropriate or just because they were said by someone in power. Through these next four years, do not let the ideas or perceptions of the men in power allow rape culture to be fostered among this generation. Rape is real.