We, as American college students, live in what has become popularly referred to as a “rape culture.” Sexual harassment and assault are seen by many as endemic problems on our campuses, and ever-increasing numbers of women are coming forward with their stories. Because of this, sexual harassment among young people has become a visible and debated issue, at the forefront of public awareness. Since women are sharing their experiences, the topic is no longer off-limits in the way it has been in the past, and support and resources are abundant and still growing.
Don’t get me wrong, I think all of this is wonderful. I know luck is the only reason I have never experienced rape, and I cannot even begin to imagine how horrible it must be to be violated in the most intimate way possible. I cannot sympathize enough with what victims of sexual assault go through. Likewise, I am so grateful to and proud of the women who have paved the way so that we are living in the beginnings of a society where we can have an open dialogue about sexual violence against women.
But, all of this attention is fundamentally flawed. We do not live in a rape culture; we live in a violence culture, and where many different types of violence, including rape still frequently occur against women unchecked. Rape is a heinous crime, but other types of violence are also awful, dangerous, scary and rampant. Accordingly, they and their victims deserve to be talked about.
So, why don’t we give the problem of domestic violence the same attention we give that of rape? Continue reading