Sexual Violence Awareness: Rape-Supportive Culture, Part 2

Category: Fraternity

Leslie Fasone

Sexual violence is nearing epidemic status; it’s estimated that one in five college women will experience sexual assault during her undergraduate experience. To work toward stopping it, we must consider tactics to change the culture. Not only what should we not do (like unintentionally blame victims or focus all of our attention on ways to “stay safe”), we need to consider what it is that we can do to create a culture that supports survivors and challenges perpetrators.

Here are some tangible steps you can take to overcome myths that support and reinforce rape-supportive culture:

  • When your friends or organization is planning an event with a theme that is discriminatory toward women or a culture, or simply put, is negative toward women, come up with an alternate (yet fun!) idea that is appropriate. You can address this issue head on, but also come up with a more creative theme that builds others up instead of putting others down.
  • When you hear someone make a comment such as “Well, she was really drunk,” or “She hooks up with people all the time,” challenge those comments. You can say something like, “Being drunk does not give someone permission to touch you without your consent,” or “She/he can choose to hook up consensually however often s/he wants, but consent must always be present during sexual activity.”
  • Place posters and information about sexual assault around your living area. Include information about campus and community resources available to students, where to go for help or how to report an incident, and upcoming events for students to get involved in prevention efforts. Sharing information and resources helps raise awareness and also connects students with resources.

We encourage you to pay close attention to the environment around you. How does that environment promote an unsafe environment or a rape-supportive culture? What can you do to create a place where sexual assault is not ok, or where sexual assault survivors are not blamed at all? It is never someone’s fault for being assaulted. It is the fault of the perpetrator and the individuals helping to facilitate the assault. Help us change the culture with everyday tangible actions and by getting involved in prevention efforts to create a movement supporting women, and challenging the current culture in which we live.