Rape Culture on College Campuses


by Monica Reid

The existence of rape culture is something that is continuously debated and studied in American society. The fingerprints of the strangling hands of rape are evident throughout our culture, even in places which are meant to be safe from such violent acts, such as college campuses. Rape culture is widely prevalent in all of American society, is especially ubiquitous on college campuses, and is not being properly addressed or combated by most universities. Fisher and colleagues, quoted in the article “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape,” maintain that “A 1997 National Institute of Justice study estimated that between one-fifth and one-quarter of women are the victims of completed or attempted rape while in college.” This means that a whopping twenty to twenty-five percent of all women will graduate college not only with a bachelor’s degree, but also with the trauma of sexual violence. Although women and men both experience rape, for the purposes of this article, I will only be addressing the rape of women by men, and the rape culture which encourages and perpetuates that specific kind of rape.

There seems to be some ignorance as to what the term “rape culture” is referencing. Hannah Brancato and Rebecca Nagle, the activists of the creative collaboration FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, state that rape culture consists of “jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal that people believe that rape is inevitable.”. Rape culture deeply permeates American society, yet often goes unnoticed and dismissed. This, in and of itself, proves that rape culture is present. If rape culture did not exist in America, then rape would be taken seriously and recognized as a widespread epidemic that needs to be eradicated; it would not be ignored and denied as it is today. Rape culture is especially rampant on college campuses. The frequent presence of pro-rape media, acceptance and perpetuation of rape myths, and lack of required prevention education about rape all play into the rape culture present on many campuses.  Continue reading “Rape Culture on College Campuses”