Colleges across the country are in the midst of a rape epidemic. You’ve probably all heard the stories by now. A study revealed that 1 in 4 women in college have been the victim of sexual assault and nearly all knew their perpetrators.
What you probably haven’t heard is that in a recent study,Denying Rape but Endorsing Forceful Intercourse: Exploring Differences Among Responders, 1 in 3 college males admitted that they would force a woman to have sex if they could get away with it.
Approximately 32 percent of study participants said that they would have “intentions to force a woman to sexual intercourse” if ‘‘nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences.’’ [Source]
If you are disturbed by that, the next part is even more disturbing:
Yet only 13.6 percent admit to having “any intentions to rape a woman” under these same circumstances.
This is extremely important because it means that these men do not necessarily believe that forcing a woman to have sex is actually rape.
The sample size for this study was small, only 86 college men. Critics will no doubt bring this up and say it invalidates the study. It doesn’t.
Other studies have shown that 43 percent of college men have admitted to using coercive behavior to have sex. This behavior includes ignoring her objections, using physical aggression, and forcing her.
All of these statistics are disturbing, but the most disturbing thing is that we as a society are failing to teach our sons what rape is. We have college kids leaving home and thinking it’s perfectly okay to force a woman to have sex. They think that “no” means “GO FOR IT!”
With this in mind is it really that hard to believe that a fourth of college women have been victims of assault?
The authors of this study are hoping that it will help guide policy on colleges, but realistically education needs to start way before that. Holding seminars and passing out pamphlets to college kids is a good idea, but it’s like putting a cast on a fracture that healed long ago.
You hear it all the time,”instead of teaching our daughters not to be raped, teach your sons not to rape.” It’s said so often that it elicits eye rolls from people but it could not be more true.
If we want to end rape culture in this country at the very least we need to reach an agreement about the very definition of what we want to prevent. Then when we sit down and talk to our children about sex we can explain to them that it is unacceptable to rape.