The following story appeared in Verde Magazine, published on April 9, 2013. The views and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily representative of that of The Paly Voice or any of its staff members. This story appears on The Paly Voice per the request of Verde Magazine.
Over 250 Paly students responded to an admittedly unscientific online survey that used questions from the Rape Supportive Attitudes and Belief Scale (RABS). It asked students to respond to nine statements about rape and how it is defined in Paly’s culture with ‘strongly agree,’ ‘mildly agree,’ ‘mildly disagree’ and strongly disagree.’ Shown below are the results, grouping mild and strong opinions together.
The results were sometimes surprising, so seniors Jimmy, Seth, and Anthony, interviewed individually, offer further insight.
1. Certain women are more likely to be raped due to their flirting, teasing, or promiscuous behavior.
“I think that, yes, certain women are more likely to be raped due to their flirting, teasing, or promiscuous behavior,” Seth says. “That’s not a good thing and it shouldn’t be the case, but it probably is.” 57.6 percent of students agree with Seth, leaving students who disagree, like Jimmy, in the minority. “People don’t make bulls— excuses for any other crime,” Jimmy says. “I’ve never heard anyone say that someone got mugged because they were ‘wearing a fancy watch,’ for instance.”
2. If a woman willingly gets drunk, then she is raped — she is more responsible for what happened to her than if she had decided not to drink.
Like 25.6 percent of his peers, Anthony says. “She is absolutely more responsible.” He goes on to explain: “It should be no one’s duty but their own to look out for their safety or monitor their own actions. … No one should ever expect anyone else to look out for themselves when they willingly chose to take mind-altering substances and those who chose to do so should live with the subsequent consequences of their actions.” But the other 74.4 percent disagree. Seth says, “I think that it’s important for people to be aware of their situations. That being said there is no excuse for anyone raping anyone. Rape, or any crime, is ultimately and fully the responsibility of the perpetrator.
3. A lot of people, especially women, are too likely to label a sexual encounter as “rape”.
“I doubt it happens ‘often’ but rape is a good thing to claim if a woman wants to hurt someone,” Seth says. “So I’m sure it happens from time to time.” Like Seth, 22.4 percent of students surveyed agree that a woman may label sex as rape when it was not. Jimmy disagrees adamantly. “Rape is rape, period,” he says. “Any non-consensual sex is rape, and should be prosecuted and punished.”
4. Women often falsely cry “rape” because they are feeling guilty about having sex, or if they want to get back at them [the guy].
“It’s a way of getting the blame for the encounter off of their shoulders,” Anthony says. However, he tempers his statement, echoing Seth. “I don’t mean to say that it’s an often occurrence, but it certainly has happened and is something that certain women do say.” Jimmy represents the 77 percent who disagree with this statement. “The fact that people even make excuses for rape in the first place shows that we, as a culture, do not treat rape as a serious crime,” he says. “That’s what people mean when they say that there is a rape culture in this country: We do not treat rape as a serious crime, and that’s a fact.”
5. Women who lead men on deserve less sympathy if they are raped.
“If you dress and act in a promiscuous manner, don’t say you didn’t at least see it coming,” Anthony says. Nineteen percent of students survey agreed with Anthony’s point of view, but Seth is in the majority with 81 percent who disagree. “People can make bad choices or put themselves in bad situations but it doesn’t make them responsible,” he says. “If someone walked down an alleyway in a bad part of town it doesn’t make them any more responsible if they end up getting mugged. The goal should not be to get people to stop walking down alleys, it should be to make every alleyway safe.”
If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, you don’t have to keep quiet.
Get help by calling RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE,
the local YWCA of Silicon Valley’s crisis hotline 650.493.7273 or
Adolescent Counseling Services at 650.883.4244.
“You can’t tell me I wasn’t raped” by Lisie Sabbag
From a different perspective: a discussion with Paly guys by Lisie Sabbag
Taking it Seriously: Ever made a rape joke? This column is for you by Savannah Cordova
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For a copy of the letter sent to faculty before the release of this issue, click here