What We Should Take Away From The Stanford Rape Case And Its Victim

What We Should Take Away From The Stanford Rape Case And Its Victim

"Be careful, be a good friend, and be an advocate."

By now, we've all heard about the Stanford rapist (oh, wait, but remember he's also a swimmer. That's an important tidbit to add, right?).

By now, we've all read the statement by his victim, a nameless, faceless young woman. Nameless and faceless like many other rape victims have felt.

By now, all of us are angry. We're scared. We have a tornado of emotions swirling around inside of us, on behalf of the victim and other victims we may know; because of the ignorance of the rapist – because that is what he is. I will not perpetuate the idea that his athletic prowess makes him anything more than the criminal he is - and his father's ludicrous statements.

We have a multitude of options. We can sit here and continue to blast the media for painting young women who drink and who dress a certain way "guilty" for their own rape; continue to berate the assailant and his father for their selfish, ridiculous behavior. We continue to belittle the judicial system with their lessened sentence of six months (three with good behavior) in prison for a 20-year-old man because he has Olympic aspirations or whatever reason they used to justify it, but where will that get us?

Right back here. On our social media accounts, the Odyssey and other online news sources, in the comments section, complaining and yelling at a brick wall. We scream and shout for change - change in attitudes, change in perception, change, change, change - but we are only tiring out our lungs for shouting and our fingers for typing. Change comes not with how many hate words you can type a minute, but with an alteration of your own behavior impacting someone else, and maybe even a society.

We live in a culture where certain people are given a pass because of their gender, while others are told to cover up because of their gender. But, we don't live in a world where the only people that rape others are men and the only people who get raped are women. Is this controversial? Yes. Is it a lie? No.

The point is to make sure situations like this one – the Stanford rapist and his victim, the media circus, the trial, and the act itself – stop happening. How?

I'm not here to say to everyone to stop drinking, stop partying, ladies stop wearing short skirts, and boys stop "being boys." None of that should be a "cause" when it comes to sexual assault. What causes rape? A rapist, plain and simple.

I'm saying we need to be consciously aware that things like this happen, and not just when the media blows up about it. It shouldn't take a (now infamous) swimmer from a prestigious university who got "20 minutes of action" being the man in question for the courts, the media, and us as individuals to care about this issue. It happens more often than we would like to think. And that's the key. We don't like think about it, not until its being shoved down our throats every time we open our Facebook page.

So think about it. After the tornado blows over, after the dust has settled, because eventually this too will fade out of the media spotlight. Remember it, because you know the victim, her family, and yes, even the rapist with the same name as a character from Pokemon, will always remember it. Be aware that these things can happen, and if you are coherent and able - unlike this poor girl - to remove yourself from a situation before it's too late, do it. If you are a friend, relative or significant other to a person who has had this happen to them, be there for them when they need you and give them space if they don't. If you are a friend of someone who, even if sincerely unintentionally, could find themselves in a situation where they are the pursuer, watch out for them, too.

If you are someone who has never known what it's like to endure a type of pain and suffering while still living day in and day out like victims of sexual assault, and you claim to truly care about the issue, speak up. That doesn't just mean sharing this to your Facebook wall, (anyone can click a button) but show in your actions that you care.

Remember this.

Be careful, be a good friend, and be an advocate, if you really do care as much as your Twitter page would suggest. Put the words in the comments section into action, and do not be a bystander. Be a Swede, for goodness sake. Be a voice of reason; a good influence. Be a teacher. Be a hero for your generation and generations to come. But above all else, do your best to be a good person. And if you are a good person, you'll never have to ask what that entails.

Cover Image Credit: nbcnews.com

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Protect Children, Not Guns

It's time to save innocent lives.

School shootings are happening every day around the world and innocent children’s lives are being taken. However, the day-to-day school shootings aren’t brought to our attention unless a significant amount of people die. Personally, I am fed up with continuously hearing about these terrifying school shooting scenarios because nothing is being done to prevent them from reoccurring.

The recent shooting at Stonemason Douglass High School was right near my hometown in Boca Raton, Florida. I felt particularly emotional and devastated because I’ve been to that campus many times for sporting events. I felt the chills knowing that the hallways that I had once walked through were under attack and covered in bodies.

When will it be enough? When will something be done to stop mentally unstable teenagers from being able to purchase a gun? What kind of country doesn’t allow teenagers to purchase alcohol on their own but grants them permission to purchase their very own assault rifle? Something needs to change regarding the gun laws due to the number of times that horrific events, such as the Stonemason Douglass High School massacre, have occurred.

Those innocent victims left for school that morning not knowing that they would end up either injured or dead. They said bye to their parents on their way to school and never made it back home. Children’s learning environments should be a safe space that promotes comfort and care. Children and teenagers shouldn't have to go to school each day living in fear due to a potential attack or shooter.

Mental health issues are one of the major reasons that these attacks are occurring; however, the biggest issue is the gun laws. Mental health issues, in essence, are internal problems that individuals feel on a personal level. A majority of mental health cases are disguised until the individual lashes out on either themselves or others around them.

Therefore, we can not say that any teenager has the right to purchase a gun because no one will truly know whether or not that person has a secret mental disorder or a violent agenda. In the presidential response to the school shooting “mental health” was emphasized as the major issue that needed to be addressed. However, this is just a minor part of a much greater issue. Mental health can be treated step by step; however, this will not solve the shooting and the gun issues due to the fact that a majority of mental health cases are disguised. The 19-year-old shooter at Douglass high school was able to put on an act as he walked in to purchase his very own assault rifle.

There was no way to judge this boy by his cover; therefore, his mental health issue and plans were kept a secret until he lashed out. Mental health issues are all around us; however, we can not distinguish the individuals who have a violent agenda versus those who genuinely want to be helped; therefore, we can not provide teenagers access to deadly weapons.

Our government and laws must start enforcing stricter gun laws in order to prevent more innocent children’s lives from being taken away. The younger generations are being exposed to traumatizing, horrific acts of crime and violence at such a young age and they will never be the same. It is the government’s obligation to make sure that children grow up and are educated in a safe, nourishing environment as opposed to an environment in which they fear random acts of violence. In order to help restore the peace and comfort that used to be prevalent amongst all schools and communities, the gun laws must be changed and access to violent weapons must be prevented.

Cover Image Credit: Hakan Erenler

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Cornell Fraternity Reprimanded For Hosting 'Pig Roast'

"Continuing to allow such students to prowl a college campus rather than face expulsion appears a rather questionable decision set forth by Cornell elites."

After receiving numerous reports, recent investigations were launched leading to the uncovering of a rather appalling contest used to determine incoming pledges of Cornell University's chapter of Zeta Beta Tau.

The fraternity was found guilty of administering a competition in which pledges were awarded points for initiating sexual intercourse with female students. However, unlike many similar contests popularized through rushes hosted by fraternities across the nation, Zeta Beta Tau coined their particular competition the "pig roast" in honor of their unique tiebreaker ritual. Should two or more pledges find themselves at a tie, the one who sleeps with the largest woman wins.

After the university's investigations confirmed the legitimacy of their reports in January, Zeta Beta Tau has been placed on a two year probation period in which the fraternity is required to employ a live-in adviser in order to enforce the proper conduct of current members and regularly educate them on the issue of sexual assault. In addition, members will be expected to take part in a minimum of two campus events in recognition of Cornell's Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

The question remains, however, whether a slap on the wrist such as this has truly done the women involved justice. Or, perhaps, presuming the acts were consensual, these women were only victimized through the humiliation of being unknowingly chosen for such a ritual rather than the sexual act itself. Therefore, can one lawfully designate this an act of sexual assault?

If a woman consents to a sexual encounter, she has not suddenly fallen victim to her partner. Rather, in this case, she is suffering the consequences of sleeping with a perfect stranger whose motives remained unclear. A brief look at any news source today would prove that this aftereffect is seemingly minor in comparison to the many things that happen to women who make similar choices. Although, this is not to say that the women involved deserved to be used this way by any means.

While arguments from either side of the issue of victimization may very well continue to remain a matter of opinion, it can be universally agreed that the actions of the Zeta Beta Tau members were resoundingly wrong based on natural principles. Another's body is not to be disrespected and sexually exploited for one's gain. Thus, continuing to allow such students the privilege to prowl a college campus rather than face expulsion appears a rather questionable decision set forth by Cornell elites.

Cover Image Credit: Guest of a Guest

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