There's no doubt that Ohio State is beautiful at night: Ohio Stadium is glowing, the Oval is serene, and far in the distance is a rumble of the Best Damn Band in the Land practicing "Hang on Sloopy." Although sunset highlights some of the campus's best feature, the chill of the night also awakens something else.
As a young woman, I've been educated for many years about the dangers of walking alone, wearing certain things, acting a certain way because it will attract "unwanted attention," and that's the way society taught me how it works. I'm vulnerable to attack since I am a woman. Granted, I understand that crime happens to everyone and walking alone at night is dangerous to anyone, but I can't help but feel that because I'm a woman I'm scared to walk alone at night.
I would argue that rape culture is one of the many culprits. Rape culture is a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse, and in an era of victim blaming following assaults on campus, it cannot be ignored that our culture has somehow instilled in people that women deserve to be attacked.
23.1% of undergraduate women experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation according to RAINN.org, and as I walk back to my dorm I always make sure someone is with me or I go as fast as I can so that I do not become a part of that statistic. I can't imagine the pain and suffering victims of college violence have been through; I never want to have to explain to my parents that someone deemed me an object for their using. I never want my boyfriend to have to try to pick up my pieces. I am afraid because I want to remain myself. It's not enough to erase the fear that lingers.
I want to be able to enjoy the view as I walk home in the evenings. I wish I didn't have to turn my head every ten seconds to see if I'm being followed. It sounds like a tall order, but is it possible?
Society must teach both boys and girls alike that everyone deserves respect, and boys must be raised in a way that does not perpetuate the privilege they seem to have. The legal system must uphold the punishments it has deemed acceptable for crimes against women (ex. the court failing the girl Brock Turner raped at Stanford).
Women are no longer objects, and their bodies are not the property of others to objectify. Society claims that we are far removed from that notion, but we really are not as long as women are continuously attacked by their peers on college campuses.