The Student Campaign Against Rape (SCAR) held their first event of the spring semester Thursday, March 24th. The theme of this first event was a movie night dedicated to showing how rape and sexual assault are portrayed in the media. Many people disregard the concept that the use of rape and sexual assault themes is involved with media, but the truth is, rape culture does exist.
The movie night event consisted of two movies, first was a 2003 film titled “Monster,” which was based on a true story. It is about a woman becoming a prostitute to support herself and girlfriend, Selby. Later in the film she is raped, and from that point on the movie takes a drastic turn.
The idea of rape-revenge is brought up in the movie and becomes a catalyst throughout the rest of this viewing. The main character kills men she sees as rapists and steals their money and cars along the way.
The second movie, “Atonement” refers to a young writer and what she thinks she saw. In the movie, there is a brief rape scene followed by a false accusation on the young girl’s part. She swears to have seen the man’s face and claimed he was the culprit. Later in the movie, viewers find out who the rapist actually was and how every person’s life was affected by this false accusation.
With people normalizing the concept of rape in media and preaching ways to “not get raped” instead of to not rape just shows how society has constructed a certain view of this issue. Instead of telling boys and girls not to rape or sexually assault someone, society teaches girls at a young age that they shouldn’t be drinking or wearing certain clothes to provoke men.
As individuals have chosen not to believe in rape culture in the media, certain genres have surfaced among the media in response. For example, the film “Monster” is classified in the rape-revenge genre, whereas “Atonement” would be considered as romanticizing rape.
Rape revenge almost always starts out with unwanted sexual advances and eventually ends up showing how the victim copes with the situation. The revenge aspect usually portrays the victim killing the perpetrator or finding other means of getting even. There’s no doubt that some people don’t want to talk about rape, but these genres shine light on a topic that many people would rather ignore.
In some instances, rape is portrayed as a joking matter in the media. Certain films that show rape and sexual assault scenes could have continued the plot without involving rape. In these circumstances, sometimes using rape in the media isn’t the best idea and actually gives people a negative outlook on the victims and the problem as a whole.
The movie “Atonement” demonstrates this concept in a way because of how the constructed plot unfolds. Once viewers are aware of the false rape accusation, they begin to see how this negatively affects each of the main characters. Through this, people start thinking about false rape accusations as a problem, and not the entire idea of rape and sexual assault. The media creates this certain stigma about rape as something that shouldn’t be taken seriously. This usually ties back to an idea of “wronged women” making these false claims. The way the media portrays rape in this fashion makes it harder for victims to speak out and start building a case against the perpetrator in fear that people won’t believe their claims.
This same movie also shows how prominent romanticizing rape is in the media. The young writer has a crush on the main male character, but once she witnesses her older sister interacting with him, feelings change. The young writer sees this man as a sex addict and is appalled by how he carries himself. Later, this young writer claims that the main male character is the one who raped her cousin despite not actually seeing his face when caught in the act. Her older sister is in love with the man, and the audience is led to believe she loves a rapist until they find out the truth. Towards the end of the movie, viewers realize the cousin ends up marrying her rapist, causing a slew of reactions from the audience in regards to romanticizing rape in the media. Again, this takes away from people perceiving rape as a serious matter because of how it’s portrayed in movies and other forms of media.
In the midst of these two movies, the president and vice president spoke up about issues with rape culture in the media. The future SCAR executive board members also got up and spoke on behalf of the club. They gave the audience more insight to what SCAR does both inside and out of the community. They also spoke about the other resources available to students who are going through an issue.
For their first educational event of the spring semester, the Student Campaign Against Rape really focused on some of the ideas associated with rape culture in the media. They gave the audience key points to remember and think about throughout the two movies, like how rape and sexual assault is portrayed and if the use of rape and sexual assault was needed in the film to actually further the plot. It seemed like a good turnout for the event considering the members saw a lot of new faces in the audience. It looks like SCAR is getting the word out to the student body, and people are listening.