Rape culture is a growing problem within our society (Maxwell 2014). The time to address this scourge on our society is by accepting that it exists and to confront the issue directly. Whether it is in grade school, high school, in college, in the military or on the job–raising awareness about rapes and empowering the victims to fight back is the first steps towards justice.
Too often, we see the victims blamed for the crimes perpetrated against them. When these crimes go to court, and the perpetrator is found guilty, we are witnessing unusually lenient sentences handed out by the courts. The Indy Star reported on May 26, 2014, Judge Kurt Eisgruber (Guerra 2014) sentenced a convicted rapist to home detention. This is not an isolated incident, but more of a growing trend.
Is rape really a crime? In the United States of America, is rape treated like a serious crime? When rape kits are not tested, rapists go free (Crocket 2014). Not testing rape kits is not enforcing the law. Worse, it put people in danger. More damaging than that, not testing rape kits sends a clear message, that rape isn’t a high priority crime, and I question if it is really considered a crime at all.
Schools and colleges are responsible for the care and safety of students while they are on the campus of the schools. Although it is impossible to guarantee the complete safety of all students, we can arm students and faculty with information about the dangers of sexual assaults , and provide resources if the worst should happen. Students in high school and college are in the highest risk age groups for sexual assault and rape. 44% of attacks occur before the victim is age 18, and 80% of assaults occur before the victim is age 30. 2/3 of the victims know their attackers (RAINN n.d.).
The transition from middle school to high school and the transition from high school to college is very challenging for young people. Students have more freedom in high school as compared to middle school, and students are almost completely autonomous when they leave for college. It is the first time many of them will be away from home for any extended amount of time. Chances are, they or someone they know will be sexually assaulted or raped, or they already know someone that has been sexually assaulted or raped.
The apparent will or incentive to prosecute rapists just isn’t there. Of every 100 rapes, only 46 will be reported—12 will result in arrest—9 will be prosecuted—5 will be convicted—and a mere 3 will spend even a single night in jail. Against this backdrop, we must empower these young adults with the tools they need to protect themselves.
“I am Medusa” is a pro-active program to prevent the cultural norms that perpetuate rapes and sexual abuse. It includes an animated short, roughly six minutes in length, that tells a brief story of the mythical character Medusa. There is also information and facts about victims and perpetrators of sexual violence. The program develops a pro-active plan to challenge and help eliminate the cultural norms that normalize sexual violence