I was at a friends house when the topic of college rape arose.  I mentioned that I knew of someone who had been accused and prosecuted for sexual assault. My friend was quick to jump in and say,

“Oh, Im sure he didn’t rape anyone. The girl probably was drunk and regretted it in the morning. It happens all the time.”

“Yeah!”, my other friend chimed in,  “That happens a lot. Like girls dressing all slutty then getting drunk at frat parties..”

Did I mention that both of my friends are 19 year old women?

In a few sentences, my friends had epitomized slut and victim shaming. In that moment, I felt enraged that my female friends had perpetuated rape culture.  I also felt sad. Sad for every victim who has been or ever will be doubted because of the mainstream ideas surrounding sexual assault. When we allow ideas like this to be accepted, we only isolate the true victims  and discourage them from reporting.  It makes me sad to know that if I were to ever become a victim of sexual assault, I likely would not be believed. And for the record: statistical studies indicate false reports make up two percent or less of the reported cases of sexual assault. (Roger Williams University, 2012)

Our culture of victim shaming is present in subtle ways. During O-Week, I was constantly reminded to watch my drink and only walk in groups. Don’t get me wrong; these are practical tips. But essentially, they tell women that they can behave in a certain way to avoid being victimized.

But, why don’t we tell men similar things? Why aren’t there anti-rape campaigns targeting women? Why don’t we focus on telling men not to rape, instead of telling women how to not get raped?

I propose that we educate men about what constitutes rape. In North Carolina, having sex with someone who is legally drunk is considered rape. Perhaps we should make it a focus during O Week to educate our students about the laws of consent, so that no one may ever revert to Robin Thicke’s montra of “blurred lines”.

How about we teach young men that when a woman says stop, they stop? Or that if a woman (or man) is drunk or unconscious, they should help them, instead of taking advantage of them?

Our society needs a paradigm shift as it relates to our sexual assault prevention efforts. How about we stop teaching women how to not be a victim and instead attack the culture that creates the perpetrators instead?

I dream of a day when my daughter can walk down the street without the fear of being assaulted. And yes, I think that I should be able to wear whatever the hell I want without being labeled as a slut. This idea that men cannot control their impulses is archaic and offensive.

For Gender Violence Awareness Week, anonymous writers have submitted their story. The story that was posted on Monday particularly moved me. To whoever wrote it, I applaud you. You are so brave and courageous for sharing your story with us. Thank you. I hope that whoever reads it will be inspired to treat anyone who has experienced sexual assault with the compassion and love that they deserve, instead of with the judgment and shame that has characterized our culture.


Counselors and advocates at the Duke University Women’s Center are available to provide a confidential private space to get support and help. They can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 919-886-6814


8 Responses to Just Say No To Rape.

  1. Robert S. says:

    Great article. Haters suck !

  2. Anon says:

    “But, why don’t we tell men similar things? Why aren’t there anti-rape campaigns targeting women? Why don’t we focus on telling men not to rape, instead of telling women how to not get raped?”

    …because rapists aren’t going to listen to you when you tell them not to rape. It’s simply logical to direct prevention education toward the victims of crimes rather than the perpetrators. Do women have to argue with everything?!!

  3. Ho Chi Mo Chi says:

    …Said the now-outed porn actress with some other shady bits of web presence…

  4. John says:

    Asking that question is like asking a bank robber to not rob a bank..people who commit crimes don’t care what their victims think or they wouldn’t be committing the crime to begin with.
    Also this article is man-hating in that implies that only men are capable of rape. They have plenty of women who commit sexual crimes against children and other women and even on occasion men..the most recent rape was by a woman who used a gun to force a man to fondle her..another example was a man who was unconscious and a woman raped him..so this narrative that women are incapable of sex crimes is like saying women are incapable of murder,theft etc..also why doesn’t the author ask women to not lie about rape? Brian Banks served 5 years over a lie..Jameis Winston name was dragged through the mud over a lie..the author doesn’t even acknowledge that when men do rape they are harshly punished in the justice system and society..women who rape and women who lie about rape are either not punished as harshly or not prosecuted at all..

  5. Horatio says:

    Does this article also refers to Rape Porn like that Duke student did? Where she got choked, slapped, spat on her face, called a slut, whore and fat?

  6. Anonimity says:

    Hey, let’s educate thief & robbers to not do crime, and lets not educate people on how to prevent themselves from being victims.

  7. Cristina Ungstad Yu says:

    I think the author makes a lot of good points.

  8. Denis says:

    Not all rapists know they’re committing rape. There seem to be a lot of idiots out here in the comments who look at rape in a very one-dimensional way. You think it’s all about an intentionally malicious act.

    A lot of rapists don’t consider themselves as such. They think they’re just having a drink hookup, or someone who gets creepy quiet is just a bad lay.

    Fucking wrong.

    The military went further to define rape to include definitions for consent. When either party has alcohol (or any other intoxicating substance) in their system they cannot get or give consent, so any sexual act while under the influence is rape if anyone calls it that. The military is taught to look out for their friends, pull them back if it looks like something is gonna happen.

    Does it always work? Hell no. Military gets its fair share of sexual assault hearings. And every idiot who doesn’t step in because they’re trying to be a good wingman or whatever is tried, too, because they’re accessories. And yeah, you can have sex while drunk and maybe everyone did have a good time and there’s no harm. But just because our moral compasses have gone all shitty and hedonistic doesn’t mean anyone saying they’re raped is lying, or just regrets their decision. A girl can dress however she wants… doesn’t mean you can just go ramming into her because she “deserves it”.

    This article was suggesting a change in culture. It ain’t a bad change. Only those self preserving assholes who are too blind to see they may have caused permanent emotional harm to a person should object.

    And yeah, the writer may have come out as a porn star… pretty sure that doesn’t detract from the piece at all. Porn stars should be lawyers when defining consensual sex. And I can guarantee you’ll never see “getting raped” in her Things That Turn Me On.

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