Stopping Rape Culture Starts at Schools

Monday, April 1, 2013

Recently, we witnessed the horrific acts in Steubenville, Ohio. I am purposeful in mentioning the entire town. The town comprises the parents of kids who bullied the victim and advised their kids not to cooperate with authorities, faculty who were silent, and an “educational” environment that bred entitlement and lack of accountability for its most visible community group — athletes. The coach, who told the boys he would take care of it, is still coaching.

And I ask, what are the continued messages being sent?

More reports of rape and bullying at Torrington High School in Connecticut and Southern Columbia Area High School in Pennsylvania show that the rape culture starts at a young age. In communities such as these, we see preferential treatment of athletes, who are often not held accountable. We often witness a complete lack of leadership by authority figures wielding immense power. The coach is often visibly dominant in communities where sports reign. So why aren't the coaches setting zero tolerance policies on issues of sexual violence? These boys are able to rape with impunity because they are told they can — by the town, by school and community leaders, by their parents.

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