The Daily Gamecock

Rape culture not taken seriously by society

Recent cases highlight need for cultural shift

If you take a look at various news headlines that have appeared from these past few years, it’s clear that America has a severe problem due to our rape culture.

Rape culture, a term that is widely known but rarely understood, is a concept that links rape or sexual violence to a society that normalizes and excuses rape or sexual violence. Our justice system has a hard time properly convicting rapists. Our society frequently demonizes the victim, not the perpetrator and the victims themselves frequently don’t get the support and care they deserve; all of which are symptomatic of America’s troubling rape culture.

Take the ongoing case that’s occurring in a small town in Indiana for example. A 13-year-old girl was raped and impregnated by a 17-year-oldmale. While the fact that this event happened in the first place is horrific, the victim’s family is suffering from an onslaught of public condemnation. In addition, the victim’s family fears that the perpetrator’s punishment could be nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

And sadly, their fear of a light punishment for the perpetrator isn’t without merit and the public’s response to their ordeal isn’t without precedent. According to the prosecution for this particular case, the judge can sentence the teen from anything as simple as probation to as “severe” as being held by the Indiana Department of Corrections until he turns 21.

But perhaps more maddening is there are many other cases similar to this one. From the rapes in Cleveland, Texas to Steubenville, Ohio. It’s clear that we as a country need to reevaluate how we treat the severity of such a crime.