Rape Culture On College Campuses

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Recent headlines have highlighted the fact that rape culture is prevalent in our society, most noticeably on college campuses. To understand why this is a social issue we first have to understand what rape culture entails. Rape culture is a set of assumptions that reinforces male sexual aggression and disregards violence against females (Hildebrand & Najdowski, 2015, p. 1062). Simplified, it is an environment where sexual violence is normalized and most of the time excused.
One out of five females in the United States are sexually assaulted by a male at some point in their lifetime (Hildebrand & Najdowski, 2015, p. 1059) and college aged females are four times more likely to be a victim of rape than any other age group (Burnett et al.,
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This can be related to C. Wright Mills idea of the power elite, in which those ruling our country have the political and economical power to make decisions that keep their power intact (Marshall, 2012). We have historically had a patriarchal society in which men have held the political power and women were prohibited from it. McCammon, Campbell, Granberg, and Mowery (2001) discuss the suffragette movement and how along with the ability to vote, it led to another the passing of laws that allowed women broader citizen rights and helped to change gender roles (p. 61). This helped with the movement’s success by changing the thoughts of those in politics about the role of women in society (McCammon et al., 2001, p. 65). A woman’s role was clearly defined as being rooted in domestic work and family life, while men’s roles were in business and politics (McCammon et al., 2001, p. 53). This all started to change with the suffrage movement in that women started to enter the professional workforce, obtain higher levels of education, and became more involved in political life resulting in a shift of gender roles as women were entering long held male domains (McCammon et al., 2001, p. 53). Haferkamp and Smelser (1992) discuss further changes regarding social equality and how in the 1970’s the social movements of the 1960’s shifted towards women’s rights. This is when women focused on equal opportunities both in private and public capacities (Haferkamp & Smelser, 1992, p.
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