Dangerous Culture: Porn and Rape on College Campuses

Our colleges and universities have a real problem with sex. Or rather, with consent. Rape culture attitudes reign, unchecked by administration and often encouraged. Victims of sexual assault are dismissed by those in authority and their tormentors are protected, even upheld for their bravery in the face of adversity. These scenarios play themselves out in high school as well, but the environment of independence and substance abuse at universities is like a tinderbox. All of this is a direct result of our porn culture.

In the frat world, porn and the attitudes presented in it are the norm. Probably having viewed it before coming to college, young men are comfortably inundated with porn, and may be required to pledge a frat with their personal porn collections. Then these young men go out on campus and expect certain aspects of porn to manifest in their real life. They feel they are not expected to show respect to their female peers and instead objectify them openly to the point of outwardly encouraging rape.

These dangerous, denigrating attitudes mirror the exact attitudes in porn. Porn initiates males at a very young age to believe they are sexually dominant; that their desires overrule the need for consent. Young men who would usually treat their female peers as equals become predators when accepted into an environment of exclusivity that basically invented rape culture.

Miami University of Ohio had a problem when a student posted a flyer instructing in the “Top Ten Ways to Get Away with Rape.” A Yale frat ran around campus chanting “No means yes! Yes means anal!” Frats hold open discussions about who each member would like to rape or a girl’s “rape potential.”

Feminist writer, Soraya Chemaly, wrote for Salon:

[These activities] aren’t just denigrating to women or mindless fun for men. Images like these distributed on campus exist alongside the fact that 20-25% of women and 3% of men will be raped in college. And jokes about rape have real and negative effects on behavior… It encourages them to think of girls and women as body parts for pleasure and use — literally, as ‘things’ that don’t have autonomy or self-determination and whose permission is irrelevant. Things that are fungible and are violable. Things that should be silent.

Ignoring the effects of porn, universities are making the problem worse by inviting porn onto campus in Sex Week demonstrations along with various activities and instruction. One such example is  the Sexual Literacy Forum (SeLF) at Yale on November 15th. A featured lecture called “Why do we watch porn?” attempts to further normalize porn culture to students. Other campuses host similar events that promote porn culture, but fail to show how porn harms attitudes and relationships. Not to mention that it puts other students, females in particular, at risk for sexual assault and rape.

The direct links between using porn and rape have been proven time and again. These are our future leaders who are impeding their potential by shackling themselves with dangerously sexist mind-sets.

The Numbers

300+

NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

100+

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

93

NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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