A video has emerged showing hundreds of people standing and watching while an incapacitated woman was gang raped on a beach in Florida during spring break celebrations last month. The police officer investigating the incident said the footage was the "most disgusting, sickening thing" he had ever seen.
It is appropriate for celebrities, and especially female celebrities to open up discussions about the treatment that they face at the hands of the paparazzi and the media in general, but it is not appropriate to compare it to the very specific act of physical and psychological violence that rape is. Certainly not whilst victim-blaming is so prevalent, and whilst it is so hard to get a conviction.
Here's the resounding message: 'Don't get raped!'. Why is there no talk telling people not to rape, and teaching them what constitutes rape? Considering that most victims of sexual assault are assaulted by somebody they know, the 'don't walk home alone' message is proving to be falling short in protecting students. We need something more.
New laws followed the inquiry report on stalking, voyeurism, sexual harassment, sentencing and mandatory police reporting of complaints of sexual attacks but, laws are not enough and as time passes and another woman is raped, the question is whether all the efforts of the report writers to urge a change in mind-set have failed.
In the 60s and 70s students were often required to live on campus under adult supervision- there were 'rules of the house' and they were enforced. Limiting drinking or eliminating fraternities entirely are unlikely to have the desired affect. They are more likely to send these unacceptable activities underground - off campus.
I'm getting pretty tired of explaining to people why rape jokes aren't funny. Instead, I have begun asking the perpetrators of such jokes why they think the jokes are funny. Desperately, I seek humour in punchlines about holding a knife to a woman's throat, about binding her with rope, about "raping that bitch".