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I am a Google addict. So when I heard about the Lisa Simpson settlement, I sat down at my computer to find out the story’s details since the football rape scandal was before my time.
Imagine my surprise at what I discovered. Instead of sympathetic responses or concern for these two women who say they have been raped, I found more than one article condemning these two women for their allegations.
More than one online response to the settlement berates the university for giving into these “gold-digging and lying women.”
What disturbed me were not the concerns the public had about whether the University should have settled or not. What disturbed me was the reaction the public had towards Simpson for saying she was raped.
Yes, there are falsely reported rapes. And all allegations should be thoroughly investigated, but we need to stop immediately placing blame on women who are brave enough to stand up and come forward.
For a society that claims we are so progressive with women’s rights, it is interesting how sometimes we can be so backwards.
Rape is a “gray area” topic. Exactly what constitutes rape can vary enormously from person to person. Is it verbally saying no? Is it when you have sex, but don’t really want to?
Coming up with a definitive answer is not necessarily what matters. What matters are the emotional and physical damages that a person is left with when they believe that they have been raped.
As a female college student I am very aware of rape. I have seen friends deal with it. I myself have been in these “gray areas.” It’s been pounded into my head over and over what rape is, and especially how it is my responsibility to avoid it.
That “climate of hostility towards women?” It is definitely there at some parties. While I haven’t yet decided if it is the university’s responsibility to monitor it, I do think it exists. What else do you call a party full of guys who are expecting to get laid before the end of the night because that’s what has been implied to them?
Our society likes to put the blame of rape on women. It’s our fault for going to that party. It’s our fault that we dress the way we do. It’s our fault that we flirt and make out and do not want it to go any further. It’s our fault that we get too drunk to get out of a bad situation.
These are the common responses when rape is involved. “Well, maybe she shouldn’t have been that drunk,” or “Did you see what she was wearing? She was asking for it.”
How exactly, does one ask to be raped?
This is the type of stigma our society has attached to rape.
From what I have learned in my classes, most rapes go unreported. This can be for a variety of reasons. Rape can be incredibly difficult to prove, some girls are unsure themselves if it was rape, and it can be difficult to admit when something like that has happened.
Look at the backlash Simpson has received – it’s no wonder girls do not want to report rape.
I cannot even begin to imagine the pain that Simpson has gone through. Not only has she had to deal with the emotional ramifications of being raped, but she’s been thrown into the public eye and criticized for coming forward to report this horrific crime.
I applaud Simpson for having the guts to tell the public about what happened to her. I applaud CU for giving her the money. The settlement is being paid for by university insurance money, not the taxpayer’s wallets.
Most importantly, I applaud CU for making an effort to change. The resigning and firings of campus employees that happened years ago was a start. The promise from President Hank Brown to make things different will hopefully bring change in the future.
Simpson said in a statement that she hopes the changes will prevent other college students from having the same experience she did.
I hope so too.
Contact Campus Press Staff Editor Julia Yugel at email@example.com