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When the jokes go too far

How our words affect the culture we live in

Sam Jones | Echo

Not many other topics seem to be drawing as much attention as the discussion of rape culture. I would say ― and I believe this opinion to be quite popular ― that rape is one of the worst crimes that can be committed. I also believe that in no circumstance whatsoever is the blame of the rape to fall on the victim, regardless of how the victim was dressed or behaving. There is never any justification for a crime as horrendous as rape.

What we view in our culture can have a big effect

What we view in our culture can have a big effect

But what does rape culture refer to specifically? As opposed to meaning a culture where rape is tolerated or encouraged, “rape culture” refers to a culture in which rape may be made more typical due to jokes, actions and primitive mindsets of individuals, specifically males.

Josh Craton, Wengatz hall director, spoke at the Global Engagement rape culture panel a few weeks ago.

“A lot of rape culture stems from modesty culture, and questioning what women were wearing or how they were acting,” Craton said. “Many derogatory terms used to describe women often come from how they are dressed or how they act. Many individuals in culture would find it ‘understandable’ why those types of women would be the victims of rape, and that is not how we can think as a culture.”

The way that a woman dresses, even if it is provocative, should never justify rape. It also is not irregular to hear terms such as “skank” or “whore” tossed around in everyday conversation, and to thus think less of those particular women, or women as a whole.

Sophie Finlay, senior at Taylor, recently took part on a panel regarding rape culture.

“Language shapes culture,” Sophie said. “It’s the same with rape culture.”

High school and college males often have a stigma of making crude jokes and sadly, that stereotype is often true. Insensitive jokes regarding women and sex may not be as prevalent on Taylor’s campus, but that mindset is still present, as we are still largely shaped by culture.

According to the Taylor University clery report of 2017, there have been no found rape incidents on campus in the past four years. This statistic is reassuring of the great community that Taylor holds. I believe that the Godly, positive community that we foster here at Taylor plays a big role in keeping crimes such as rape at a minimum. Does this mean that incidents of rape have not happened on Taylor’s campus? Absolutely not. Jesse Brown, Taylor’s Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator, inferred that just because there was insufficient evidence of an incident does not mean that it didn’t happen. After all, rape is the lowest reported crime in America.

How are we, then, called to respond, and to assure that rape never happens on our campus? As followers of Christ, we are called to a higher standard of living. Paul writes that we are called to think and act according to the Spirit, as opposed to the flesh. I encourage anyone reading this article to take into consideration the words and jokes that you use on campus. Are they honoring to God? Are the respectful of women? As a campus, let’s think before we speak in order to foster and cultivate this great community that we have at Taylor. Language shapes culture. Let’s start shaping Taylor’s culture in the most Godly way we can.

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