A Woman’s Perspective


Graphic by Mary Kroeck

Courtney Munson, Writer

Over the past several weeks, the topic of rape and rape culture has been in the spotlight. The Independent does not support, promote or condone rape or assault in any way, shape, form or to any degree. We wanted to take this opportunity to talk to our readers about why we believe this to be so. We offer you two perspectives here–one male, one female. We acknowledge that these views do not cover the entire breadth of rape culture, the impact rape can have on a person and their loved ones, account for the ways different genders or ethnic communities approach the topic. However, we hope these pieces are conversation starters and offer them as a way for our readers to think or rethink views about sexual assault.

The Independent


There exists a culture in America that puts at risk the emotional and physical safety of not just women, but also anyone along the gender spectrum.

Rape culture has a profound effect on our society and most likely affects more people than you think. Since sexual assaults are not always reported to authorities, statistics on these crimes can be deceptive. However, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center reported “one in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.”

Victims of sexual assault can suffer repercussions of reporting these crimes. Most attacks are perpetrated by acquaintances, so it is often hard for a survivor to feel they will be believed by others. Survivors could be met with questions of what they were doing to make them vulnerable or why they would be raped if they don’t necessarily fit the profile of an assault victim.

Sexual attacks are traumatizing events and the survivors face the physical and mental symptoms of trauma. Psychiatrist Anna Wolbert Burgess and sociologist Lynda Lytle Holmstrom developed the theory of Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS). RTS can greatly impact a survivor’s ability to properly recall the assault or attempted assault and explains that the attack can have a negative impact on the survivor’s life years later.

Most discussions about rape and sexual assault are about the survivors. I believe the need to feel powerful is the drive behind rape culture. So often, society looks to a victim’s behavior as the reason for their attack and excuse a man’s behavior for the attack by saying “men can’t control themselves.” So, a man can’t control himself, but a woman is supposed to control whether or not she is attacked? That notion astounds me.

Men can control their actions. Furthermore, proper education on sex and consent is crucial to stop future assaults.

Society needs to stop shaming rape victims. The way we talk about sexual assault needs to change. Survivors shouldn’t feel threatened to come forward and attackers need to know there are consequences to their actions.

I think sexual assault can be avoided if we look at the attackers, both male and female. Often abusers view their victims as subordinate and attacks are premeditated. In fact, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, eight of every 10 victims knew the person who attacked them.

Attackers are able to justify their actions when we, as a society, make jokes about rape, blame victims and are bystanders to such actions. So next time the issue of sexual assault is brought up, do your part and flip the script. Rather than letting someone question what the victim did to be assaulted, question the motives of the attacker. Moreover, understand rape culture, do your part to educate others and let’s finally end the abuse.