New Straits Times

Pu ta sto p to ‘rape cu ltu re’

- ELIE W IESEL Nobel Peace Prize winner

of rape culture.

The documentar­y,

(2015), explores incidence of sexual assault on college campuses in the United States and the failure of many college administra­tions in conducting investigat­ions and carrying out justice for the victims. It painted a bleak picture of how money and prestige almost always overpower the need to do the right thing.The truth could not be simpler ― too many people in positions of power simply do not care.

The documentar­y highlighte­d 135 cases of alleged sexual assault reported at Harvard University from 2009 to 2013 but there were only 10 cases of suspension. There is a culture of protecting those who bring in money for the university, in turn creating an unsafe environmen­t where students cannot trust anyone to help them. Other worrying statistics point in this same heartbreak­ing direction. David Lisak and Paul M. Miller in their work,

said that “less than eight per cent of men in college commit more than 90 per cent of sexual assaults”.

In an article for the American multiplatf­orm magazine, writer Marina Koren discusses the Stanford Rape Case. She writes about two letters which sparked a conversati­on at the national level regarding sexual assault; one was written by the victim and the other by Dan Turner, the father of the person who raped her.

Koren writes the following regarding the victim’s letter: “In the 7,244-word letter, the woman provides a harrowing, detailed account of her attempted rape in January 2015 and the struggle of trying to survive it. At times, she directly addresses Turner, telling him how that night destroyed her life.”

The letter from Dan, which was read during the sentencing hearing, sparked an outcry. Koren writes that in the letter, “the elder Turner pleads with the judge for leniency for his son, explaining how that night had destroyed his life”. However, the destructio­n of the assaulter’s life is not one that was forced upon him. Unlike that of the victim, it was a choice he made himself.

Koren also mentions the following regarding the judge presiding the case: “But the judge had ordered much less, saying a harsher sentence would have a ‘severe impact’ on Turner, a star swimmer who could have made it to the Olympics.”

Power that an entitled few hold over others should never give them a free pass to sexually assault another person. Power does not equate with the freedom to take away a person’s dignity. And it is not merely the courts that should be discussing this, it should also include us, the people.

I suggest staying away from fraternity houses. A report published by the

which is published 24 times a year, notes the following statistics: “Fraternity men were more than three times more likely to engage in sexually aggressive acts than non-fraternity men.” In 2010, fraternity brothers at Yale University marched through campus yelling, “No means yes, yes means anal.”

Everyone should seek an education as the path to the betterment of the self begins with the mind. W e cannot fail those who suffer, it is our collective responsibi­lity as humans to love and care for one another. Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie W iesel said “the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifferen­ce ... . ”

The op p osite of love isn othate,it’s in differen ce...

The writer is an adventurou­s English and Creative W riting student at The University of Iowa in the United States. Email him at

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