Lauren F. Mississippi

Well, What Were You Wearing?

The recent increase in trivializing rape culture by Americans is detrimental to American society. Instead of providing victims with comfort and support, they are often faced with demeaning questions that place the blame on them. Never before has a president put any effort into publicly challenging Americans on this issue. You can change that.

Dear Future President,

I am writing this letter to you about the increase of young Americans normalizing rape culture. The statistics of reported rapes by both males and females vs. that of how many accused are actually ever investigated, much less brought to trial, are terrifying. The scariest part is the fact that this norm has been nourished by everyone from pop culture media to our own mothers, telling us to change because they fear what will happen to us if we wear that low cut top. Even in our schools we are given pages of rules dictating how to dress because our clothes will “distract the boys from learning”, instead of teaching men to have enough respect for women to control themselves. I watch girls being called out of class, missing lessons, because they were forced to leave the room to measure their skirt. When this is practiced religiously in classrooms for twelve years, it gives young girls the implication that men’s education is more important than their own. The problem begins here. Women are given the idea that men are unable to control themselves, and that if any act of sexual assault is committed against them, it’s their own fault for something as trivial as how they were dressed.

The media also receives a lot of the blame. Degrading remarks about women are perpetuated daily in headlines, in misanthropic and misogynistic music videos and lyrics. Also, there is a failure to address rapists as just that, and the refusal to acknowledge and speak out against a popular celebrity’s crimes against women simply because one enjoys the content they produce.

These issues have been brought back to public attention as the cases of men such as Bill Cosby and Brock Turner come to light. Due of the lack of media coverage or the down-play of the seriousness of the crime, many men get off with little or no punishment. This proves true as many have no idea that some of the popular actors they love and watch today have been convicted of sexual assault or harassment. Society conveniently seems to forget Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist, John Lennon admitted to repeatedly beating women, Chris Brown infamously beat Rihanna, and Rob Lowe committed statutory rape with a sixteen year old. All of the aforementioned men have gone on to have wildly successful careers, and go down as some of the most well-known and well-loved artists of our time, even after admitting to the crimes they have committed.

In conclusion, I understand that there is no definite solution to a problem that is culturally based, but there has also never been a president that has publicly spoken out against sexual assault. It is impossible to change the views of everyone, but one speech from a person in your position of power could inspire someone who goes on to make a difference.


Lauren F.