Target: Barbara Jones, Miami University’s Vice President for Student Affairs
Goal: Educate students of Miami University on the seriousness of sexual assault and the danger of rape jokes
Ohio’s Miami University has come under fire for a flier discovered in a dorm room that gives advice on how to get away with rape. It includes such recommendations as using date rape drugs and attacking women in their dorm rooms. Aside from holding a meeting with the male students living in the dorm where the flier was found, the school administration’s only response has been to bring in extra security and get the police involved in determining the culprit. The school must educate the students on sexual violence prevention instead of allowing them to continue to trivialize such a serious issue.
Administrators have tried to minimize the problem by claiming that because it only involved a small number of students, there is no need to notify or discuss the issue with the rest of the school. However, the numerous sexual assaults on the campus in the last few years make it clear that this incident must be taken seriously
An anti-violence campus organization has started working to combat the school’s culture of accepting sexual violence against women, and it would be in the school’s best interest to support the organization in doing everything possible to prevent more assaults.
Although likely meant as a joke, the flier is an example of rape culture, which encourages sexual violence by making light of it. Jokes about rape make it seem so mundane that it begins to be seen as an intrinsic aspect of the culture, taking away the desire to try to change the culture. These jokes give the impression that rape is secretly more prevalent than it actually is, and that being a rapist is a normal part of masculinity.
The flier that was found in a Miami University dorm encouraging students to rape women is indicative of an environment that is unsafe for the school’s female population. Although the authors might have meant it as a joke, others could have taken it seriously, and these types of jokes perpetuate a culture of violence against women. The school must take responsibility for the actions of its students and start educating them on how to change the violent culture on campus in order to prevent future sexual violence.
Dear Barbara Jones,
A flier that was recently discovered in a Miami University dorm contained appalling advice about raping female students and suggests a very serious issue on the campus that must be addressed; jokes that trivialize rape only normalize violence and allow it to continue.
It is not enough to just discuss the issue with the male students from that particular dorm, nor is it sufficient to punish the students responsible for writing the list. As the school has experienced a number of sexual assaults in the last few years, it is clear that the entire student body must be educated on sexual violence prevention.
Please implement a sexual assault education program that informs students of the serious nature of this type of violence so that women might feel safer living on campus.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: vomsorb via Flickr.