Everyone can help curb sexual assault

According to the United States Center for Disease Control, between 20 and 25 percent of college women experience sexual assault, attempted rape or rape during their time in college. Rape is a very specific and escalated form of sexual assault that occurs in the United States about every two minutes according to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Last week, the Women’s Student Assembly addressed this appalling reality with its annual “Take Back the Night” event, enabling women to speak out against the horrific crimes of sexual assault and call for men to take a closer look at how they treat women.

The struggle to overcome this social problem is twofold: The legal system is ineffective at preventing the crime, and the culture of macho fails to encompass a genuine care and honor for women. The most effective solution would be a reformation of popular views on manhood.

Sexual assault convicts average between eight and nine years in prison while rape convicts average between 12 and 13 years, according to a past DOJ report. Conviction rates remain relatively low because of a lack of evidence and an unwillingness of witnesses to testify.

The punishments for sexual assault, given their low conviction rate, poorly prevent the crime.

Many solutions have been proposed to curb sexual assault and rape, but the crimes cannot be easily subdued.

Perhaps to make up for the low conviction rate, the punishment should be more severe. If sexual assaulters or rapists were sentenced to capital punishment, more would be deterred from the crime.

But the escalation of punishment to the  a death penalty would make criminals more likely to execute their victims and witnesses, since that murder would result in the same punishment as an assault. Thus, escalating the punishment of these sexual assault crimes might be inefficient or result in harsher crimes.

Aaron Rovner | Daily Trojan

One effective means to reduce the crime rate would be to remove the shame associated with the crime that prevents women from reporting their victimization and testifying against their assailants. But this has proven very difficult.

The most efficient and valuable prevention of sexual assault is to change the social mores surrounding “manliness.” The most relevant of these often unjust standards include the need for men to be “macho” and the increased respectability for those engaged in sexual relations with women — i.e., the more, the better.

These mores can lead to aggression and emotional detachment according to Gail Dines, an American Studies professor at Wheelock College in Boston. Because men want to be macho, they become more prone to committing sexually violent crimes.

The Feminist Review cites other studies that show sexual assault and rape to be crimes of sexual power and manipulation rather than sexual pleasure — a reason why rape is prevalent by conquering armies in times of war.

The solution to sexual assault crimes is rewriting the definition of manliness to include a genuine care and honor toward women.

If men truly put women before themselves, are willing to sacrifice for women and treat women as equals, the problem of sexual assault would greatly diminish.

People generally condemn sexual assault. However, the fight against this crime requires some intentionality and awareness on a practical level — particularly at college parties. The power to impede sexual crimes is in the hands of individuals, not any organization at large.

This power is particularly important for members of the respectable USC Greek community, which has traditionally developed campus, business and global leaders.

Although many women do not report their victimization, knowledge and rumors of the crimes in the Greek community  have spread, potentially deterring future leaders already on campus from joining the Greek system.

If we, men, take on a chivalrous attitude toward women, we could largely rid our campus of sexual assault. This solution can begin with just a few brave men dedicated to honoring women in their own circles and willing to confront someone acting inappropriately.

Curbing sexual violence does not require everyone to create picket lines at parties or any other form of political activism. Rather, these men will create a culture in their respective communities that breeds a natural accountability, allowing us to hold a higher standard for our university.

For those that really care about ending this grave injustice toward women, let us take on a heart of chivalry: a genuine and pure care for women. Let us honor each other until sexual assault and other abuses are rare.

Jensen Carlsen is a senior majoring in economics and mathematics and a member of Alpha Gamma Omega fraternity. His column “The Bridge” runs Wednesdays.

3 replies
  1. Liquid
    Liquid says:

    “ Why rape is prevalent by conquering armies in times of war.”
    Is because they cant get reprimanded!

    “The solution to sexual assault crimes is rewriting the definition of manliness to include a genuine care and honor toward women.”
    How exactly do you propose that? In fact I think that’s WHY men rape! We put way to much value into females. We should have a society that got laid more, not less! I’ve to rural parts of Italy where church doctrine teaches similar values to people and the whole monogamous spiel and those men, because of sexual repression are some of the most brusque and sexually harassing people I’ve ever meant. Do to the fact that men who don’t get laid rape. If a man was getting laid more than average, let’s say three girls a week, regularly, I doubt that he would “force” himself on an unsuspecting female. It’s the sexually frustrated chump, which I suspect that you yourself might be, that end up date-raping.

    The violent sexual-murders kind are not, and cannot be reformed I believe. Animals of a different nature, and really an entire, and separate article should be done for these people. I don’t endorse capital punishment, sorry Chuck Norris, I didn’t go to Sunday school, I was too busy playing with firecrackers and booby traps, but I was in Argentina five months ago, (their president is a woman by the way) and they were flirting around (no pun intended) with the idea of chemically castrating males who rape. Yes its very XII century but not only will it work! Because it would completely eliminate (ok, here comes a big word, get your dictionary page tab ready) recidivism they’ve completely lost all sexual drive, (lol). We rid their bad genetic defects out of the evolutionary pool, and save tax payers MONEY, because we would no longer have to feed them, shelter them, and clothe them, they would be scot free, albeit a few ounces lighter.

    Please stop it with this spiel about “treating them like equals”, heterosexual men don’t treat men like women because we don’t want to mate with them. Again, this Jensen fellow is only exasperating the problem by further cementing false truisms. If we started all “putting ourselves in front of women” and still got no poo-tang there would be even more civic, state, national, and interracial warfare. What women want is a man with some cajones who tells them, what to do, when to do it, & how to do it!
    “These few dedicated men” would not only be the laughing stock in the school, but I believe your protectionism would also be unwanted by the ladies (ladies your input is invaluable, please post your opinions on this particular issue). Alcohol has never made any do anything they didn’t want to do, it just enable them to do what they already wanted to do. Not only is it a crime, and I’m not condoning sexual intercourse with a passed out chic… even I have my limitations. And you Chuck Norris shouldn’t be comforting anybody, “acting inappropriate” because, one, you’re not the police and two… well theirs only pretty much one, you’re not the police.

  2. Ras
    Ras says:

    I am afraid this article assumes all rapes and sex assaults are committed by drunk frat boys who get too “hand-sy” and then eventually can not differentiate between consent and force against one’s will. Although that is definitely a problem I wonder if the author has ever walked through a State Penitentiary and looked at most of the men convicted of rape. It is rather naive to think by merely having the university community take a “chivalrous attitude toward women” – that this will prevent rape. The author seems to be someone who has been rather sheltered and believes people do not exist beyond the gates of this university. It has become fashionable to think rape exists only in date-rape scenarios. It is as if people no longer want to admit that there might be a total stranger that – gasp- is not even a student – gasp again- that might walk behind a female and sexually assault her – or worse. While I think men should always be encouraged to respect women, it would be giving ourselves a false sense of security to think the Ted Bundys, Willie Hortons and other monsters of the world will be swayed by this. The sad truth is women are raped everyday – every hour for that matter and one must try not to be one of them. Remain vigilant and do whatever you can to not be a statistic. Politically correct academics will cry this is like blaming the victim but I disagree. Car drivers should not run over children but that does not mean you let your toddler play in the streets.

  3. sexualharrassment101
    sexualharrassment101 says:

    If the chick snubs you…too bad. Develop in your character thick-skin and move on. There is nothing macho about imposing your physical will on a woman just because she snubbed your sexual overtures. What happened to old fashioned charm, wooing, etc.? Even if all these don’t work, just use them as a learning experience.

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