It seems that the voice of men has been lost among those of feminists. Not to give feminists a bad rap–I would consider myself an example of living a feminist lifestyle, independent and hardworking as any man–but the statistics, facts and stories concerning rape culture are stacked up against men. When the word “rape” is mentioned I will admit that my first thought is crimes against women by men. As a culture, especially on a college campus, we forget that men can be victims as well, and that, in making our own voices heard, men are often silenced.
Ask any man on campus what he thinks about the topic of rape or rape culture and I guarantee they will refuse to comment or plan their words carefully so as not to offend. How do we expect to have a conversation about issues concerning sexual assault if half of the population is silenced? According to a study by the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, only three percent of college men report surviving rape. With one rape apparently occurring every 21 hours, how many are going unreported from men?
It terms of safety on Wittenberg’s campus I feel relatively fine. I have experienced catcalling when walking home alone at night and have seen questionable behavior on behalf of men and women at parties. But I like to think of Wittenberg as a true community of students that live and work together; I’m proud of the men of our school as a whole and wish to share a couple experiences that make me think this way:
1. I will admit to drinking too much at party a year ago. I also admit that this is unsafe behavior and because my friends left the party, I found myself in an unfavorable situation. A group of five fraternity men were kind enough to escort me home by walking me across campus all the way to my home making certain I arrived safely. After I made it inside they told me to have a good evening and left.
2. A gentleman of a different fraternity checked on my well-being after an ex-boyfriend drunkenly shouted obscenities at me, making a scene. Although I was upset, he calmed me down after my ex left and took time to listen to my story, offering his own advice.
I would like offer thanks to all of the men who stick up for women and go against the norm that has been created in our minds due to rape culture. This is not to devalue the conversations we have on campus about such issues–they are absolutely necessary. However, my biggest fear that the good things men do are also being silenced or at least overlooked. On a college campus, we need to remember events like A Mile in Her Shoes and Take Back the Night, and also think about the voices that remain silent in our conversations concerning rape culture.