Student reported rape list at UChicago

This raises a lot of issues around rape and rape culture that are worth discussing. It is true that the student-distributed list is unofficial and therefore open to accusatory revenge-motivated public shaming, but the fact that students felt there was a need for it perhaps reflects a systemic failure in the institution to punish rapists. While false rape accusations to occur, if we look up the numbers they’re much rarer than many would believe (less than 8% of rape accusations turn out to be false, and Buzzfeed humorously quotes the odds of being falsely accused of rape in the US as 5 times less likely than winning the lottery, while statistics for rape are still ridiculously high (1 in 4 women).

So even if the list wasn’t necessarily the right way to address issues of campus rape, it (and the general reaction to it) does expose the fact that we as a society have a shocking tendency to sympathize more with the rapist than with the survivor. We tend to ask questions like “what about their careers? what about their lives? they’re fine, upstanding, successful people!” which distract from the fact that they’ve emotionally scarred another person, for life, by committing the act of rape. We place the future potential of the rapist at an equal or higher value than the current state of the survivor; we tend to want to give second chances or excuses to rapists while blaming victims who will have a very hard time getting a “second chance” at having a normal life. This classic ingroup/outgroup behavior needs to be recognized and addressed. So to me, the fact that students felt it was necessary to publish a list such as this one reflects frustration with institutional failures in handling rape cases and helping the survivor. There are too many cases where the survivor, not the rapist, is asked to leave school, go to therapy, or take a gap year. The fact that this still happens makes this list worth talking about, and hopefully universities take it as a pointed finger towards their blind spots in dealing with rape.

Semirelated thing, where a Columbia student also decided to take matters into her own hands to spread awareness and start a conversation via an amazing performance art piece.

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