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Stop Supporting Rape Culture and Victim Blaming in Class Materials

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To Whom it May Concern: 

I am a student who is enrolled in a Kinesiology 198 (of which there is an online component), and I was extremely disappointed to find the following question on Quiz C regarding date rape: 

"Ways to decrease the odds for the occurrence of a date rape are all of the following except:

a. use drugs and/or alcohol to help you loosen up

b. develop clear lines of communication

c. avoid using body language that is flirtatious or indicates you are interested in having sex when you are not

d. do not be coerced into unwanted sexual activities"

I was appalled and disappointed by the phrasing of this question for several reasons: namely, it implies that a victim of date rape is somehow at fault for their rape, but specifically, answer choice "C" is a textbook definition of victim-blaming. This suggests that date rape (and indeed, all rape) occurs simply because women 'mislead' men into thinking that they are interested in having sex. I find this offensive because the blame for the rape is placed upon the victim, when in fact, rape is the fault of the rapist alone. Furthermore, while rape is sometimes coerced, it is always forced--answer choice 'D', which urges the quiz taker to "not be coerced into unwanted sexual activities" completely ignores the fact that it is the rapist's responsibility not to coerce and rape.

Instead of victim-blaming women for being raped, perhaps your mandatory Kinesiology 198 course material should instead focus on teaching students how to look for enthusiastic consent. In light of recent events (such as the Steubenville, OH rape trial and Landen Gambill of University of North Carolina, who was raped by two classmates and now faces a hearing and possible expulsion simply for speaking up about her rape), it is evident that cultural attitudes about rape and women's sexual agency affect the lives of real people. Did you know that one in four college women are or have been raped or sexually assaulted? In telling women that their 'flirtatious' behavior can lead to them being raped, you support rape culture. I sincerely hope that after reading this, you will not continue with this behavior and will place the full blame for rape where it belongs--with the rapist. 

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