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Richmond should address underlying causes of rape

Imagine for a moment you have a penis.

What would it be like?

My first thought is uncomfortable, but that’s because I’m pro-va jay jay. But besides having sex organs on the outside, what does a penis bring to a person? Is this question hard, no pun intended, to answer if you’re reading this sans vagina?

My answer is that a penis equals power. This equation must have missed my statistics flash cards.

Of course, there are other human characteristics which denote power as well, but those who are endowed with the penis have an advantage in the power struggle.

Why have I used the word penis five times already? Lately I’ve started to understand and recognize this power more than before.

Throughout my undergraduate career I learned how to see the world through many different lenses. The one lens I can’t seem to shake is the feminist one. Through this lens I’ve come to understand the penis equals power equation is called Patriarchy.

Before I begin regurgitating information from my introduction to women’s studies class, I want to discuss an event which occurred recently that has preoccupied my facebook statuses.

About a month ago, a 15-year-old student was gang raped by at least seven boys\men – while people watched – at Richmond High School after a school dance.

I’ve followed the news surrounding this event for three reasons: I was born and raised in Richmond, I’m a feminist and I’m a graduate student in the public policy program who can’t help but think of how to remedy the problem with a policy.

The news surrounding this event has focused on the negative opinion people across our state and nation have about the Richmond community, arresting alleged rapists and making the campus safer for students.

Of these three issues I’ve focused on the last. I could care less what people say about Richmond. Yes, it is my hometown but considering the level of horrible this event is on, a person calling my city barbaric is the least of my concerns. And I want all of these alleged criminals arrested, but punishment doesn’t equal prevention. Unless we’re cutting off their power tools, I’m not interested.

So, how is the school proposing to make its campus safer?

The brilliant idea they’ve come up with is to install lights. The place where the crime was occurred was dark. Naturally the solution is lights and lots of them. And maybe even some video cameras here and there.


I highly doubt these boys\men raped this girl only because it was dark. In that case let’s pair mace and rape whistles with street lamps to prevent rape from happening anywhere.

How about teaching “Don’t Rape Girls.” Is that so profound an idea that no one has come up with it except a grad student at a women’s college?

The underlying problem that I don’t think people are seeing, or want to see, is our culture and its objectification of women. Boys\men do it and us girls\women do it to ourselves.

My assumption is this girl became, or was always considered, an object to these boys\men when they robbed, beat and continuously raped her. She wasn’t a person.

If the problem is how our society views women, then how do we fix that?

There’s no School House Rock to teach us. Believe me, I googled it and only learned about a bill becoming a law.

I’m wondering why Richmond High School isn’t creating a program that teaches feminist rhetoric and theory. Of course they couldn’t use those exact words without being criticized for teaching bra burning and lesbianism, but wouldn’t a program teaching respect and value for women be more productive than lighting up the darkness?

Enlightening up the darkness is what needs to be done. As corny as that sounds, it’s true.

Women are half the population, half of the workforce and receive half the respect. Where’s the outrage? I think its time for the women of Mills who marinate in feminism all day to stand up and do something.

This fifteen-year old rape survivor deserves more than some bright halogen lights – even if they are the energy saving kind.