Another hidden facet of rape culture


Since 1927, the Department of Justice defined rape as “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.” For decades, the statistics of sexually assaulted men were not recorded on a national scale.

Long overdue, the federal government changed the definition in 2012.

The new definition, “the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex of another person, without the consent of the victim,” gives a broader scope on what is defined as sexual assault.

The FBI can record data on sexual assault incidents nationally now, allowing the increased amount of information to be used for studies on preventing rape. It may be progress, but in reality, not much has changed in crime rates or matters of prosecution.

States are in charge of defining laws in their jurisdiction. Many of the states already changed their definition before the U.S. government did, but two still fall behind.

Idaho and Georgia.

Yes, our Georgia. Perpetrators here can only be prosecuted according to the old definition.

To victims who are not female, the miniscule possibility of justice makes their situation worse in different ways.

Mandie Burks is a rape survivor from Loganville, Ga. Despite the sexual abuse she endured for over nine years, she feels males have a more difficult time coping with assault.

“Of course men can be raped . . . My other brother was. He is a drug-addicted alcoholic now that no one can speak to,” she said. “He thought it made him weak, that he wasn’t a man… It was so much harder for my brother than me.”

Junior Jenna Hanes feels that rape culture pardons many perpetrators.

“The idea that men can’t be raped, or non-female people can’t be raped, is an example of rape culture,” she said. “By restricting who is vulnerable to rape in the eyes of the law, we allow perpetrators who work outside of the normal image of a victim. We allow them to have their crimes downplayed in the eyes of the law, the eyes of the media and the eyes of the public.”

Continuing the ideology that females as the only gender vulnerable silences the voices of too many other victims. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 10 percent of the sexually assaulted are male.

Unless the outdated mindset is changed through the law and in education, crime rates of sexual assault will only increase.