A09: White Paper- Kailee Whiting

The Topic Background:  It is unfortunate that we live in a world where rape is such a common occurrence that you hear about it every day.  It even more upsetting to hear the horror stories of rape victims who try and reach out to the very people who are supposed to protect them.  Rape victims, primarily women, who appeal to law enforcement for their own protection are victimized all over again by the legal system that is supposed to show justice.  The legal system makes the victims defend themselves as if they, not their alleged rapists, are the ones who did the wrongdoing.

Rape is a universal evil that can affect anyone of any age, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality.  It is estimated that 683,000 women and 92,748 men are raped each year in the United States.  So it is safe to say that even though men are being raped, women are affected more by the act.  For something that primarily effects women, it is insane that men are the ones primarily defining and making laws on what is coerced sex.

Working Thesis:  If men were the ones primarily affected by rape, the laws defining what coerced sex/rape would be drastically different.

Counterintuitive Note:  The case of Landen Gambill, a student at North Carolina Sate University.  Gambill was allegedly raped and stalked by her ex-boyfriend, and when she brought these charges up to the Honor Board (why are these decisions being made by “honor boards”?  Why aren’t these cases being brought to public safety/the police?) the board asked her, “why didn’t you just break up with him when he showed signs of abuse,” and then brought up Gambill’s past history with depression.  Both of these comments are irrelevant and are blaming Gambill for the alleged rape and not the attacker.  Gambill is now being charged with a violation that could potentially get her expelled from the university.  No, Gambill did not rape someone, she simply spoke out about this expirence.  Now Gambill is being charged for “intimidating” and “harassing” her rapist, even though she never mentioned his name.

This is a great example of rape being reported by the victim to the police who victimize the victim all over again.  Gambil has to defend herself against the people who are supposed to be the ones protecting her.

Topics for other papers:

  1. Defining what exactly rape is.
  2. Why rape happens.
  3. What does the word coerced mean?
  4. Examining why rape happens more frequently on college campuses.
  5. How we can educate on what exactly rape is.
  6. Why as a society we focus on educating women on how not to get raped instead of educating people not to rape.

Current state of my research paper: I’m starting to figure out what I want to do with this paper.  Think are still a little fuzzy, but it is clearing up for me.  Everything on top is updated with new information; even a new thesis!  I have not added my annotated sources yet I’m working on it.  They’ll be up soon.

Annotated Sources:

1.  Huffington Post on Landen Gambill

Landen Gambill is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who was allegedly raped by her ex-boyfriend.  The university never found her ex-boyfriend guilty of the rape.  Instead the university revictimized Gambill by asking her about her history of depression “why didn’t you just break up with him?”  Now Gambill spoke out about her situation and is now being charged with a violation that could get her expelled for “intimidating” her rapist.

This is a great source because it expands more on my original story on Laden Gambill.  The story is an on-going one and continues to expand and change almost every day.  This story and source helps me expand on the idea that victims become victims all over again when they go to law enforcement for help.

2. NPR broadcast on Laura Dunn and Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act

Laura Dunn was a Wisconsin school student who while drinking was raped by two men who she knew and trusted.  Her school took nine months to investigate the rape, leading one to graduate and one that Dunn had to constantly see on campus.  Dunn’s school officials decided to not punish the one still on campus.  This is the case of many cases, the men, even if found responsible, were almost never expelled.  While it was the woman who ended up dropping out of school instead of facing her rapist time after time again.

The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (CSVEA) clarifies the rights of the victims of sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking on campus.  It requires schools to inform victims of their rights and where to get counseling and legal help.  This new law is hoping to stop the revicitmizing of rape survivors.  This article helps explain the story of CSVEA and shows the advantages and disadvantages of the new act and if it will change anything.

3. Myths That Make it Hard to Stop Campus Rape

There is a common myth that the people who commit rape on college campuses are guys who made a one-time bad decision.  But recent research by psychologist David Lisak, debunks this myth.  After researching for over 20 years, Lisak found that about 1 in 16 men answered yes to questions such as, “Have you ever had sexual intercourse with anadult when they didn’t want to because you used physical force [twisting their arm, holding them down, etc.] if they didn’t cooperate?” or, “Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone, even though they did not want to, because they were too intoxicated [on alcohol or drugs] to resist your sexual advances?”  Lisak also found that repeat predators account for every 9 out of 10 rapes.  The most unusual finding was that these rapists do not think of themselves as rapists, since they do not use guns or knives, and likely know the person they are assaulting.

This article is an incredibly useful one because of the staggering information that it shows us.  I think many of us, or at least this is what I thought to be true, think that rape is committed only once by a guy.  But to think that there are serial rapists in colleges opens a lot of doors in my writing.  Also if there are serial rapists in colleges, there most definitely are serial rapists in the outside world.

4.  When Men are Raped

About 3% of American men have experienced rape at some point of their lives, that’s a total of 2.78 million men.  Males are the least likely to report a sexual assault because they suffer the same fear that female rape victims face, that people will believe that they were asking for it and that they enjoyed being raped.  Many men believe they were not raped because they became sexually aroused by the assault, this is normal in female rape too, but those are normal involuntary physiological reactions.  Men also face the belief from many that males should be able to protect themselves and, therefore, it is their fault they were raped.  The article then goes on to how to deal with rape if you’re a male and what to do immediately after.

I thought this article was really great for my paper cause I needed a different viewpoint on rape.  I couldn’t just focus on females and completely exclude men from the equation.  The statistics I think will play an important part in my paper.  I also thought it was very interesting that the paper did not include female on male rape; it only focused one male on male rape.  But I still think it’s a interesting source that could only help me in my paper.

5. Rape Victims Find Little Help on College Campuses

NPR found out that colleges almost never expel men who are found responsible for sexual assault.  And even in schools that applied for federal grates because they wanted to do a better job of fighting sexual assault, only 10 to 25 percent of men who raped were expelled.  Police also don’t get into the mix in these situations, because many campuses have their own police force that is normally not equipped to handle such an investigation.  Schools typically teach their women students how to not get raped; don’t leave your drink unattended, don’t wear a short skirt, don’t get drunk.  But a newer and better plan is the idea of bystander education.  In which you educate everyone on campus on how to prevent sexual assault and that they themselves have a responsibility to prevent them.  There’s research that shows bystander education works much better than just teaching women.

It’s some of the same old information that is in every source I could find.  But I thought it was interesting when they talked about how colleges try to educate their students on rape.  It insane that colleges, who are supposed to be “progressive”, are putting the blame on women when they get raped.  They are not out right saying it, but when you tell women and only women how to prevent rape, and tell them to change what they’re doing cause it will get them raped, you are victim blaming.  Which is what exactly what I referred to earlier in my white paper when I said that victims become victims all over again when they report their rape to law enforcement.

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6 Responses to A09: White Paper- Kailee Whiting

  1. briannewaters3 says:

    Hey Kailee! So i think this is a very interesting topic but I can also see how you feel overwhelmed by the amount of information on this topic. It seems as though there are many different directions you can take this paper. In your thesis, it sounds like you want women to be the ones who define rape. If this is the case, you may want to find some kind of information on the differences between how men define it and how women define it. Also, keeping up with this thesis, if you want to use the example of Landen Gambill still, you may want to include if the Honor Board consisted of men (if it did or not, I’m not sure). Also, if you want rape to be defined by women, do you want the laws against it to be made by women? Do you want all cases of rape in courts to have all women juries and female judges? I like the topics you came up with for smaller papers. I think you could also add to that the topic of who should handle cases of rape, like in the case of Gambill it went to an Honor Board instead of the police. I think once you figure out which topic you want to hone in on, I think you’ll be fine. This is a great topic and has the workings of a great paper too.

  2. davidbdale says:

    Hey, Kailee! This topic will offer limitless counterintuitivity, not to mention proponents on all sides will offer arguments rich in dubitability! All the more reason for you to be crystal clear in your terminology and language. Doubtful claims of your own will only muddy the water; on the other hand, if you can bring clarity to the controversy, you can almost win by default.

    So, it does matter to ask “penetration with what?” Is an unwanted finger in the mouth a rape? What does “affect anyone” mean? And when you make the fleetest of card switches from rape to “sexual assault,” are you equating the two? I know the conviction numbers are woeful, but you want to be fair about them anyway: is not jailing someone for touching a co-worker in the break room part of that “only three percent” do jail time statistic? And while I don’t want to diminish the vulnerability of female college students, you’ve now used forcible penetration, sexual assault, and attempted rape very fluidly, in a paragraph about the necessity to decide “exactly what rape is.” So, do be careful.

    I can’t quite figure out what your thesis statement says. But in its second sentence, it raises a most important point: men are less likely to consider coerced sex rape. I listened to a story over the break about a young girl who was lured into prostitution by an older man at her local mall, who took an interest in her, spent weeks chatting online with her, and eventually delivered her to sex traffickers in Atlantic City where she was put on the street for one night and used for sex. At least three men took part in coercing her into unwanted sex, right? Which one is guilty of rape? The two who never had sex with her, or the one who did? Somebody must be because she was coerced into having unwanted sex.

    You’re the judge now who gets to write the rules men have been screwing up for all of history. See what you can come up with that’s clear and cuts through the male defensiveness. All three could convincingly argue they didn’t rape the girl.

    One thing is clear from countless anecdotes: rape victims who appeal to law enforcement for protection and justice are too often victimized again by a legal system that makes them defend themselves as if they, and not their assailants, had something to be ashamed of.

    And then there’s India . . .
    And Islamic “honor killings” . . .
    And 10-year-olds married off to 70-year-olds . . . .

  3. kaileewhiting says:

    This is finally 100% done! Been slowly updating everyday and adding sources to it, and it’s finally done! Sorry it took so long.

  4. davidbdale says:

    Lots of good stuff here, Kailee. You seem to be finding a focus for yourself, centering on campus rape. If that continues to be the case, I’d like you to consider a narrower thesis: that primarily male college administrators make decisions to protect the male students who assault the females. It’s also important that your thesis be a Proposal; it needs to make a recommendation. You might say: we need to think differently about rape and stop victimizing the victim. But something more specific would be better. Could you recommend new policy on campuses to favor (or at least not deliberately disfavor) the accuser in cases of alleged rape?

    I’d be happy to make more specific notes throughout (including pointing out instances of FAILS FOR GRAMMAR), if you’re interested.

    • kaileewhiting says:

      I would love the more specific notes and FAILS FOR GRAMMAR instances!

      I think my focus really is going to be campus rape. It is something that I’m interested in and that is familiar because of the environment I live in. It is also a much narrower focus than taking on the whole broad spectrum of rape, if there is even a spectrum- I have no idea. I like the idea of changing the thesis, focusing in on my subject, instead of taking off more than I can chew. I don’t have answers for your questions or even a new thesis, but I’m gonna work on it!

      Thanks for the help!

  5. davidbdale says:

    Hey again, Kailee.
    First, let’s get past the fails for grammar notes, in red. The 2nd person is prohibited; commas and periods go inside the quotes; one affect/effect. Otherwise, a very clean post. 🙂

    Now, specific notes on strategy and language, beginning with Topic Background. Nothing will come to mind specifically unless you call it to mind. Mention the recent horrific gang bus rape in India, or the use of rape as a tactic of war in Rwanda. Instead of asking readers to think of rape as “common,” therefore not shocking, keep the shock alive so we can’t dismiss it while reading your paper. Connect the injustice against young women in American colleges to the global dismissal of women without ever suggesting that “that’s the way it is and always has been.”

    Granted, rape can “affect” anyone of any age or gender, but this is precisely not your point. You dilute your message before you begin to deliver it by distracting us with the rape of men. Your thesis is that women get raped by men who call it something else. Save the victimized men for later, if you need them at all.

    Speaking of “affected,” it’s a good way to say nothing. The friends of the friends of the rape victim are “affected” by the rape. But you’re using the same word to mean the women “raped” by the rapist. Keep the language lively.

    What’s “allegedly” doing here? It casts doubt on her story in a very vague way. Does Gambill accuse her ex? Then the allegation is hers. But as it stands in your post, we don’t know who’s accusing and who’s being careful with language. It sounds as if you doubt her.

    The board’s question needs a question mark, even though the overall sentence doesn’t.

    Your writing tends to be anticlimactic, Kailee. You blow up the bridge and then explain that there was a bridge. In this paragraph, the “there was a bridge” explanations are: 1) these comments are irrelevant and blame Gambill, and 2) she never mentioned his name. The green paragraph that follows is a third example.

    The green paragraph following your list is a fine display of not saying anything. The 2nd paragraph of your Laden Gambill source description is a combination of not saying anything and mentioning the bridge.

    The green in the Laura Dunn paragraph is for language use. The school took nine months to investigate the rape, during which Laura Dunn had to watch her assailants freely walk the campus until one graduated. Nothing about that situation led the one student to graduate. Later, your odd use of past tense gives readers the strong impression that things have changed on campuses (or somewhere) since the Dunn incident. Finally, laws don’t hope and articles don’t explain; their authors do. The closer you can stick to that, the better.

    Your third source is really valuable, Kailee. It contributes to what could be an essential theme, that myths that protect rapists have been fostered by men in power: women ask for it; they’re irresistible temptresses who play with fire; honorable guys are no match for devious sexual objects; women who drink are loose; women think any sex they later regret must have been forced, and so on. Identifying those myths as tools to oppress rape victims is very important; deflating them just as important.

    Your second paragraph mentions the bridge.

    You haven’t figured out how to use the raped male material yet, Kailee. No paper needs “a different viewpoint.” And your paper, of all papers, does in fact need to “focus on females” completely. The value of examining rape when men are raped is to demonstrate (if it’s true) that when men are the victims of rape either: 1) the law treats them quite differently, proving the gender bias of the system, or 2) the law still protects the rapist, proving the power bias of the system. You could do an entire paper on this comparison alone, with ease. But you’ll need a strong plan and a sure hand to get make your point using male rape in a paper about men oppressing women through rape.

    The green in your NPR paragraph is for language. Do outside police refrain from interacting in campus rape cases because the campus police are ill-equipped? Obviously not, but your sentence says they do.

    This is a fine source for several reasons: specifically appropriate for college rape, focuses on victim prevention instead of aggressor prevention, even at its best makes “others” responsible to prevent rape, not the rapists.

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