Author Kate Harding speaks to SRU about rape culture

Published by Hope Hoehler, Author: Hope Hoehler - Rocket Contributor, Date: April 25, 2018
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On April 23, Theta Chi, in collaboration with the Women’s Center, the Student Government Association (SGA) and Student Success brought author of “Asking for It,” Kate Harding to campus.

The topic of conversation was centered around rape myths, although her book goes into deeper conversation about how society can take sexual violence more seriously while at the same time not compromising the accused and their rights.

Junior economics and professional Spanish double major Marshall Tuten is vice president of health and safety for the Zeta Alpha colony of Theta Chi, and is in charge of the health and safety programming for the group.

“I knew we needed an impactful speaker to come and speak to us during Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness month,” Tuten said. “I worked closely with Jodi Solito of the Women’s Center to come up with Kate in the end. She was a wonderful choice and addressed the issue directly.”

“The heart of rape culture is a virginally white attractive woman who never expressed sexual desire and’s attacked by a stranger usually with a weapon,” Harding said.

Harding describes rape culture as “a culture that supports the needs of rapists at the expense of the victims.” Throughout the night, Harding went into detail about the seven rape myths: “they asked for it”, “it wasn’t really rape”, “he didn’t mean to”, “they wanted it”, “they lied”, “rape’s a trivial event”, and “rape is a deviant event.”

Harding expressed through research done in a campus climate survey that on campuses more than 70 percent of sexual assaults go unreported.

“Wanting sex is not the same as wanting rape,” Harding said.

“I would hope that those who attended can come to open their hearts more to the victims in their lives and have courage to stand up for those who claim to be victims,” Tuten said of the event, and what he hopes the audience leaves with. “I believe that as humans we need to believe that there is more honesty and humanity in the stories victims tell than we grant them. We must be willing to hear all sides of an incident, but we must realize our prejudices and automatic thoughts about rape victims. It could be your best friend, your roommate, your neighbor, or you in the future.”

“Absolutely,” Tuten said of doing an event like this again in the future. “The intention of Sacred Purpose is for Theta Chi to sponsor speakers and activities to promote health and safety topics, discussion and action.”

Hope is a junior converged journalism major and entering her second year on The Rocket staff and her first year as Campus Life Editor. Previously, she served as Assistant Campus Life Editor and covered campus events, club events, along with concerts and plays. After graduation, she hopes to write for a city newspaper reporting on city journalism or community affairs.

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