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Opinion: Rape reaction repugnant

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Homecoming week was a spectacle for Ohio University in more ways than one. While green- and white-clad alumni and current students flooded campus, an alleged incident of a rape on Court Street right by Chase Bank has spread like wildfire and caused alternative reactions of disgust and nonchalance.

It started with one male student who performed public oral sex on a female student on October 12th. This was recorded by an observer and posted on Instagram that same night. OU students on Twitter shared the video, which lead to a viral outbreak. Publications outside of Athens, including BuzzFeed, Slate and PolicyMic, published screenshots of the video and pictures on their articles. The male student has been charged with rape, and Athens Police are starting an investigation. 

The first thought that should cross anyone’s mind is that this incident was recorded and published on social media. That’s sick and repulsive. The person that did publish it, fortunately, was reported on Instagram and was mandated to remove the video. However, that does not excuse the initial act of posting the video. 

Secondly, the reactions and social media postings of fellow students are extremely mixed. Some are trying to console the female and help her cope by tweeting support. Others are completely dismissing the case, saying that she did not do anything to stop the act from happening. That second reaction is ridiculous; no one considers that the female could have been severely intoxicated and was unable to give consent. This is a common occurrence in sexual assault and rape cases that involve alcohol or drugs of any sort. 

Finally, the fact that an investigation is being conducted based purely off of social media speaks volumes for how important and impactful social media can be. The police may have never known about this incident if it was not recorded and posted. Social media can prove an incident’s occurrence and provide physical evidence. 

These charges and the investigation have shown two things: that social media and social networking sites are extremely impactful in every aspect of the world, and that the societal reaction towards rape and sexual assault victims is atrocious. I myself am a victim of sexual assault, and the toll it takes on your psyche and emotions is enormous. Some people call assault victims terrible names, like whores or sluts; others may treat you completely different after the incident. Your entire outlook on the opposite gender shifts completely, and your outlook on life is something words cannot describe. People should not just dismiss this as something that is an uncommon occurrence. It is something that affects the minds and emotions of thousands of people across the world, and hundreds of students across this campus.

Do not push this to the side. Stand up and support victims; do not treat them differently. We already have trouble trying to push it to the back of our minds. Different treatment from others only enhances and reminds the victims of what happened to them. Treat us as your friend, sibling, cousin, and most of all, as a human being.

 

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