of the Sentinel Konah
Sexual Assault has been labeled as a “women’s issue.” Women try to raise awareness, create organizations educating individuals on preventing assault, and are the majority of the victims of sexual assault.
Rather than giving them this responsibility and burden of putting themselves out there to raise awareness, shouldn’t we make the majority of the perpetrator’s peers take responsibility for this?
In the age of ‘locker room talk,’ to blatantly disrespecting and berating women in a sexual manner in the presence of their colleagues in the locker room setting is inexcusable and has no justification.
Dr. Pamela Paresky speaks on the inappropriateness of this problem, “From a psychological perspective, the answer is unambiguous. There is a problem with it, and it isn’t about being politically correct. It is important to understand the damage this kind of talk does, not only to women, but also to the men who speak this way and the men who hear it.”
By speaking in this manner and hearing it from male peers it creates an undeniable bias and inequality between men and women. This separation and inequality is commonly found in the athletic realm of society. Many student and professional athletes have come to expect that they deserve leniency when it comes to the prosecution of sexual assault on themselves.
Lisa Wade, an associate professor of sociology at Occidental College and author of American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, states that “privilege protects [some star athletes] from consequences and they can get used to it. It doesn’t feel like privilege to them at all. It just feels like what their life is like.”
From as early as high school and into professional sports, sexual assault cases prove that some athletes take advantage of their popularity and privilege to side-step the consequences of the law.
We, as a society, are ignoring and allowing boys to display inappropriate aggression outside of their sport and within their relationships with their teammates.
It’s not unheard of for high school upperclassmen boys to take advantage of their younger smaller teammates by using the excuse of “initiation” to get away with sexually violating their peers.
It doesn’t stop there though,. These boys don’t grow out of this awful behavior if it isn’t addressed in the right way at the beginning. If they continue their athletic endeavours in college or onto the pros, they will continue to be glamorized and deemed untouchable in their own eyes. That kind of power would go to anyone’s head.
By giving athletes a celebrity status, these athletes start to sense that the world owes them and they should get whatever they want. When that expectation equates to sex and is not reciprocated, it can result in non-consensual sex, or in other words, rape.
The investigation of these allegations are being stunted by school campuses allowing themselves to be manipulated. David Ridpath, a professor at Ohio University worked with college athletics and experienced himself how easily an investigation will have nothing to report when a major athlete is involved. When the officials of what is supposed to be a safe learning environment begin to tolerate and turn away from criminal activity like rape among the athletes, a gaping hole of mistrust, lack of integrity and responsibility start to form and only become wider with every blind eye that is turned.
By enhancing the positive features that athletics can provide, hopefully society can influence young athletes to make good decisions to carry through into the professional arena.