Friday, October 5, 2012

Musings on a friend's article...

I'm a bit stuck on this article - have been for a few days really. One the one hand, I agree with Robyn that mandatory women's studies courses are probably not likely to work at York University. On the other hand...her commentary neglects the insidiousness of rape culture, and even furthers it by comparing rape with robbery.

The poor security on York's campus is certainly a problem. But it's not the biggest problem. I would argue that the reason for these rapes is rape culture, and how normalized it has become for women to be raped there. Security would become nearly obsolete if respect towards women was a basic part of campus life.

To some extent of course I'll give York credit for reporting rapes to the media. That's a start. It shows what's happening, and doesn't push it under the rug. But it makes it sound like being raped is almost a normal experience for York students, rather than a trauma. Two months ago, a co-worker joked that the reason for York's athletics facilities being so cheap is because of the risk of getting raped in the showers (the triggering nature of her comments are in queue for another post, once I am done emotionally processing them). These jokes and the idea of York as a campus of rape and rapists is unhelpful. Understatement...I could go so far as to argue that the sensationalist reports of the mainstream media make the situation worse. So in that sense, Robyn's commentary, despite its shortcomings, is extremely useful in changing the character of the dialogue about the York campus.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this post, or whether my argument is even vaguely coherent. But here it is.

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