In Kelton Jenkins’ and Zach Eichhorst’s recent Letter to the Editor, they called for an effective discussion and understanding of “the issue of rape” on this campus. They attempt to promote an image that condemns rape culture without demonstrating an understanding of the issue at hand.
The irony behind their opposition to Malcolm’s article lies in their very ignorance to his point. Jenkins and Eichhorst conclude their letter by saying “If you get to know us, we are very sincere people who detest rape just as much as the writers of The Lawrentian.” This statement only reinforces Malcolm’s point in the first paragraph of his article: “Rape goes unchallenged on many campuses including Lawrence, producing a rape culture that needs to end.” What I interpret Malcolm’s words to mean is that it isn’t enough to “detest rape.” The culture—commonly referred to as “rape culture”—that desensitizes people to the idea of sexual harassment and sexual assault needs to be dealt with and challenged rather than ignored.
Malcolm defined rape culture as “an environment in which sexual violence against people, regardless of gender identification or sexuality is prevalent, normalized and excused in popular culture.” This includes—but is in no way limited to—sexual harassment (i.e. calling someone a slut, or making a sexual joke), the implication that individuals are supposed to have sex with their significant others, the pressure on men to be sexually dominant and on women to be sexually submissive, trivializing sexual assault and sexual harassment (i.e. jokes about rape) and the tolerance of these practices.
The problem at hand isn’t whether or not members of Delta Tau Delta are rapists. The issue that Malcolm brings up is bigger than both their house and their fraternity, but applies to every individual on this campus and in our society. I echo their call for understanding but question their comprehension of the contributing factors, which the article they criticized explained and discussed.