Professor Brian Stiltner

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Human Rights

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Sexual violence is a major issue affecting women around the world. It occurs within homes, on college campuses, in times of conflict, and in times of peace. Society has developed a certain attitude towards sexual assault. It has been embedded within culture that women are lesser than men and viewed as subordinate. Sexual violence has been normalized by media, desensitizing society to actual assault and hindering action against it. Women often bear the responsibility and blame of their assault rather than their attacker. This failure to protect victims of sexual assault and shifting of the blame to women for their own assault is termed rape culture; it is when the traumatic assault of a woman is trivialized, when men are given a pass and women are scolded for what they were wearing at the time of the attack, and when a woman would rather stay silent than seek the prosecution of her assailant. Sexual violence and the consequences of rape culture are violations of human rights in which the dignity and equality of women are not recognized. Rape culture is a human rights issue rooted in patriarchal societies, the normalization of sexual violence in media, and victim blaming.

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