Women’s Resource Center fights rape culture

Gregory Allen

One in five American women have the been the victim of attempted or completed rape, and Sacramento State University Women’s Resource Center is determined to put a stop to that.

Women’s Resource Center, which aims to has provided a safe haven for battered and oppressed women – especially for those who have experienced some form of sexual assault.

In an effort to dismantle the ‘rape culture’ on the Sac State campus and abroad, the WRC is developing a program that promotes the education and involvement of the main perpetrators of rape – men.

The project in progress is an awareness campaign called “Men Who Ask,” expected to launch in Nov. The campaign aims to encourage men to take a more active role in the prevention of sexual assault.

Gaby Bermudez, a social sciences major at Sac State and one of the coordinators of the program, wants men, especially those involved in Greek organizations, to assume greater leadership on the issue and become a point of influence for their peers.

“The long term vision of the program is for it to be an educational and transformative program working specifically with fraternity men because it’s more of an at-risk population,” Bermudez said.

The WRC is working in partnership with the Student Health and Counseling Services, a Sac State department that also provides sexual assault prevention education and other resources for victims of sex crimes. One of several services that they offer is a 24-hour phone line where victims can speak to an advocate about any issues.

“We also have events throughout the year to really work on raising awareness and help build skills for students to actually be able to recognize situations that happen around them that could escalate to sexual violence and learn how to interrupt them safely,” said Reva Wittenberg, Associate Director of Campus Wellness.

Student Health and Counseling Services also has an online tutorial about sexual assault that all freshmen and transfer students are required to take. According to Wittenberg, Sac State was one of the only campuses to have that tutorial before it was made it a requirement for all CSUs.

Sac State student Amanda Kubera feels the mandatory tutorial is a great tool for sexual harassment education and prevention. She also feels it’s time that some men to change their thoughts regarding the rape issue.

“I think it’s important. I kind of been in a situation like that with an ex and he felt that it was a dominant thing to do something like that,” Kubera said, “and I think for men to have that mentality is not great, especially in a lot of co-ed universities.”

The concept of dominance in rape is an aspect of a mentality classified as ‘rape culture’, a mentality reinforced on social media sites through the comical treatment of graphic rape memes. Wittenberg insists that the media plays a significant role in the perception of rape.

“It’s really sort of a cultural and societal system that basically is really permissive and supportive of sexual violence …,” Wittenberg said. “I think some of the factors are the way that women are depicted in media and objectified…and sexualized.”

But hope is not lost for this generation because some young men agree there’s a need for awareness programs that educate men about the consequences of rape, including criminal justice major Francisco Brosas.

“Well, the more you know, the better,” Brosas said. “I don’t think there needs to be any elaboration on why we need to have these programs.”