5 Uncomfortable Truths About Rape on College Campuses

#2. We Are Terrible at Thinking About Sex

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My original intention here was to make a point about sexual assault law, but I ran into something of a problem: I am profoundly stupid, and there are a lot of big words in law. So I read a shitload of articles about the morality of sexual assault, about the relationship between intoxication and consent, and I realized one thing: We fucking suck at thinking about sex.

There are all kinds of reasons men commit sexual assault: they think it'll make them powerful, maybe they think they can't have sex otherwise, or maybe they think it'll give them value as a person. But all those things reflect a fundamentally wrong perception of what sex is. Sex is collaborative. It's impossible to force it on someone, because the second you force it, it becomes something else.

And why is rape underreported? Because doing so changes the way other people see you. You become part of a national controversy. If your friends and family find out, they might start condescending to you by warning you off of certain movies or TV shows, assuming that you're suddenly a fragile piece of china that must be constantly protected. Reporting an assault isn't just one difficult conversation, it's thousands. And in every single one, there's the risk that that person won't believe you.

Anything involving sex isn't polite conversation, even though it's a guaranteed way to get someone's attention. Hell, just at Cracked, we know that putting "sex" in the title of an article gives it a significant traffic boost. We're starving for knowledge about what other people are doing with their junk, about what we should do with our junk -- and yet, if I tell you that I'm touching my dick right now, that would be inappropriate. Why? Who gives a shit? It's a dick! It's not even that great of one! It's perfectly fine for most jobs but not particularly noteworthy, like Ethan Hawke. It curves a little to the left, but not enough that anyone's ever complained. My point is that we need to change the way we think about sex.

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I also think dicks are funny.

Nothing I'm saying should be taken as an attempt to take pressure off of criminals. Rapists should be punished. I seriously can't stress that enough. But I'm not content to merely punish people after a crime is committed -- I want to prevent that crime from ever happening at all. And I think making people feel more comfortable with themselves, their urges, and their junk might be a good way to accomplish that. It's worth a shot, right?

#1. This Isn't a "College" Problem

If you Google "college sexual assault," the entire Internet explodes at you. That's been the story we've been sold after the past few months: Colleges have become hotbeds of rape, and we need to figure out how to fix them. But colleges aren't to blame here.

Look, the shitty thing is that criminals aren't created by governments. They aren't created by schools. They aren't created by drugs or violent video games or sugary foods. They're created by a big, hairy mess of all those things. Like I said at the beginning, students are only in college for four years, and although it happens to be a really volatile and formative four years, those people are already the people they are before they show up on campus and make ill-advised dorm-room lighting purchases.

Besides, if you finish school and go into graduate school, you're still going to have to deal with rape. If you go join the Peace Corps, you're still going to have to deal with rape (hey, did you know that Mark Gearan, the current president of HWS, used to run Peace Corps? Not implying anything there; just pointing out that this guy has been in charge of two places that suck at dealing with rape). Hell, if you Google "rape [your profession]," odds are you're going to get some hits that depress you.

Everywhere is terrible. Everywhere.

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Never mind. Everything's fine.

My point is, colleges aren't especially fucked-up places; they're just where the pimples pop. But it's still the responsibility of colleges to clean the pus up, because this is literally the job they signed up for. Besides, we gotta start making a difference somewhere, so why not a place of learning? Seems fine to me. But if you prefer dog parks, that's cool, too. Fucking whatever. Let's just make sure we get started soon, because there are little girls in my family, and this isn't the world I want for them.

Thanks for reading my comedy article about rape.

JF Sargent is an editor and columnist at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

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