Readers’ Forum July 27


Stop rape culture

The Huffington Post defined rape culture as “a culture in which dominant cultural ideologies, media images, social practices, and societal institutions support and condone sexual abuse by normalizing, trivializing, and eroticizing male violence against women and blaming victims for their own abuse.” Rape culture is filling our nation and support for survivors needs to be given. Universities need to take action to end sexual assault on campus. Rape culture must find an end.

A recent report showed that at many major universities the amount of official rape reports was much smaller than that of those who said they filed a rape report during the 2014-15 school year. For example, at Michigan State University, 256 students said they filed rape reports according to an AAU survey taken that year; but for the same year under the Clery Act only 15 official rape reports were listed at MSU.

In my opinion it would be better to see a matching number of students who said they filed a rape report to official rape reports, because then I would know my university was taking action against these crimes happening all across campus. Seeing a university taking action on these rape reports, offering support to victims and discipline to the prosecuted helps me to see that rape culture can be changed.

Here is your call to action: make “no means no” a norm. Stand up against the rape culture in your community. Believe the victims and survivors who come to you, offer support, and realize that any form of sexual misconduct is serious enough to report.

— Abby Slik

Springville, Utah



Video games: Meaningful art or menace?

Our culture has seen, especially over the past decade, a rise in acceptance and popularity of video games. But recently, arguments have arisen over their nature. We, as a society, stand at a crossroads where we must choose where to go with this influential medium. Video games should be considered as a form of art, and we need to protect the industry from censorship, as we have with film, novels, etc.

The media especially has been calling for censorship of this art form, stating that it makes people violent and commit gun-related crimes. To me, this is ridiculous. Sure, there are some violent video games, but there are just as violent and risqué movies. These movies are ultra-violent and have several depictions of sexual conduct, but the media is totally fine with them.

Video games are a legitimate art form that should be taken seriously. Through their visuals, music, writing, and gameplay, we are led to feel things that we have not really felt before. Yet, people still want to censor them. My answer to them is simple. We ourselves need to change in order for the video game industry to change. The reason why we see so many violent video games is because we, as a society, want them. Instead of blaming the industry for wanting to make a profit, we should be questioning our own morality. Instead of blaming something that is just a reflection of our thoughts and values, we need to blame ourselves.

— Gabe Hohneke

Augusta, Georgia



Beards — They grow on you

I, like several other students, need the ban on facial hair to be lifted, so that the men at BYU can exercise their basic rights of freedom and manhood. I know what you’re thinking – all of us signed the Honor Code before joining BYU, and I agree. But BYU’s Honor Code office has never given an official statement with a logical reason as to why students are not allowed to grow facial hair.

The way we dress and present ourselves is a form of expression. Being in a country like America, we are guaranteed basic rights to freedom of expression as long as we do not hurt anyone else. I fully realize that we are in a private university, and the management has the complete authority to restrict us from those freedoms. However, I don’t understand the necessity of prohibiting beards without giving any reason why. If the ban is not going to be lifted, we should at least get a valid justification of why one of our basic rights is being stripped away from us.

Every now and then, I imagine a day when I can walk out of my apartment without having to worry about my 5 o’clock shadow, when all of us get a chance to express our basic rights of manhood – a day when we can look, feel, and act like men. I know this is not a change that can take place overnight. However, we can at least take the first step towards this change by demanding justification for an antiquated rule.

— Mohit Khattar

Dubai, United Arab Emirates


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