bildeWe recently discussed a controversy involving the censorship of an article on rape by a high school student in Wisconsin. The article, entitled “The Rape Joke: Surviving Rape In A Culture That Won’t Let You” was written by Fond du Lac High School senior Tanvi Kumar described a “rape culture” at the school. The school officials immediately moved to censor and block the publication. Fond du Lac High School Principal Jon Wiltzius objected to both the text and a picture in the article. In criticizing the actions of the school, I offered this blog as a forum for publishing the uncensored article. I was contacted by Kumar who said that she would like to avail herself of that opportunity. Photographer Gabi Padovano also agreed to have her remarkable photographs shown on the blog. I am also particularly proud to announce that Kumar will be attending George Washington University in the fall as one of our undergraduate. I wish I could take credit for that last fact but Kumar did that all on her own. So, without further ado, here is the uncensored “The Rape Joke.”

“I pushed him away a couple of times. I said ‘I haven’t done this before. I really don’t want to do this’, but he kept saying, ‘It’ll be fine. It’ll be okay.’”

Sarah, whose name has been changed like all other students in this story, stayed silent about her rape for nine months. For nine months she struggled with the confusion and guilt that still haunts her today. For nine months she dealt with the betrayal of an individual she once considered to be a friend. For nine months she was plagued by a consuming sense of self loathing. For nine months Sarah stayed silent because for nine months she did not know that what had happened to her was rape.

“I didn’t know it was rape because there weren’t any drugs, and we weren’t at a party,” she said. She stares at the black nail polish eroding on her fingers, refusing to make eye contact, she continues to pick at it. With every word she speaks, every painful sentence she utters, it becomes obvious that Sarah is being transported back to the day her innocence was stolen from her.

“I didn’t know it could happen to me,” she begins. Sarah was in eighth grade when she went to a gym to work out and ran into a close friend she hadn’t seen for awhile. It was when she entered the locker room that he raped her. She remembers pushing away, saying no, and resisting the best she could. She remembers her friend persuading her, coercing her, and eventually overpowering her. Upon being penetrated, her body went into shock.
After the incident Sarah started eating less and going to the gym for several hours a day. She spent the entire summer trying to come to terms with what had happened to her. In her mind, the very idea of what she had done conflicted with her moral values. Being a catholic, Sarah believed in waiting until marriage to have sex. Her guilt over betraying her faith remained a key factor in her silence.

While Sarah struggled to overcome the horror of what had happened to her, her rapist bragged about his conquest to members of the sports team he was on. Thinking the sex was consensual, the boys on the team would often make remarks to Sarah in front of her friends in an attempt to be humorous. They would come up to her repeating his name over and over again or even make comments alluding to their sexual relationship. At the time, to escape the curiosity of her friends, Sarah lied and told them that they had just made out. She broke her silence when a comment someone made went too far and caused her to cry.

“My friend — who was my best friend at the time — told me it was consensual, and so I believed her,” she said. On one of the first days of high school, a transition that did not lack difficulties of its own, Sarah was called down to speak with the police officer. The mother of the friend whom she confided in had reported the incident. At the time, the officer was under the assumption that the sex was consensual. (However, since all sexual activity under the age of eighteen is illegal, police officers are required to investigate them.)
After being informed about the incident, Sarah’s parents were upset with her. They accompanied her to the police station where she was forced to tell her story to a female officer. That was when the officer announced that Sarah had been raped.

Rape Culture
According to popular online media outlet buzzfeed.com, “‘Rape culture” is a culture in which sexual violence is considered the norm — in which people aren’t taught not to rape, but are taught not to be raped.” In a survey conducted on randomly selected Fond du Lac High School students, 80.3% believe that every individual has the responsibility to protect themselves from being raped by not wearing revealing clothing or drinking an excessive amount of alcohol. By that definition there is largely a rape culture here at Fond du Lac High School. And Fond du Lac is not alone. High school and colleges nationwide have taken action to address issues of the perception of sexual assault.

“We need a more supportive culture,” said Julie Rehfeldt, a social worker here at Fondy High, who believes the lack of acceptance in society keeps many victims silent. “When a girl has sex, she’s considered easy or whatever derogatory term. When a guy has sex there is not as much of a stigma attached to it.” Many of the students Ms. Rehfeldt sees admit to have being shunned by their friends and family after opening up about their abuse.
“A part of rape culture is victim blaming,” said Courtney Kolb, an ASTOP prevention educator. “‘If he or she hadn’t been drinking so much.’ ‘If he or she hadn’t been If she hadn’t worn that.’ ‘You know they’re asking for that when they wear that.’” ASTOP is a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding victims of sexual assault through multiple facets. Courtney believes that teenagers live in a society that is saturated in victim blaming, in addition to being extremely sexist — all conditions she said are largely contributed to by the media.

The first thing Courtney asks students when she visits their classroom is how they hear the word rape used. Now more than ever, students have told her that they hear rape used to describe things such as a difficult test or the defeat of one sports team to another.

“I make them think. ‘What really is rape? What do you think it’s like for the person a few lockers down who really has been raped?’ What do you think it’s like when they hear that come out of your mouth?’” she said. Though Courtney’s question is rhetorical, it is not uncommon for survivors of sexual abuse to hear rape jokes and have to react.

“They could be the nicest person in the world,” said Sarah, “and they will still make a joke like that. Sometimes I just play along.” Sarah keeps her sexual assault very private, a result of being alienated in the past. Today, aside from ASTOP and her family, only three of her close friends are aware that she was raped. A casual acquaintance, ignorant of her past, hardly has any realization of the pain their remarks cause. The fact of the matter is, this is no random occurrence. Rape jokes aren’t nearly as taboo as the issue they are mocking; nearly 80% of Fondy High students said they had heard a rape joke in the last month.

Blaming the Victim
After confronting the truth, Sarah’s life became increasingly difficult. Finding out she was raped was only the beginning of her journey. She decided to reach out and get help. That’s when she found ASTOP.

As a result of counseling and meeting with client advocates, Sarah took the bold step toward making sure her rapist was brought to justice. She had prepared herself to face him in court and give a testimony. For reasons still unknown to Sarah, the case never went to trial. Instead her rapist, who was no stranger to violating the law, was sent to a halfway house and allowed to remain at school.

Though he was required to maintain distance from Sarah, her rapist still found ways to harass her. He would call her and even make face to face contact by asking her if she really believed he had raped her. Many of his teammates still teased Sarah about the incident. Even her own friends believed the sex was consensual.

Aside from being alienated by her peers, the hardest part of Sarah’s situation was knowing that she wasn’t the only one who had fallen victim to her rapist. She was working on an assigned group project during class one day when her rapist was casually brought up in conversation. At that moment, a girl working on the group project got up with tears in her eyes and ran away.

“I knew those tears,” Sarah said. “At that moment I knew what had happened to her. One of her friends turned toward me and said, ‘Oh, they had sex.'”

Sarah was never able to offer that girl any comfort. She could not reach out and explain to her how she understood the pain. Even today it is extremely difficult for her to share her story.

“I didn’t know how to tell my story until I came to ASTOP,” she said. “I lost a lot of friends after this because so many of them did think what had happened was consensual.” Today she is on the path to healing. Yet, something she struggles with on a daily basis is trying not to blame herself.
“I keep thinking I could’ve stopped or pushed him away even more,” Sarah said. A large proponent of her therapy at ASTOP focuses on getting her to stop blaming herself. She has tried mechanisms like horse therapy, in which an individual is exposed to horses that are able to sense their emotions, and individual and group counseling. She has also promoted many ASTOP events like Denim Day. (Denim Day is a day in remembrance of an Italian girl who was raped by her driver’s ed teacher but lost her court case because it was ruled that her jeans were too tight, concluding that she must have aided him in taking them off.) In addition to healing, Sarah looks at the future. She is involved in many extracurricular activities, loves to write, and hopes to be a teacher one day.

Still Healing
“I’ve been assaulted multiple times in my life,” Emily, a current Fond du Lac High School student, states matter of factly, “ranging from not wanting to have sex anymore, just not being in the mood, and being pressured, to flat out rape.” She wastes no time telling her story. She has had ten years to process the abuse inflicted upon her and finds a sense of power in blatantly speaking about it. She rarely uses euphemisms or allows room for imagination in her accounts of the events. It is clear that Emily has no intention of being rendered a victim but rather a survivor of sexual abuse.

From the ages of 2 to 7, Emily was molested by her uncle.

“The sexual acts varied from fingering to exposure, fellatio, and full-on penetration,” she said. “There were many times when it was painful, other times where it was even pleasurable physically, but oftentimes it was more painful than anything. I felt like there was something that wasn’t right, but I never spoke up or said no. At the time, it felt like a huge burden of guilt. I thought it was supposed to make me feel good, about myself.” Her grandmother was aware of the ongoing abuse but never did anything to protect her. Emily, too, stayed silent for fear of being blamed.

“As a child, I was brought to believe I wanted it,” she said. “And although I thought it was normal, I definitely knew something wasn’t right, and I was afraid it was my fault.” Even to this day, as her uncle stays at a medium security prison for other charges, Emily’s parents are still unaware of what happened to her. She is still unable to escape from the nightmare that began ten years ago. Emily claims that she often has panic attacks while engaging in sexual intercourse, and she has suffered from depression leading to self harm and several failed suicide attempts. Most recently, two years ago, to cope with her abuse, Emily became a heavy smoker of cigarettes and marijuana and even turned to alcohol. She said that doing so caused her to be taken advantage of on multiple occasions.

Despite all of this, Emily does not want to go through the hassle of reaching out to her family.

“Besides the fact I don’t want to have to deal with it, it’s also the aspect of being pitied and having to go through court.” she said. “I don’t want the trouble, I want to move on with my life.” However, moving on with her life will be extremely difficult for Emily, as her uncle is set to be released from prison in 2015 or 2016. She seems confident that he won’t harm her again but remains nervous about other females put in his care. She confesses that she knows he molested his sisters as a teenager.

But Emily’s pain lives beyond her uncle. It lives on through her physically and emotionally. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t feel the effects of what happened to her.

“I actually have had scarring on my genitals, which has caused me pain in the past,” said Emily. “But mostly, the effects are emotional. I have a lot of trouble connecting emotionally with people who approach me romantically, and I oftentimes end up using these people as entertainment in the moment, without feeling regret when invariably ‘break their heart.'”

One thing Emily has made very clear is that she does not want anyone’s pity. For this reason, she has avoided talking to organizations like ASTOP, dedicated to empowering victims of sexual abuse.

“For a long time, I’ve felt organizations [such] as ASTOP focus too much on ‘healing’ and other mushy sounding things instead of facing the cold, often cruel facts,” said Emily. “I see organizations such as that as more of a glorification of self-pity; I do not enjoy the idea of it.” Yet, Emily is still finding a way to cope with what happened to her in a way that does not involve harming herself. She has taken the recovery process into her own hands.

“I’m still healing, but I’m better everyday,”she said.

Ignorance is not Bliss
Emily was walking home from work one night when a man on the street groped her and tried to isolate her in a secluded area. She confided in a friend about what happened her; his immediate reaction was to blame her for walking home at night. Also, during the period in her life when she turned to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism, people would tell Emily that if she hadn’t drank she wouldn’t have been taken advantage of.

“When people are ignorant, they are very ignorant,” she said. “There’s still stigma around that somehow, only poor people or these types of people are sexually abused and that many people make up abuse to get back at an ex or family member.”

Mary, another Fond du Lac High School student who shared her story, is no stranger to being alienated for what happened to her, either. She told the first boy she dated what had happened to her as a child. When they would get in fights, he would use that against her by saying things like, “Well, at least I didn’t take my clothes off for someone just because they asked.”

She was very young when the son of a family friend made her undress in a closet so he could look at her. Today, confusion lingers in Mary’s mind surrounding the question of whether or not she can call what happened to her sexual abuse. She believes calling what happened to her sexual abuse is “a bit much” since there was no physical contact.

“I definitely wasn’t old enough to have the cognitive ability to consent to anything,” said Mary “And by the way he behaves now –expelled from his school for having sex on school property and sending nude photographs of other students –I would say on his behalf it wasn’t an innocent act like I felt it had been at the time, and because of that I feel like I am a victim of a sort.” To Mary, what happened to her was more of an insight into the world of victim blaming rather than sexual abuse.

“I feel that the first step to putting an end to rape culture, victim blaming, and the frequency of sexual assault, as a whole we need to accept that sex is a part of life and stop shunning others for it,” said Mary. “Slut shaming is such a huge role in victim blaming. People assume that because a woman has sex with other men, she must want to have sex with them. You’re a ‘slut’ if you have sex, so if someone has sex with you while you’re drunk and unable to consent then you’re still a slut. People toss around words like whore, slut, and tease like having sex is such a forbidden act. I understand that from a religious aspect, sex should only occur after marriage, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that concept; shaming others for not following your religion and abiding that rule, is not alright. Everyone is entitled to what they do with their own body. What they do does not affect you. You call a woman who has sex by their name, not a slur.”

“No” Means “No”
A chip of black nail polish falls to the floor; Sarah watches it hit the ground and blend in with the monochromatic carpeting.
“I want everyone to know, that no means no,” she said looking up for the first time. “It doesn’t matter how many times you say no — even if you say it once. And silence means no, too.” Sitting across the table, Courtney notices the tears glistening in Sarah’s eyes and shoots her a supportive look.

“You’re going to be okay,” Courtney said, “You are so strong, and you’re going to be okay.”

We live in a world where powerful men like Woody Allen and Julian Assange can be accused of sexual assault and never be brought to justice, in a world where people can sing songs about the blurred lines between a yes and a no and reign over the Billboard Top 40.

Sarah did not know that what had happened to her was rape. She stays away from the party scene and is extremely cautious of her surroundings because she knows once you’ve been sexually assaulted once you are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted again. That’s the rape joke. Emily makes distinctions between “not wanting to have sex anymore, just not being in the mood, being pressured, and flat out rape,” rather than classifying them all as the same thing. That’s the rape joke. Mary admits that she was exploited, but does not believe she has the right to say she was sexually assaulted. That’s the rape joke.

Only 46% of surveyed students believe that sexual abuse or harassment is an issue at Fond du Lac High School, but 80% of them have heard a rape joke in the past month. That’s the rape joke. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexualy assaulted before their eighteenth birthday. That’s the rape joke. 60% of sexual assaults are never reported to the police, and 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. That’s the rape joke. While reading this article you saw words like penetration, genital scarring, felatio, fingering and incest and did a double take. By the time you will have finished reading this, 11 people will have been sexually assaulted. That’s the rape joke.
Now ask yourself– did you laugh?

Blurb About ASTOP for an Infobox or something
ASTOP, which stands for Assist Survivors, Treatment, Outreach Programs, was created in the 90’s after a girl named Victoria committed suicide after being sexually abused by her father. Though Victoria had reported it, sexual abuse was not taken as seriously then as it is now. Her case was a true wake-up call for the citizens of Fond du Lac. They discovered that it often takes a child seven times to speak out about abuse before they are taken seriously. The city decided that they no longer wanted victims of rape and sexual abuse to have to wait several weeks for counseling, so they began ASTOP, which now serves a large portion Ripon and Greenlake, too.
In 2011 the four largest categories of victims seeking were adults assaulted as children (27%), victims of incest (21%), victims of non-stranger rape (16%), and children who were sexualy assaulted (14%)
Today, in addition to counseling, ASTOP provides client advocacy services. Client advocacy comes in two forms: medical and legal. Medical advocacy often entails accompanying a person to get a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) exam done. The primary purpose of the SANE exam is evidence collection. There is always a police officer called.
“We with the victim,” said Courtney Kolb, ASTOP prevention educator. “We talk to them and listen to them. I got in for a sexual assault exam and the girl just wanted to talk about her grandchildren.” However, the support of ASTOP does not end with the evidence collection. If the victim decides to press charges legal advocates will go to court with them. Having support in the courtroom is especially beneficial, according to Courtney. Victims will often have to see the person who sexually assaulted them.
Prevention education is also another aspect of ASTOP’s work. Courtney Kolb will give talks at multiple venues including schools, prisons, and colleges to discuss sexual abuse.
“We feel like if you don’t have those hard, awkward conversations nothing can happen,” said Courtney. She also said that ASTOP is moving from a position of awareness to a stance of action. She said, whether it is the first time or the seventh it is very important for people to report.
“What I always tell people is that ‘if you come to me I will believe you, and I will get you help,’” she said.
Currently there are eight people on staff at ASTOP, and the organization is always on the edge of their seat with funding. They rely on grant money and funding from the United Way to function. This slight issue with funding, however, has not stopped ASTOP from promoting the importance of their cause.

Statistics to Use On Photo of Marissa (From RAINN: Rape Abuse and Incest National Network)
Every two minutes another American is sexuall assaulted.
Out of every 100 hundred rapes, 40 are reported, 10 lead to an arrest, 8 get prosecuted, 4 lead to a felony or conviction, 3 will spend a day in prison.
Victims of sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday.

1.800.656.HOPE – National Sexual Abuse Hotline
920.921.7657 – ASTOP Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Hotline


  1. May I say this is an excellent story of various journeys….. This young lady will make an excellent journalist….. She should do well at George Washington University…. Good luck and welcome aboard here…. I can only speak for myself… But please do keep posting here…..

  2. The entire incidents tells us a lot about the players.

    Ms. Kumar comes across as a bright compassionate person.

    As to Principal Jon Wiltzius, enough to say that I wouldn’t let him educate my dog.

  3. So good reporting and good writing = censorship at that school. Better to let the culture continue then acknowledge and confront it and actually act like a principal and work to keep your students safe and aware.

  4. Yes indeed Brava! So proud that a fellow Wisconsinite has shown such bravery and fortititude in the face of authority. She is the sort of women we will need to fill up the House and Senate to eventually make it evenly represented. My best wishes for her continued success, I know she has a bright future.

  5. Congrats to JT for helping to get the article published, and thanks to Tanvi Kumar for authoring it.

    Shame on Fond du Lac High School Principal Jon Wiltzius for censoring the truth.

  6. NO Means NO!

    Bullying in ANY form, especially full assault sexually, is reprehensible.

    Bad form for the school to shut the article down;
    and great form – for giving the subject this forum here!

  7. Congrats on a great story on a very disturbing issue. Almost as disturbing as the school administration’s censorship.

  8. This is an incredibly well written piece, even the parts that were painful to read. As a sexual abuse survivor myself, I truly wish this article had been printed. That several of the girls mentioned did not know that what they suffered was rape breaks my heart. We clearly need to be having more conversations about this subject.

    Thank you for giving this piece a voice.

  9. Good article…but I have “issues.”

    “According to popular online media outlet buzzfeed.com, “‘Rape culture” is a culture in which sexual violence is considered the norm — in which people aren’t taught not to rape, but are taught not to be raped.”

    Why is wanting your daughter to be safe and teaching her how to be safe wrong? Isn’t it better to prevent being raped vs. living with having been raped? We teach our children to look both ways when they cross the street. We don’t expect cars to be able to stop when they run into the road. We tell our children not to talk to strangers and most of us vaccinate them from diseases. We wear our seat belts to prevent injury if we happen to be in a car accident. My son told that there are parts of the city where he and his friends don’t go because they there is a “greater possibility” they would get robbed. Why is it not reasonable to protect yourself from the possibility of rape? If either gender drinks to intoxication, they may become a victim of sexual assault or robbery. The University of Wisconsin INFORMS new students how to be safe. Lock your doors. Go in groups. Don’t get drunk.


    How do you teach guys “not to rape?” I raised two sons as a single mother. I taught them to respect women, starting with me, and that “no means no.” I didn’t specifically tell them not to rape anyone. I also didn’t tell them not to rob banks. So far that haven’t done either one. I was more concerned that my sons would think the sex was consensual and the girl would later change her mind that it was and they would be arrested.

  10. Excellent article. Kudos to the author – and the victims – for speaking out on a subject that NEEDS to be discussed, even if it is uncomfortable for many. By supressing discussion on rape, the culture of rape continues.

    I remember being shocked in my criminal law class when a student (male) questioned whether the vicitm is really a victim or is asking / accepting / consenting. Fast forward 15 years and sad to say, this same man was accused of raping a legal secretary in the firm. We all have a role to educate about and change the rape culture.

  11. “We live in a world where powerful men like Woody Allen and Julian Assange can be accused of sexual assault and never be brought to justice…”

    Or…there is not enough evidence to convict them of a crime. I about fell off the couch while watching Law & Order:Special Victims Unit when I heard Detective Olivia Benson (while waiting for the jury to return with a verdict) say…”SVU is the only unit where the victim’s word isn’t good enough, you have to prove a crime was committed.” Yeah. Proof. Who needs that?

    I refer you back to Dr. Turley’s blog of yesterday.

    “In this case, the university responded but the student disagrees with its conclusions.”


  12. jmquinn, backwards first. re SVU quote when a woman does not have bruises, cuts, etc the defense then can say it was consensual. You want to go back to the days (well, they are still here) when it was not enough to survive the attack and di what you needed to do to live. I gather you would prefer a woman fight to the point where she suffers more injuries then the rape.
    Of course you teach your daughter to be safe but you don’t do that at the expense of teaching males rape is wrong. You don’t say to a driver, hey, don’t bother to swerve when the kid runs into the street because it is on the kid, not on the driver to do all he (she can) to not hurt the kid.
    Your last sentence confirms the worst thinking: that you taught your kids that women are liars and will entrap men. Sad.

  13. nick spinelli

    Kudos to Ms. Kumar and Mr. Turley. Fighting the education industry is an important battle.
    Indeed, because “education industry” is an oxymoron.

    The industry which dwarfs education is the Agnotology Industry in our midst.

  14. Thank you for printing this. I’ve been following this story because this is my high school (Fond du Lac High School is the successor to Goodrich High).

    In 1977, when I was in college in Madison, we worked to have Judge Archie Simonson recalled (the first recall of an elected official in WI history) because he referred to the way in which a rape student was dressed in leniently sentencing her rapist.

    We worked for Moria Krueger in the special election (she won).

    I really thought that blaming the victim was a thing of the past … at least mostly.

    “Rape jokes?” Really?

    This is how the principal addressed the problem? And yes, Mr. Wiltzius, your school has a problem.

  15. Having read this, makes me believe that there are actually people out there who understand what really happens to a woman/girl who has been raped. I give this girl credit for bringing this sorrowful topic out in the open. No truer words were ever written on this subject and I suspect someone should check into the past of the Princial. Good for this young lady for having the nerve to lay it all out for the world to see and thanks to this blog for carrying the story.

    A girl can be careful all her life and it only takes one unprotected situation to change her life completely. Sadly, it is still her fault acording to the Rape Culture. The problem is that men/boys are given the green light to abuse more women as long as they have to pay no penalty and because of the laws today. Once he rapes and gets by with it, he will rape again. How many men/boys will look back and ask himself: Was the girl he just had sex with really consenting, too drunk to give consent,or not strong enough to fight him off? Was it really a forced conquest.?

  16. I can’t say how incredibly disappointing it is that our civil liberties, including our right to free speech, are being curtailed by questionable decisions made by the modern court system. I do not understand how students lack the right to free speech as much as any adult–I certainly do not recall the framers of the Constitution determining that only people outside the educational system have the right to free speech. Bravo to the author, and to JT for publishing this excellent piece of journalism. As for the school “administration” (to use the term loosely): I don’t know how they can look at themselves in the mirror.

  17. @jmquinn, you really have no clue, do you? You didn’t teach your two sons not to rape. Why not? How else are they going to learn it is sick to rape someone. I don’t object to teaching young women and older ones that they should try all they can to stay safe and stay safe from being raped. We, mothers of daughters, do just THAT but what with mothers of sons not making it entirely clear to their sons that if a woman/girl says no, in spite of them being drunk or dressed skimpily, it is NO! What about telling your sons that you’d be disgusted with them if they ever ignored the NO in “I don’t want to have sex”? I think you represent part of the problem of victim blaming here and elsewhere in the world and you should be ashamed of yourself. To tell you the truth, I hope my daughter (who was brutally raped a few years ago) never ever gets close to your goodie sons. What does it take for a mother to educate their sons about what is right and wrong? Why are you ducking your responsibility? Argh.

  18. Thank you for writing this piece Ms. Kumar. It is amazingly well written, thorough, thoughtful and compassionate. Thanks for putting it in this blog JT.

    I had some questions for the administrators. 1. Mr. Wiltzius, you said,
    “… there was some questionable content.” What is questionable in the content?

    2. “Superintendent Dr. James Sebert specifically took issue with a picture on the inside cover that shows a woman described as “laying lifeless” in the middle of cardboard boxes.” Why did you take issue with that picture? How do you feel about the way the students discussed that photo and what they decided to do in the end?

    3. “School Board President Elizabeth Hayes…said she objected to the headline “The Rape Joke” because people might not understand it….: “This publication is supported by taxpayer funds and it should be held to a high standard. And we should also be encouraging students to hold high standards of respect.” Yet the article explained the headline in great detail. There are many cases where a reporter uses a headline about a subject we may know little or nothing about until we read the story. Why is this headline unique in this regard?

    Would you explain why this article is not written to a high standard? In what way is it deficient? You also said students should hold high standards of respect. How does it not hold a high standard of respect? How is it disrespectful?

  19. Ms Kumar, congratulations on a quality article that would not be out of place in Salon or The Washington post.

    I have one nit to pick. Julian Assange is not a good example to go with Woody Allen, how about Roman Polanski instead.

    Julian Assange has managed to climb high into the sinus cavities of many powerful US politicians and spies and they have more than enough reasons to want to discredit him. Standard Operating Procedure for discrediting a whistle blower is to charge her/him with a crime, preferably a sex crime. There are three possible interpretations of events re Assange in the UK and Sweden:-
    1/ A sincere attempt to convict Assange of a sex crime;
    2/ An attempt to smear Assange with the charges with the intention of getting him to flee extradition because of not unreasonable fear of extradition to the US;
    3/ A desire to extradite Assange to the US from Sweden which is seen as easier than extraditing him from the UK. Despite the fact that the UK’s extradition treaty with the US makes extradition there very easy it may be that the political considerations relating to extraditing Assange from the UK make it impractical.

  20. Banks Use False Rape Charges to Silence Julian Assange

    Interpol sent out an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. What most don’t know is that this arrest warrant concerns an long-ago discredited rape case.
    Several months ago, Assange was falsely accused of rape. The accusations were repudiated:
    On 20 August 2010, an investigation was opened against Assange in Sweden in connection with an allegation that he had raped a woman in Enköping on the weekend of 14 August after a seminar, and two days later had sexually harassed a second woman he had been staying with in Stockholm. Shortly after the investigation opened, however, chief prosecutor Eva Finné overruled the prosecutor on call the night the report was filed, withdrawing the warrant to arrest Assange and saying “I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.”
    It wasn’t until Assange revealed that he had documents exposing massive corruption in a bank that an international manhunt for him began. If you oppose Assange, you are a useful idiot for the banks.

    Source http://www.crimeandfederalism.com/2010/12/banks-use-false-rape-charges-to-silence-julian-assange-.html

  21. The other part of the rape culture is that young men who have sex early in life are described as “sowing their wild oats.” Apparently, that is okay. My question to that phrase is with whom do you think they are “sowing their wild oats”? They don’t go to prostitutes; thus, it is most likely peers of theirs who will get branded as a slut. Yet, these peers are expected not to have sex until they get married. Such a double standard! It also still seems to be alive and doing well. It seems to me that the double standards have gotten worse not better since I was a teenager in the fifties and sixties.

  22. There is little doubt that it’s tough being a kid. You have an undeveloped body, brain, and the decision-making can be downright bad with tragic outcomes–especially when it comes to the sex drive. Nobody can be trusted, really. This is what needs to be taught especially.

  23. I am 65. I was assaulted by my father very early. When I was 6 my mother cut off my blonde curls, dressed me in boys’ clothing and changed my name to George, presumably so he would leave me alone. My second sister (I was the third child) never recovered from the effects of this awful childhood and died at 55 of alcohol and drug abuse. I have carried the shame and hurt my entire life. It has had an appallingly negative effect on my relationships, both with my partners and with my children. In fact my oldest, my son who turned 39 yesterday, hasn’t spoken to me in over 7 years. I am very fortunate that my daughter and I have shared our history of abuse, her grandfather on her father’s side was sexually abusive to his daughter and all his granddaughters, and she and I have an extremely strong bond despite now living 6000 miles apart. I am especially fortunate to be married, 11 years now, to a kind, loving and understanding man and can look at my abusive past in a detached manner, and live in harmony.

  24. The censorship itself at the school is a rape, not just a rape joke. Thanks Ms. Kumar for a very thoughtful article.You have not only showed your talent but more importantly shed the light on the dark corners of innocence.

  25. Far more vile than some, clearly sick, physical rapists.

    Are the PURE EVIL 4 decades ongoing all-Murdochized Media Mass Mind Rapists, distorting public perceptions on MOST issues.

    24/7 for greed, ratings and profit deviously masked as Public Protection, the AngloVile bent-Cops/Polit/Media deliver Mass Deception not Public Protection.

    Self Interest, not public Interest.


  26. Just finishing jury duty this week. I had to listen to a 20-something woman describe being raped by her ex-boyfriend & his roommate. Their defense appeared to have been built on their belief that they had done nothing wrong really since she had sex with the boyfriend when they were a couple (with a dose of “he and I were so drunk we don’t remember a lot of things despite remembering other parts clear as day”). Those two men will have some time to contemplate their ‘rape joke’ and be registers sex offenders for the rest of their lives. I am having some problems at the moment processing what I heard & saw.

    It made me think a lot about how I raised my children. Yes, I gave detailed instructions to my daughter about how to avoid being raped. I was not foolish enough to think some would look at her dress or behavior as an excuse or to blame her had that happened. That does not make it right but then again not being aware of it makes you vulnerable. I also talked to my sons about ‘no’ and about boundaries but after this experience I wonder if I went far enough, if I was forceful enough. I hope I raised them to be better men but I wonder if these two have parents that thought the same thing.

  27. It is interesting to examine why dressing in a certain manner is believed to be asking for rape. Rape is a violent, not sexual response to sexuality. A sexual response would entail, at most, asking a woman if she would like to have sex because you found her attractive. A woman is not asking for a violent response when she gets dressed.

    The article was correct to make a religious connection to rape. First, most fundamentalist religions of every stripe do not accept sexuality as a part of what it means to be a human being. This prevents both females and males from understanding themselves as sexual beings, keeping everyone ignorant of their bodies, minds and hearts. Secondly, these are male dominant religions, (along with the rest of their society). In a male dominate system, men do not tend to see women as friends. They do see them as responsible for male behavior and they see violent male behavior towards women as normal. Thus women “cause” rape.

    Male dominance also accounts for the betrayal of children by their parents and other adults. The first duty of any adult is to protect, love and support a child, yet the opposite is much more common. Actual love, kindness and friendship, the protection and nurture of children demands that we leave behind male dominance and seek equality between all people. We have a lot of work to do to get there.

  28. IN a nutshell, our sick society would rather act as if rape is not a problem and looks another way. Yet every day we read of some young woman raped or some child molested and killed to hide the evidence of some perverted jerk that enjoys what he is doing. When I was a child I literally knew of at least one case where the men in the county caught (Posse like) the guilty individual, and like a young bull he was neutered. Never again did the man ever harm another girl.

    If a man is jailed for such a crime, and has served a sentence for it, Society should insist if caught again he be neutered before being released to prevent the crime from continuing because of his aggression on women and children. How many investigations have turned up fields of men who were raped, killed and buried? We must as a society begin teaching our young men that raping or molesting any child or woman can result in harm to his own self. As the law stands today, there is no real punishment that would deter a rapist from “sowing his wild oats” and continuing to rape as his aggression grows in manhood. If the aggressor faced not only jail but the possibility of having that ability to perform taken from him, the chance of the same aggressor harming another would be almost nil. Instead women live in fear of the worst happening to them and being blamed as having caused herself to be raped by her actions even though she is actually the victim. Society turns its head while more women and children go missing each year.

    You may say this is barbaric treatment, but I ask you, is not rape the same for the woman or child?. If parents refuse to teach their children that such treatment of women and children, be it boy or girl, is forbidden,, then having such a law could very well serve as a deterrent. If you think not, then read the young lady’s article again and rethink the situation.

  29. Ms. Kumar, Excellent work.

    Followup questions, some rhetorical:
    Was the principal aware of the rape culture in the school? If not, why not? Perhaps this is why he found the article inappropriate or, more likely, threatening.

    Has he used your excellent research and writing as a learning moment? I’m afraid he has, but he has drawn some really bad conclusions in deciding to silence the messenger.

    Has he done anything to change the rape culture in the school? For example, have there been discussions with/among the teaching staff about how to change the rape culture, perhaps with guest experts? If not, why not?

    The school has at least two serious problems that seem to be related:
    1. A rape culture that needs to be changed.
    2. An administration that prefers to censor the newspaper that exposed the rape culture rather than dealing with the rape culture.

    Your principal has really done you and many rape victims a service. His knee-jerk reaction by killing the messenger has made your story go well beyond the school grounds. It’s too bad he doesn’t realize that there is a group of students working on that newspaper that are superstars. Kudos to the rest of the team and your adviser.

  30. Jill: You are right, keep on writing. Maybe we can give them enough fodder to chew on and possibly change some of the ways many men (who are dominant in governing this world) look at their role in raping which is being arrogantly selfish and telling himself that she is asking for it. To blame the woman and not the man for his actions is to make her the aggressor and therefore he is not responsible for his own actions as if he has no control in the horrible act of rape. He elevates his position to being one of giving her what she asked for instead of seeing his actions as criminal and destructive. This mentality seems to be dominant not only in this culture but in others also. “Even if the woman says “NO” he has convinced himself that she does not mean it. ” NO” MEANS “NO” IN ANY LANGUAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Perpetrator, no matter whether a professor, leader of any kind, teacher, or man older than the victim or any person in authority, no matter what his position in life, has no right to commit such atrocities on another person. The professor knew what he was doing and had probably done it before..

  31. jmquinnn

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have a comments section on an important post about rape culture not despoiled by someone spewing rape apologia?

    Yet another confirmation of how deeply rape culture is entrenched in our society.

  32. There is no rape culture in the US or anywhere really and it is really frightening to hear people say essentially “Why cant we imprison someone for twenty years based solely on one person’s testimony” ummm because that’s orwhellian dangerous crazy person!

  33. Yeah, by some people’s standards, we are supposed to accept that this is a normal world, no rape culture, no pedophilia, no homosexuality. No criminals, we don’t need guns, or protection from crazies, We live in OZ

    Usually, there is evidence to go along with the one person’s testimony, or background history to prove the person has violated others.

Comments are closed.