For a glimpse at how normalized rape culture is at this University, one only has to go to the “USC Hook-Ups” Facebook page, a site in which people can anonymously send in accounts of their latest “hook-up” for the reading pleasure of the public.
The problem with this Facebook page is not that it encourages casual sex or that it celebrates having many sexual partners—things I consider to be morally neutral. The problem is that “hook-up” culture, as of now, does not advocate for respect of the individual. Rape, sexual assault and coercion are norms within it, and worse, within this culture it seems that people cannot even recognize sexual violence, even when it is literally in their faces on their computer screens.
I started reading the page because I knew that I would find homophobia, and examples of degradation, most commonly in the form of the word “bitch” and the chastising of women for bleeding on bed sheets. What truly angered me, though, were the posts that were explicit examples of rape culture being played out. One post goes so far as to describe an instance of rape.
The rape post stated, “#85 My date just woke me up by asking what happened last night. She doesn’t remember anything and asked if she cheated on her boyfriend. I said definitely. She cried and walked home.”
In a rage, I started to comment on the posts that I deemed to be the most extreme in terms of sexual violence. The first I commented on is a post whose punch line is the idea of pain experienced by a female. The post read, “#42. To the girl I made bleed from going so hard. Sorry about that. I’ll send you painkillers for a delivery soon.” When even worse posts started to surface, like one which managed to simultaneously “slut-shame,” mock physical pain and chastise a woman for choosing not to continue sex, started to arise, I began to comment more frequently and was met with racist and sexist opposition. One male student told me to “shut. up.,” the periods at the end of each word indicating that he was used to barking orders at women. I kindly replied, “yes master.”
Eventually, I was barred from commenting on the site and all my comments were deleted by the administrator of the Facebook page. That’s right. This page that is filled top to bottom with violence, rape culture, degradation, hate speech, homophobia, posted videos without the consent of those within them, peeping toms and the mock of consent chose to only delete the comments which called people out for perpetuating sexual violence.
The most disturbing thing about this page is that it displays fully the fact that a large proportion of our student body cannot recognize violence when they see it. When I called out a post that read, “#83 To the girl from last semester that only let me fuck her for 3 minutes because she was ‘Too sore from getting fucked by someone else the night before’, thanks for the blue balls. #throwback”, another student replied that I needed to reevaluate what I saw as violence and go to “Tijuana” or “the ghetto” to see what was actually up. Actually, sir, it is you that needs to reevaluate what you see as violence. You and every other student who liked any of the posts on this page.
It was proven on “USC Hookups” that USC students are in a perpetual state of risk. We are at risk because so many people cannot tell when they are “hooking up” with someone or raping them. They can’t tell when they are simply making a joke or propagating rape culture by chastising someone for not continuing sex. I’m aware that most of these posts are probably fabricated, but that does not change the implications of the responses to them. If it were all fun and games and one big joke, I would not know so many victims of sexual assault and harassment on this campus. I would not be an eye witness to it so often and I would not be a victim of it so many times myself.