Feminist Update: October 2015
Why is this important in feminism?
The Labrie case shines a light on the issues of rape still prominent today. Although Labrie is still being punished for his actions, he still believed he was entitled to take advantage of the victim because she was acting like a “tease.” Many consumers of the story were still playing into the idea of “boys will be boys” because of St. Paul’s tradition. However, traditions should not matter in this case, as the victim spoke up and testified that the sex was not consensual. Also, we must not forget the victim was 15, and by law is unable to provide consent, regardless if the sex was agreed upon by her. Basically, the case represents how we live in a society of rape culture.
According to Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW), rape culture is defined as “ a term that was coined by feminists in the United States in the 1970’s. It was designed to show the ways in which society blamed victims of sexual assault and normalized male sexual violence.” Because Labrie was a star pupil attending Harvard, his actions have become normalized. “Boys will be boys” is no longer an excuse here. Labrie’s defense lawyers believe the sex offender label was “too harsh” of a punishment, but that’s the price to pay for entitlement.