Cortney Beymer WIA

Cortney Beymer, of Athens.

Do you understand what “rape culture” means, and if so, do you thing it's prevalent in Athens?

“Yes I understand what rape culture means. I do think there is an under current here in Athens. Remember the town is made up of not only students but also locals who live here. A large part of rape culture is the misunderstanding and lack of education of what rape actually is physically and emotionally for the victim and the assailant. We still have groups of people who use terms like ‘she asked for it’ and ‘she put herself in that position’ so yes, it does happen here.

– Heather Cozart, 38, of Athens

Health-care director

 

“I know what it means and I didn’t think it was an issue any more so than any where else but I also know not all rape is reported.”

– Shawna Young, 30, of Guysville

Teller supervisor

 

“I do not feel that ‘rape culture’ is prevalent in Athens, at least not in the university setting but it could be argued that in outlying areas in the county it is. Some may argue that there are two different worlds within Athens County. One that is intermingled with the culture, diversity and intellectualism of the university and one that is fighting poverty, discrimination and generational norms.

– Cortney Beymer, 37, of Athens

Social worker

 

“Not from my aged perspective but I do believe there are a percentage of people waiting to take advantage of others who are very inebriated and have gotten separated from their friends. It is very common to see young people staggering home by themselves.”

– Lea Chiki, 64, of Athens

RN

 

“Okay, so I Googled it. Unfortunately it is prevalent… pretty much in any college town with young men, hormones, alcohol, etc. I would like to point out that rape is everyone’s issue, regardless of gender.”

– Amanda Conrath, 39, of Athens

Accounting clerk

 

“I know what rape culture means, and have lived in circumstances (long ago, in blue-collar work conditions in another state) where it was prevalent. I see some signs of it in Athens, but happily (so far) only through media and second-hand sources. I think rape culture is less 'prevalent' than 'presumed in certain circumstances,' which is concerning but also more easily modifiable than in places where most of the populace adhere to it unquestioningly.

– Faith Knutsen, 53, of Athens

Associate director of operations for TechGROWTH Ohio

 

“Rape culture is when rape becomes a societal norm. Yes, it's prevalent in Athens. It's prevalent everywhere. We live in a time where a group of young men found it necessary to invent a nail polish to detect date rape drugs in drinks. I don't know if I'm more horrified that rape culture is a thing or that it's possible for people to profit off of it.”

– Kami Perritt, 38, of New Marshfield

Certified application counselor

 

 “I do understand what ‘rape culture’ means. The disregard for women's experiences (victim blaming, rape denial,etc.) is a global problem and by no means limited to Athens county.”

– Jennifer Dockman, 33, of Nelsonville

Office drone

 

“It certainly is still prevalent in Athens, it's only gone behind closed doors. The most common aspect of rape culture that I witness and hear about are the sexist jokes that men and boys tell each other that are meant to demean women in general and reinforce a sort of dominance over them. Blonde jokes, jokes about height, driving ability, boobs, speculation on a woman's ability in bed... They really are not funny, guys, and they create a threatening atmosphere. Would you tell the joke to your grandma? If not, don't let it pass your lips.”

– Lisa Heinz, 46, of Albany

Doctorate student

 

“I think I do and I'm not sure that it's any more prevalent in Athens than anywhere else in the country. Luckily less prevalent in our country than in many others. I believe more sex education in school is key in not only preventing teen pregnancy but also lowering the occurrence of rape/sexual assault. Maybe a class in empathy and personal responsibility would be an added bonus. So many young people have an attitude of entitlement and lack empathy for their fellow human beings. It's a scary combination. If I think I should have everything I want, when I want it and don't care or understand how other people feel and see them only as obstacles to my goal? Recipe for disaster.”

– Alisa Loudner, 46, of Nelsonville

Sales associate

 

“I do understand what rape culture is, and it is prevalent in Athens, although, thankfully, not as much as it is elsewhere. Athens is leaps and bounds ahead of many of the backward-thinking communities not only in Southeast Ohio but basically everywhere.”                 

– Meriah Bond, 35, of Nelsonville

Billing clerk

 

“I do and I feel there have been a few instances of it in our county and surrounding counties. I myself have not known of anyone personally or spoken to anyone who personally has felt it.”

– Virginia Dykeman, 40, of Athens

Home-health aide

 

“Yes. I believe I was rufied at a party recently. Fortunately for me, I always go out with a friend who I can trust not to leave me. Fraternities being rumored to rape on the regular not being investigated further is a problem for me, as well.”

– Jessann Black, 26, of Athens

Server

 

“I am supposing that it is the acceptance of the ‘boys will be boys’ and that ‘o doesn't really mean no’ attitudes. For years women were not valued by their male peers. They seemed to feel that women were there to have sexual intercourse with them. That they were inferior and didn't matter. The fraternities would bond together to protect their members if a female dare accuse them. The women had a lot more to lose. It seemed to ‘legitimize’ rape because there were no consequences for the males. Of course I could be way off base, too.”

– Kim Brown, 68, of Athens

Retired from OU Athletics and College of Education

 

“I think I do understand what rape culture means, but if it's prevalent in Athens it's probably more a part of life at OU and I'm not too connected with that scene.”

– Evelina Bloom, 32, of Athens

Marketing

 

“I understand the term and am very aware of it. I do not see much of it, but I also do not walk around in the masses of people uptown during the day and at night, so I’m probably missing a lot.”

– Jessica Fletcher, 26, of Athens

Music therapist

 

“In this county as a whole, there's a very real, very big problem and most people don't want to talk about it or don't see it. It's not always obvious, but it is pervasive. There are a lot of things that happen in Athens that people think will remain hidden from the public eye, whether it's questionable tactics used by a defense attorney during a rape trial, or students hanging ridiculous signs from their houses, but people see more than you think and Athens County is starting to embody the ‘dualing banjos’ stereotype of Appalachia that we've worked so hard to move away from.”

– Caitlin Seida, 26, of The Plains

Writer

 

“Yes, I understand it. I don't how prevalent it is, because I don't engage in university life. I do wish that girls would watch out for themselves and each other a bit more. Again, our culture encourages our young ladies and men to go out, party and get intoxicated. It is a recipe for trouble.”

– Karen Radebaugh, 38, of Athens

Student/artist

 

“If it's real to one person, then it's real!”

– Connie Patterson, 36, of Athens

Assistant dean

 

“Athens is a small community with a lot of students; rape culture is an issue in Athens. There needs to be more transparency with the police in alerting the student body about ANY case of sexual assault that involves a student whether it's on or off campus.”

– Lily, 20, of Athens

Student

 

“I am shocked by the incidence of rape on the OU campus.”

– Helen Horn, 83, of New Marshfield

Former teacher, counselor, oral historian, writer

 

“Rape culture is when it's been ‘socially acceptable’ to rape people. I think it's complete BS. Since when is it OK to take someone saying NO as YES? Since when is it OK in society to take complete advantage of another person and not have any consequences? I think Athens has become more aware of it since it's been brought up in media; however, I don't believe it's as prevalent as to say Athens is a "rape culture."

– Amanda Pugh, 23, of Athens

Real estate assistant

 

“I do know what rape culture means. I certainly hope it isn't prevalent in Athens. I think in the Athens community, it is not. However, ask OU students and other young people. Their perspective may be different. I'll be curious to see how freshman women at OU respond this question. When I was a freshman at OU, I would have answered ‘no’ to this question. Of course, that was back in the day when you had to get on a phone to schedule classes and if you got ‘locked out of a class,’ you had to stand in line at the Convo to try to register for it. On the plus side, the dorms did have electricity and running water.”

– Jennifer Schwirian, 40-something, of The Plains, Worker bee

 

“Rape culture is prevalent in Athens; it is everywhere. Sexual violence is often ignored, trivialized, normalized, or made into jokes in our community. Take a look at some of banners/signs that are hung outside college housing in September when students return. I hear it in jokes, music, casual conversation and media often. I'm thankful that we're having some of this difficult dialogue in our community, as it's the only way to educate and create change.”

– Amanda Sharrai, 38, of Athens

Realtor

 

“This is a college town; kids are out on their own for the first time in their young inexperienced lives. There is drinking and partying going on and new experiences taking place behind closed doors. There has always been violence; there has always been rapes. We are more aware of the numbers now because of the ever present 24/7 news cycle but I don't think it's more. I just think we hear about more cases now.”

– Marcy O'Brien, 63, of Shade

Classified employee, OU

 

“I do feel like it's prevalent because there aren't any free classes about ways to prevent it. However, it's really hard to give an honest yes or no to this question. It seems like most of the rapes I read about that were reported are where females claim that they are too drunk to remember exactly what happened. If they are too drunk, then how do they remember if it was consent or not.”

– Nikki Burcher, 22, of Glouster

Graphic designer

 

“Yes I do understand what ‘rape culture’ means. I think it is a real thing, and people need to be educated on the proper way to treat others and themselves. Men and women alike need to respect their own bodies as well as each other’s. People need to value bringing joy into the world, and protecting people. No joy should come from hurting others.”

– Emily Brunton, 29, of Glouster

Optician

 

“Duh. We have men who are known around town as being rapists and fraternity houses that are known for drugging and raping women and yet nothing happens to them? Anyone who thinks rape culture doesn't exist is ignorant. The questions on this survey are enough to show that it most certainly is prevalent.”

– Erin Nash, 41, of Amesville

Librarian and massage therapist

 

“I don't know if I would categorize Athens as having a rape culture but I do think several aspects are prevalent. Victim blaming, like your question about whether women should avoid wearing revealing clothing, is obviously an issue. Clothes do not cause rape; rapists do. Trivializing rape happens often, especially alongside victim blaming. The students and fraternities that hang offensive banners are proving that sexual objectification is still something we have to deal with.”

– Natalie Eskey, 32, of Athens

Baker/business owner

 

The Athens NEWS said there have been nine sexual assaults on campus this year? Rape culture, what else could you call it?”

– Vicky Mattson, 55, of Athens

Homemaker

 

“Yes, too much drinking and rowdiness.”

– Tabitha Rhoades, 24, of Glouster

Should Ohio University punish or sanction students who hand offensive and/or sexist banners from their houses during Move-In Weekend?

“I do not think they should be punished criminally. I do think however if they are students or live in an organized housing complex, like a dorm, sorority or fraternity house, they should be asked to attend a ‘rape awareness’ course by the organization they belong to.”

Heather Cozart, 38, of Athens

Health-care director

 

“Unless it is on Ohio University buildings I do not think they should be involved. The more attention we give those individuals the more they will hang. Nothing has changed they did it at OSU when I went there.”

Cortney Beymer, 37, of Athens

Social worker

 

“I think they should have to take down the signs and take a class on rape culture.”

Christin Tripp, 30, of Athens

Analyst/Econ instructor

 

“I'd like to see a cultural shift that finds these distinctly unpleasant and unfunny banners unthinkable. I'm not sure of the best way to go about such change. Punishment of individuals, particularly of young offenders tasting the 'supported freedom' of a college environment, tends to create martyrs and heighten the sense of 'risky fun' in taking any edgy, semi-unapproved action. Sanctions against, or punishment of, landlords on whose buildings such banners are hung, or of institutions where they are displayed, might broaden ownership of the need for culture change to community leaders, property owners and institutional supervisors rather than to younger and far less responsible pranksters.”

Faith Knutsen, 53, of Athens

Associate director of operations

 

“In some way. These banners are NOT a ‘tradition’ and even if so, they are not a tradition that should be accepted. I have been to other schools that top the ‘party school’ list and at these schools, this honor is not celebrated and the school immediately begins cracking down on parties and trying to refurbish the school's image. In Athens, (it seems) students feel entitled to do whatever they want and it is largely allowed. Is the university a huge part of Athens? Absolutely. But does that mean that we are required to let a few students do whatever they want? Certainly not. In society at large (and especially in universities and in social scenes), women have to fight for respect, acceptance and equal rights. In this day and age, there shouldn't even be a discussion about whether it is appropriate for banners to hang that are demeaning to women, let alone blatantly objectifying.

Sarah Nelson, 30, of Athens

Special education teacher

 

“I struggle with this. I believe in the First Amendment. I also recognize free speech is not free of consequence. I find it tasteless. I don't find humor in it. I don't think it's appropriate. I think most of the time it's harmless and there is no ill intent. I just don't know what the answer is here.”

Kami Perritt, 38, of New Marshfield

Certified application counselor

 

“Free speech is protected but educational opportunities exist in these situations. If someone is offended by the signs they should speck out. Many ways to do this. Being offended and saying nothing is in a way supporting the idiocy.”

Ann Moneypenny, 54, of Athens

Committee chair at Upgrade Athens County

 

“Freedom of Speech. I hope the students grow up, but they are allowed to make idiots of themselves.”

– Carissa Rose, 26, of Athens

Massage therapist

 

“Well, freedom of speech is a tough thing to police. These banners aren't on OU property and may not be hung by students or OU sanctioned student groups. The university shouldn't (and really can't) punish these individuals. All students have the opportunity to create the kind of culture that they want to live in. If students do not like or appreciate these banners, they need to address the problem directly. I think these banners do not create or positively contribute to the ‘bobcat family’ vibe that many students embrace and perpetuate. There are so many caring, considerate men and women on OU's campus, it's a shame that a few people with a harmful message get so much publicity. I'd love to see more groups putting up positive messages that communicate the ‘bobcat family’ experience that so many OU students share.”

– Jennifer Dockman, 33, of Nelsonville

Office drone

 

“Yes. If you are a student, on or off campus, you represent the university (and your families), and speech that goes against the values of the university should be strongly discouraged. No, you cannot go to jail for such banners, but I believe students should potentially lose financial support for promoting sexual or racial harassment among their peers.”

– Lisa Heinz, 46, of Albany

Doctorate student

 

“Penalize definitely. It's inappropriate.”

– Jennifer Theiss, 35, of Coolville

Personal assistant

 

“That's a tough call. I am all about free speech, but it should have its limits. If the message comes across as a call to violence against someone else, then sanction away. If it's just giving a voice to the ignorant, let them showcase their true, ignorant selves to the world. Let the fallout from their own idiocy be their punishment.”

– Meriah Bond, 35, of Nelsonville

Billing clerk

 

“No. It doesn't say anything to suggest rape. You don’t have to ‘leave your daughters’ at a party. They could go on their own free will, and they probably will. If you're offended by the sign, don't go to the party.”

– Jessann Black, 26, of Athens

Server

 

“Punish them to the fullest extent of university law. Otherwise OU is contributing to the rape culture we are desperately trying to destroy.”

– Anna Stevens, 34, of Millfield

Administrative assistant

 

“Yes. Follow the actions of institutions that took a stand and show their support for women. Don't hide behind the sheets like mommy's skirt. Silence indicates acceptance. Is that the message the university wants to send?”

– Kim Brown, 68, of Athens

Retired from OU Athletics and College of Education

 

“That's a tough one. I support free speech, but not hate speech. It would depend on the severity of the message. Perhaps it would be helpful to make diversity training part of a required class at the university.”

– Evelina Bloom, 32, of Athens

Marketing

 

“YES! It makes me uncomfortable and these kids aren’t thinking!!! I had a staff meeting with my out of town boss during move-in weekend this year and it was incredibly embarrassing to walk down the street with her past all these

banners! They make girls feel unsafe (and families scared!)”

– Jessica Fletcher, 26, of Athens

Music therapist

 

“Why not just say no to the signs altogether? They're a fire hazard, a hindrance to moving, a distraction to traffic, and on top of it all a medium for shouting offense. There are better ways to welcome students to campus.”

– Caitlin Seida, 26, of The Plains

Writer

 

“These banners are lacking self-respect, as well as respect for others who live in this town. I know that the students ‘think’ that they are being witty, but in reality it makes them look silly and rude. Should OU punish them? If they are off campus, how would OU have the jurisdiction? Perhaps the Athens Police Dept. should do more to put a stop

to it. People might cry ‘freedom of speech,’ but I am pretty sure this is not what our forefathers had in mind! Where is the line drawn between free speech and respect for others? Just something to think about.”

– Karen Radebaugh, 38, of Athens

Student/artist

 

“I'm not sure if Ohio University has the authority to do this if it is not on university property. That said, continuing to openly discuss the topic of offensive and/or sexist language is important. We can't shy away from the tough topics.”

– Connie Patterson, 36, of Athens

Assistant dean

 

“Absolutely. Move-in weekend is about coming home and welcoming new students to the ranks. Offensive and sexist banners take away from the feeling of family and security that Athens prides itself in. The banners and signs are unacceptable.”

– Lily, 20, of Athens

Student

 

“It is offensive, but puerile behavior is something predictable with immature men. Other peers around them, not the administration, should wake them up to more mature ways to get attention.”

– Helen Horn, 83, of New Marshfield

Former teacher, counselor, oral historian, writer

 

“Yes. Ohio University needs to take a stand and not allow people to hang those banners, say the offensive things, or act that way towards others. It's a bad look for the university and for Athens as a whole, when we are published everywhere in the news for students acting sexist and immature.”

 

– Amanda Pugh, 23, of Athens

Real estate assistant

 

“Is banishing them to the depths of hell an option? No? OK, well, in that case, I guess we all need to talk more about what makes a rape culture. Odds are the students think they are being funny vs. contributing to a rape culture. The students may need a crash course on how to reduce and eliminate the rape culture on college campuses. Communication, education, empathy, and more education.”

– Jennifer Schwirian, 40-something, of The Plains, Worker bee

 

“Yes, punish them. Whether it be a joke or not, it's hurtful and unacceptable to degrade others and should not be taken lightly. Zero tolerance.”

– Amanda Sharrai, 38, of Athens

Realtor

 

“No! This is the beginning of the students' access to FREE SPEECH. In a blink of the eye, these same young men are going to be fathers and will be dropping their daughters off at college!! Irony.”

– Marcy OBrien, 63, of Shade

Classified employee, OU

 

“I think they should. Not only does it make the people who hung them up look like an egotistical pig, but it also makes the campus look trashy. I know if I was a dean and saw what people were saying/yelling to the new students, I would be embarrassed.”

– Nikki Burcher, 22, of Glouster

Graphic designer

 

“I think the city of Athens should deal with its residents.

– Emily Brunton, 29, of Glouster

Optician

 

“Absolutely. They need to know that this kind of crap isn't OK. How would you feel if your sister was raped and then came on campus and saw some stupid banner basically proclaiming that this house is going to rape you? Men who think this is OK really need a lesson in sensitivity and being decent human beings who contribute to society instead of making it worse.”

– Erin Nash, 41, of Amesville

Librarian and massage therapist

 

“I do. If they were hanging those banners from houses they own, it would be a different story. Offensive, but different. They are giving OU, the dorms and Greek life a bad name with their actions.”

– Natalie Eskey, 32, of Athens

Baker/business owner

 

“Free speech. How could you stop it without a lawsuit?”

– Vicky Mattson, 55, of Athens

Homemaker

 

“Yes, but not the rebel flag.”

– Tabitha Rhoades, 24, of Glouster

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