A group of UNC professors is concerned there is a lack of dialogue about rape — and the dialogue that does exist is infected with stereotypes and negative language.
Three professors from a range of disciplines came together to discuss “(How) Can We Talk About Rape?” on Monday afternoon in the third panel of the four-part lecture series “RAPE: Perceptions, Realties, Responses.”
The speakers included mythological studies professor Druscilla French, whose work with cultural narratives brought a new perspective on rape in society. She discussed issues of labels and blame in communal conversation.
“One could argue blame for either side. If a sexual assault is reported they become labeled as a survivor or predator,” she said.
Journalism professor Barbara Friedman addressed another issue in cultural conversations about rape: those that take place in the media.
Friedman noted how the topic of rape frequently appears in the news, but the media does not always do a good job of creating conversation about rape within the community.
“Media perpetuates rape myths: nice girls don’t get raped, rape is a heterosexual crime,” Friedman said.
She also said media are full of bias and consistently don’t cover cases involving women of color or women of the working class.
The media should be a forum for the victim’s voices, she said.