Culture Paid Forward

Written by Alana Jolley

January 8, 2013

Culture and Violence

“Jarring New Video Shows Ohio Student Joking,

Laughing About Alleged Rape”

This was the headline recently for a report by Megyn Kelly of Fox News.  This horrific event is absolutely all about culture!

The synopsis of the assault, according to news reports, is that a 16-year-old girl was at a university student’s  party with other young people.  They were drinking heavily and apparently the girl passed out.

While she was passed out she was raped by several male students.  A video of the scene, with laughing and joking surfaced later, after the fact. The case now has lawyers on both sides trying to figure out exactly what happened on that night.

The amateur video portrays contemporary culture gone awry, as confirmed by Dr. Keith Ablow, psychiatrist and member of Fox News’ Medical A-Team.

“Gruesome as it seems, this story is not just a regional problem, but a global issue.”  The aforesaid quote was not talking about the video just described, but a larger issue reported by CNN.  That recent report had a headline reading, Violence against Women: A Global Epidemic.

If Violence Were Not Part of Culture
There Would Not Be Demonstrations Against It

NotEnoughGood.com responded to the CNN report on their website dedicated to curbing domestic violence, particularly gender-based violence, which refers specifically to women.

“Violence against women is an epidemic that affects many women in the developed and the developing world. The sociological term for this phenomenon is gender-based violence, and it is defined by the United Nations as an act of violence that leads to physical, sexual or mental harm to a woman because she is female. Some types of acts are more common in certain regions due to cultural practices. These include forced marriages, female genital mutilation and honor killings. Others, like domestic violence are prevalent globally and affect women of all ethnicities, ages and socio-economic statuses.”

The Ohio incident is definitely an instance of domestic violence against a young woman; and it seems to be culturally acceptable behavior to those who participated, yet the United States is not a region where this can be defined as a “cultural practice.”

Dr. Ablow states, “We’re literally bleeding into the entertainment that we participate in, and what happens is we lose our humanity in that way.”  He believes human empathy has been “squashed” by social media.  Certainly empathy is missing for the young girl in the party video; but in many ways even before the assault began there was no empathy or caring for her unfortunate situation.  Dr. Ablow further suggests that to those who participated in this assault, “. . . she’s somebody who’s starring in a reality TV show being taped for a broadcast on YouTube or a broadcast on Facebook.”  This behavior may appear to be on the entertainment spectrum in America, but it is far from entertainment where women are subjected to gender-based violence in other cultures.

Dr. Ablow called the American video a “snapshot of the world we’re creating.”  This may be the world we are creating in America, but It seems to be more of a mirror of what has already been culturally taking place around the globe for centuries.  Dr. Ablow believes that society will “pay the price” for such enculturation later on, but it seems to be already paid forward to the victims over and over again.  How many more victims do we need to realize that current cultural practices against women are maladaptive and are harming the whole of society?  After all, culture is what makes us distinguishable from other life forms, and it is what makes us uniquely human, so if we are losing our humanity, as Dr. Ablow suggests, whether in entertainment or through inhuman cultural practices, this is a great loss!

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