not in Primary anymore

rape culture, feminism, and byu

TW: mention of rape, sexual harassment/assault


guest post by Ana


[Re-posted with permission. Original post can be found on Ana’s blog.]


How I know Rape Culture exists at BYU:

Because my bishop taught about chastity a few months ago in Relief Society, and instead of talking about growing closer to God, he talked about how if you get raped while dressed immodestly, then it’s your fault.

Because after that lesson, my RA had to pull aside the girls on my floor and remind us that rape is never the victim’s fault.

Because my Relief Society advisor’s lesson on Visiting Teaching ended with ten minutes of advice on how to survive college, and instead of talking about how to study or how to do well she gave advice on how to not get raped. She told us to just not go dancing, to not stay out late, to use the buddy system. Instead of teaching the men to respect us and not rape us, she spent a good chunk of our worship service teaching us to protect ourselves and to avoid situations in which men could hurt us.

Because when people commend me for dressing modestly, they’re commending me not because I’m trying to grow closer to God or to show my divine worth as a daughter of God, but because I’m doing my part to keep the minds of the men around me pure.

Because before every date, my RA offers to let me borrow one of her cans of pepper spray (meaning she owns multiple cans of pepper spray).

Because when my mom heard about my RA’s pepper spray, she wanted to buy me my own can.

Because when I go running, I have to be back before dark, but my guy friends often don’t start running until after 9. They don’t understand why I feel unsafe running in the dark.

Because when I have to go up Freshman Hill in the dark at 4 A.M. on my way to work, I run as fast as I can, even though the path is well lit.


Reasons I get frustrated when people act like rape culture doesn’t exist at BYU:

Because in a survey from 2003, 90% of rapes in Provo were not reported to the police.

Because there are signs posted around campus reminding women not to walk alone after dark.

Because when I go running in the middle of the day, in very modest workout clothes, I still get cat calls and rude comments from men.

Because last semester, I was studying in the sunshine outside of Hinckley Hall wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, and a group of guys walking past started cat calling me and making rude comments like, “She wants to go out with me!” “Give me your number!” “She wants me,” “Take your clothes off!” and other comments that made me no longer feel comfortable studying anywhere but in the safety of my dorm room. It doesn’t matter what I wear, some men still view me as an object instead of a human being.

Because when I told people about the above encounter, I received comments like, “Were they cute?” “Well did you give them your number?” and “It must feel nice to get so much attention from boys.”

Because some of the campus police have the sole job of investigating sexual assault and rape (meaning that although many people I know think of BYU as a safe campus, there are enough cases of sexual assault and rape for it to be basically the main focus of those police officers)


Why I need feminism and why I need Rape Culture to die:

Because when I was 12, I wasn’t allowed to walk literally a block to the library to do my homework without taking my tiny, scrawny 10 year old brother to protect me. The logic behind this was not that he would physically protect me in any way, but that his presence would either deter an attacker or he would be able to run for help if I was attacked.

Because when I walk down the street, some guys will walk right into me if I don’t move out of the way for them.

Because I’m already mentally preparing myself to be paid less than my male coworkers when I start my career after college.

Because some people don’t take me and my feelings seriously just because I’m a woman and I’m young.

Because when I go dancing, men assume that I want to dance with them simply because I’m there even though I don’t know them and I’ve shown zero interest in them.

Because when I tell people about my plans to work for Amigos de las Americas after college and how I want to live abroad people ask, “Well what about when you get married?” because not only do they think marriage should be my only goal in life and that I need to sacrifice all my other dreams to get married, but also because it’s my second semester in college at age 18 and already my future husband’s dreams and goals are more important than mine.

Because I don’t feel safe on BYU’s campus!


Note: author has also written an addendum with more info about her post. Find it here:


44 Responses to “rape culture, feminism, and byu”

  1. LT

    The behavior you have described is a lot of things—some words that come to mind are rude and sophomoric. They are not, however, the symptoms of “rape culture.” “Rape culture is a setting in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.” ( An academic feminist described it as “a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women.” ( Cat calls and a focus on marriage and family does not meet that definition.

    If you are really serious about combating sexual violence against women, take a leaf out the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network’s (RAINN) book instead of trumping up BYU as a “rape culture.” RAINN – the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization – had made clear that the chant of rape culture contributes to sexual violence rather than stops it.

    “In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming ‘rape culture’ for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campuses. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important to not lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.”

    “While that may seem an obvious point, it has tended to get lost in recent debates. This has led to an inclination to focus on particular segments of the student population (e.g., athletes), particular aspects of campus culture (e.g., the Greek system), or traits that are common in many millions of law-abiding Americans (e.g., “masculinity”), rather than on the subpopulation at fault: those who choose to commit rape. This trend has the paradoxical effect of making it harder to stop sexual violence, since it removes the focus from the individual at fault, and seemingly mitigates personal responsibility for his or her own actions.”


    • Anonymous

      I can’t believe someone who has evidently read about rape culture could fail to see that 1) the author has described textbook rape culture, and 2) that the author has described an environment that also fits within the definition of rape culture that you have provided. It almonds makes me sadder than rape culture.

      • LT

        It’s funny, I was thinking almost the exact same thing about the author but just the opposite. How could someone who has evidently read about rape culture fail to see that 1) BYU does not fit within the textbook definition of rape culture, and 2) that rape culture in fact hurts the movement of stopping violence against women. It makes me sad that feminists are more concerned about making headlines with outrageous and scurrilous stories than actually fighting rape and violence. This post fits in well with the bogus Rolling Stones article that now makes it harder than before to persuade others to help. At least the author has upped her blog’s web traffic.

  2. Hyrum

    This post makes some improbable assertions. It appears that the author has a hard time reading others. Right off the top of my head:
    – It is hardly likely that a Bishop would be so inept and heartless – it is much more likely that the author exaggerated a small aspect of the Bishop’s lesson (ie: the part where he explained the temporal dangers of dressing immodestly).
    – I don’t see how the author can accurately perceive others’ intentions when they complement her modesty. How can she be sure that they aren’t sincerely happy to see someone following the Honor Code?
    – Carrying pepper spray does not “prove” a rape environment, just as opting to concealed-carry a handgun does not prove a “murder” culture. In both examples, the individuals are simply preparing for the worst-case scenario.
    – No one is making the author return from running before dark. I see plenty of young women running in the BYU area after dark (with and without buddies).
    – Although one can’t put anything past young male college students, the types of comments the author claims to have overheard just don’t jive with my on-campus experiences. I suspect this claim to be exaggerated.
    – The author is misinterpreting the reason for her brother’s accompaniment on the library trips. Her brother was sent as a buddy; his gender is irrelevant. A double-kidnapping is much harder to pull off, and his presence as a second individual was a deterrent.
    – I’ve been walked into by plenty of individuals – male and female. It doesn’t mean that they think their gender is superior. It just indicates that they’re socially or spatially inept (and, in some cases, that they’re on their phone too much).
    – Our reality often matches our expectations. I encourage the author to not resign herself to earning less than male coworkers. Her current attitude is defeatist and pathetic.
    – Regardless of gender, there are always individuals that will not take others feelings seriously (and will use nearly any rationale to do so).
    – The guys trying to dance with the author are trying to be nice. It’s generally understood that people go dancing in order to meet other people. If there’s no chemistry, that’s fine – but it’s absurd to take offense when others want to make an acquaintance at a dance.
    – “What about when you get married?” is a valid question that communicates interest and continues the conversation. It’s a question that the author could easily address (ie: “Well, I’m looking to marry a ‘Mr. Mom’” or “I’m not planning on marriage” or “I’m hoping to marry a guy that loves traveling” or “This is my backup plan – I’ll be a homemaker if I can get married” etc.).
    – If the author doesn’t feel safe on BYU’s campus, I don’t know where she can feel safe. Perhaps in her parent’s basement? The world is a dangerous place, but I can’t think of many places that are relatively safer than BYU.

    • Anonymous

      “Our reality often matches our expectations”
      “Since this author’s experiences do not match my expectations, I will reframe everything she has said to conform to my view of the world while simultaneously accusing her of doing the same.”

      • Hyrum

        This piece diverges from commonly held beliefs and socially accepted truths. As the author is challenging the status quo, her article warrants a fair amount of skepticism. The burden of proof rests upon her, and – in this case – it is quite a burden! She is levying a heavy charge against BYU, its approximately 16,000 male students, and an innumerable army of leaders, advisors, and moral educators.

        Unfortunately, the the writer chose to rely upon anecdotes to prove her point. In fact – with the exception of a single, outdated survey from 2003 – the article was completely devoid of finite, empirical data. Her piece lacked evidence, indicating authorial sloppiness (at best) and an incorrect idea (at worst).

        In the absence of data, it naturally follows that the attentive reader will ask questions such as “Are these experiences believable?” “How does the author’s bias effect their perception of these events?” “Are these stories consistent with personal experiences and the experiences of associates?” “Are there flaws in the author’s logic?” “Are these anecdotes compatible the observable practices of the individuals or institutions in question?” etc.

        In short, I disagree with the author’s assertion that BYU fosters a “rape culture,” and remain unconvinced by the “evidence” she provided. Her claim runs contrary to the legal code of Utah (which classifies rape as a first-degree felony), the stated beliefs of the LDS Church (rape is grounds for excommunication), the policies of BYU (rape is grounds for expulsion), and the declared moral beliefs of every BYU student (as evinced by their signed Honor Code agreements). Since BYU is demonstrably opposed to rape, I am inclined to view the author’s assertion as false.

        My initial comment was simply an in-kind response to the author’s claim. I question the objectivity of a stated feminist and doubt the accuracy of her accounts.

      • Anonymous

        Your insistence that the burden of proof relies on the author or the victims of rape is disgusting.

        Though if it is data you want, you can easily find it, that is if rape actually disgusts you.

      • Anonymous

        Hyrum, one more thing. The burden of proof to show your disgust for rape lies on you. Start with challenging your own objections to this piece.

      • Hyrum

        It appears that you are struggling to separate the severity of the accusation from the accuracy of the accusation. For example, I could accuse someone of being a murderer (a very serious accusation), but the accusation alone wouldn’t prove them a murderer.

        In this piece, the author claims that BYU fosters a “rape culture.” This is another very serious accusation, but the accusation lacks proof and is therefore hollow. (Please note that the author claims BYU fosters a rape *culture.* In other words, she believes that BYU struggles with a culture that “encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women… condin[ing] physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.” You can view the author’s linked blog post for more on her preferred definition of the term “rape culture”)

        The culture described above sounds like ISIS, not like BYU! Remember, BYU’s policy on sexuality is quite strict – even consensual intercourse is prohibited! The LDS Church (BYU’s sponsoring organization) also takes this issue seriously, requiring leaders to report confessed instances of rape (as well as child abuse and murder) to law enforcement. Far from “encourag[ing] sexual aggression,” BYU and the LDS Church decry it and actively prosecute such behavior.

        I – like nearly every other person in Western society – am opposed to rape. What is there to like about it? It’s cruel, emotionally damaging, and brutalizes an act that should be reserved for the most tender expressions of devotion and love. Aside from taking the life of another being, I consider rape to be the most serious crime. There’s a reason rape is a felony!

        With that said, I take issue with the assertion that BYU fosters a “rape culture.” Even after reading through the author’s disjointed (and often irrelevant) stream of anecdotes, I remain unconvinced that a significant group at BYU – the same institution that forbids consensual intercourse – actually supports sexual assault.

        Remember; the severity of an accusation does not make that accusation true.

    • Anonymous

      -By your own admission, the bishop in question was at least guilty of victim-blaming, which is a hallmark of rape culture. Women in burqas get raped. Ninety-year-old women in houseboats get raped. Fat men get raped. Homely children get raped. Clothing has as much to do with it as the number of potatoes eaten by the victim within the past week.
      -As a female in the church, I only very rarely hear that modesty is a symbol of devotion to the Lord. For every time that is brought up, the onus of men’s chastity is brought up some 40 times, to estimate modestly. I’m not against dressing modestly in part out of consideration for my brethren, but 1) men are never, like ever, told that they need to be modest for women (if at all), and 2) implying that modesty is for men really short-changes the primary purpose of humility before God.
      -That pepper spray is not mandated does not indicate the absence of rape culture. That’s setting the bar lower than Coco Austin’s neckline (don’t Google it). The fact that women feel safer having it, that they feel they NEED it to be secure, is ample evidence of rape culture. No one forces people in crime-ridden areas to buy guns for self-defense; does that automatically negate the danger…? I don’t even know how to address this. Like, duh.
      -See above, plus the fact that between 20% and 25% of women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, plus women being told after their attacks that they shouldn’t have been out at night (more victim-blaming). Furthermore, why should women sacrifice their nocturnal revels because a startling number of men are evil and startling percentage of nonviolent men take a “too bad so sad” approach to a restriction of women’s mobility?
      -The author’s experiences at BYU also don’t match mine. I also don’t need to take insulin shots daily, but I don’t doubt that diabetes is a real thing that some people live with.
      -Where do you get off assuming that the author misinterpreted the intentions of her own mother, whom one could presume she knows better than you do? I know that my mom didn’t want my brother accompanying me everywhere solely because 2 people are harder to kidnap. SHE LET HIM GO PLACES ALONE. To this day, she has a conniption when I go off by myself, even in broad daylight. There’s no reason to imagine the author’s experiences are dissimilar to what I’ve described.
      -Women are socialized from birth to make themselves as small and unobtrusive as possible so as not to impose on others. Men are allowed to own their space. Yes, everyone gets distracted; but let’s not pretend that the genders are equal offenders here.
      -What is this, _The Secret_? Again with the victim-blaming! Except THIS time, it comes with a dubious witchcraft bonus. “You are statistically unlikely to earn as much as your male counterparts for the same work due to societal factors that predate your birth, and it’s YOUR fault for being so DEFEATIST.” Hey, why don’t you try that logic on underprivileged kids? Finally, a way to silence people whose trials we do not care to empathize with!
      -While many males are raped, only a nitwit imagines that as many men as women suffer sexual degradation (and as much women as women do), or that women perpetrate as much sexualized and other violence as men. This argument is the equivalent of a domestic abuser whining, “She hit me first.”
      -Trying to dance is not trying to be nice. Trying to get to know someone on their terms is nice. Imposing oneself physically without prior consent is just rude, regardless of the reason (a hormonal one, in this case).
      -“What about when you get married?” is not a question you ask an 18-year-old. “What about when you get married?” is not a question you ask someone who has just made it explicit that marriage is not in their immediate plans, especially given that “What about when you get married?” is almost never a question you hear directed toward males, let alone such young ones. Virtually no one shoves marriage down men’s throats the way it is shoved down women’s throats from the time they enter the Young Women’s program.
      -Its a sad, sad state of affairs when so many clear-minded women cannot feel safe on the campus of “the Lord’s university.” Maybe the right response is not cavalier dismissal/gaslighting. Maybe ignoring experiences that do not match your own is not what Christ referred to as “feed[ing] [His] sheep.” Maybe comments like yours are the reason why most of the rapes in Provo go unreported.

      • Kelli Marie Self

        “I know that my mom didn’t want my brother accompanying me everywhere solely because 2 people are harder to kidnap. SHE LET HIM GO PLACES ALONE.”

        Ditto. My younger, smaller, could still beat him up, but “He’s a boy!” brother. And this isn’t a case of misinterpreting my parents’ intentions as it was explicitly stated to be the case.

        I’m not particularly upset about it, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to not point out a nonsensical double standard.

  3. Sally

    The above commenters are the reason why people lack understanding of the meaning of “rape cultre” and how its a huge problem at BYU. I knew many women that were raped and or assaulted there. About 3/6 of my roommates every semester and once, all 5 had experienced trauma. It wasn’t their fault and I don’t expect a bishop to have the knowledge to adequately teach about this particular subject unless he’s a therapist.

    • LT

      I’m sorry, I provided two definitions of rape culture–one given by a feminist. What am I missing about the “meaning” of rape culture?

    • Hyrum

      I think we understand the “meaning of ‘rape culture'” quite well. Believe me, it’s been adequately operationalized (see the author’s blog post for her preferred definition of “rape culture”)

      No one is arguing about whether sexual assault occasionally takes place at BYU. The point of contention rather stems from debate about whether a culture that “encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women” actually exists at BYU.

      Most of the students at BYU are living moral lives (and ALL of them signed an Honor Code agreement stating that they would do so). Every syllabus at BYU contains information about Title IX, sexual harassment, and sexual discrimination. Every single type of sexual behavior (aside from consensual intercourse between a married man and woman) is forbidden and prosecuted by BYU and the LDS Church. I just don’t see how anyone can rationally claim that BYU supports a culture of sexual assault where “physical and emotional terrorism against women” is viewed as the “norm.” Maybe this culture exists in the Middle East (where women are still viewed as property), but it’s not prevalent in the Western world – and certainly not at BYU.

      • Kelli Marie Self

        “encourages male sexual aggression and supports violence against women”

        I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that while an organization may not explicitly condone a negative practice, that certain accepted elements of the members’ culture might make that negative element more easily perpetuated.

        As far as, “sexual assault occasionally takes place at BYU” and “Every single type of sexual behavior (aside from consensual intercourse between a married man and woman) is forbidden and prosecuted by BYU and the LDS Church” —

        Again, *ostensibly* the LDS Church and BYU prosecutes these crimes but I’d encourage you to read up a bit on the Church *membership’s* actions.

  4. Emma

    For anyone who hasn’t read the additional post on the author’s blog — I highly recommend it. Seriously, give the author more credit for what she wrote and don’t talk over her experiences — just because it’s something you haven’t felt or gone through, doesn’t mean you can completely invalidate what she says! That’s like saying because you’re never hungry, then world hunger probably doesn’t exist. Come on, now.

    I enjoyed reading this because it highlights a lot of problematic attitudes (illustrated by Hyrum’s comments above) that come off as trying to erase women’s feelings of lack of safety. Rape culture is perpetuated not only when women are objectified, but silenced whenever we voice our discomfort at something. One would think that BYU is a safer environment given the religious setting, but behaviors/attitudes that promote rape culture such as cat-calling and ignoring sexual harassment shines a light on some deeply embedded sexism and hypocrisy.

    It’s also incredibly sad that people have to question whether rape or sexual assault actually happens on campuses — attitudes like these discourage women from reporting assault and perpetuate victim-blaming. Are a woman’s experiences worth anything? I attended BYU a few years back and there were more than a handful of women who felt the same way this author feels. The main difference is that the author was brave enough to speak up about it, and I’m so happy she’s brave enough to be a voice for many women who are terrified or silenced.

    • LT

      The author’s additional post only goes to prove my point. She states:

      “I would also like to point out that although teaching women how to protect themselves and how to stay out of dangerous situations may save some women, teaching men to respect women and to not rape would save many more and would help eliminate rape culture.”

      The fact remains, however, that in the United States — where rape culture does not exist — teaching men not to rape does nothing. Turning back to RAINN, “Research supports the view that to focus solely on certain social groups or “types” of students in the effort to end campus sexual violence is a mistake. . . . [Only] three percent of college men are responsible for more than 90% of rapes. . . . It is this relatively small percentage of the population, which has proven itself immune to years of prevention messages, that we must address in other ways.” (

      • Emma

        Not sure if you’re trolling or being serious. Yes, we should all be taught to take extra measures to be safe, and yes, we should all be taught that sexual assault and harassment are never okay in any context. Are you suggesting that educating people about rape culture and doing something to prevent behaviors leading to rape is pointless? Do you honest to goodness believe that rape culture doesn’t exist in the U.S.?

        Holy shit.

        Some of these comments here are sickening. No need to look any further to prove that rape culture exists — just read some of these comments.

      • Anonymous

        If rape culture “does not exist” then what is called when people try to explain rape as anything but rape?
        Symptoms of rape culture is still rape culture.

        Living in a world where women don’t feel safe or supported reporting rape is rape culture, so is questions like what women wear, their previous sexual encounters, if they were alone, if they went out too late, if they had anything to drink, etc are all ignoring the real issue -rapists cause rape.

        Just because not all men are rapists (or rather the very small percentage are rapists) doesn’t mean a culture doesn’t exist where rape is not taken seriously.

      • LT


        Merely because someone has a different opinion than you does not mean they must be trolling. In fact, it just means they have a different opinion than you.

        This is the problem with “rape culture.” It depends on faulty logic and even more tenuous assumptions than the one you just made about me. Take for example Anonymous’s logic below.

        Anonymous says women don’t feel safe and therefore rape culture exists. She also says that people ask questions after alleged rapes, therefore rape culture exists. This ignores, of course, the fact that women may not feel safe for a myriad of other reasons. Maybe women don’t feel safe because the only thing on the news are murders, rapes, and kidnappings. Maybe women don’t feel safe because they hear bogus stories like the Rolling Stones article. Maybe women don’t feel safe because feminists tell them we live in a “rape culture” to engender fear so that they may shove bad policies down our throats while public passions are high. (see for example this author’s second post, “Maybe fear is what we need to create change.”). Maybe women don’t feel safe because they know they will in fact face questions, but those questions are spurred by a civil rights culture — innocent until proven guilty — not a rape culture. In other words, just because you have a headache, it does not mean you have a brain tumor. Instead, you might just have a headache.

        It is interesting that in claiming there is rape culture, feminist commenters here talk only about the alleged symptoms, not the definition of rape culture itself. “Rape culture is a setting in which rape is pervasive.” ( Therefore, if in fact a very small minority of people commit rape, rape culture does not exist. Likewise, if the vast majority of people in the United States do not support male sexual aggression and violence against women, rape culture does not exist. At a place like BYU — where rapists face jail, excommunication, or expulsion — I think its safe to say that no one is promoting a “rape culture.”

  5. Anonymous

    One thing I don’t appreciate about the article is the author makes many claims that sound as if they are absolutes. Yes, some men are ignorant about women safety; however, that is NOT the majority of the male population. Instead of looking down on the few males that do not act or think correctly, we should point out and celebrate the many that ARE doing/thinking correctly.People have a tendency to more easily change when you don’t make them feel but, but instead inspire them.

  6. Madison

    I find this article completely lacking any authority. In my 4 years of attending BYU I never felt that any of my church leaders made modesty about the men. And if they did, I would have written them off as ignorant and juvenile. I don’t know if you had one bad experience that tainted everything around you… But being in 4 different wards – I never had an experience close to that. Plus, the whole cat calling thing – yes, that’s offensive. But it’s not a BYU thing. It’s a college-ages immature thing. That being said, I can’t really remember any instances where I felt uncomfortable by attention that was given to me by guys….so either we must have gone to different schools, or somebody has a feminist agenda they’re trying to push on people….

    • Hyrum

      Great post! I’m glad you enjoyed your time at BYU, and I appreciate your perspective

    • Anonymous

      Hooooold on. Because you didn’t experience what she experienced, she’s either delusion as to which school she attended or she’s a disingenuous rabble rouser?

      I realize that your experience at BYU, and in fact many others’, may have been great, but that doesn’t negate the experience that this particular student had.

  7. Wonder Woman

    The most ridiculous thing about this article is I personally know the girl who published it and she is doing it in the full knowledge that what she is writing has not happened to her or her friends and she just wants to cause a ruckus. Why? To simply gain more cohorts in her feminist crusade. Fortunately, I am not so easily fooled by her deceptiveness. True, I admire those journalists in the world of news who reveal the truth in corruption, those citizens who fight against causes that are unjust, cruel or immoral, and those heroes who save the day when the law is too slow to come to the rescue.

    Sadly, this isn’t one of those cases. She is spreading lies to simply gain the traction she needs in her lust for power, in the petty pursuit for more followers. (Our bishop never even said this! And the rest is a pack of lies as well. How could someone do this while knowingly attending a university funded by the sacred tithes that come from the widow’s mite. Yeah, tell me.) I hate to say it but unless she ceases and desists in her course, the judgements of God will come upon hee for having led away others of her faith, at a campus environment founded upon the gospel of Jesus Christ where none of these sort of lies should not be told and only truth should be upheld in earnest.

  8. Wonder Woman

    @Emma: I would appreciate you not swearing. That emotional outburst there of holy s***. If you are a student, you know better. Besides, it tears down what little reputation you already have from supporting this falsified story. If you want us to take you seriously, how about speaking your mind with a little more civility and logic?

  9. J

    One of the primary rules of the internet: Comments on a post about feminism inevitably demonstrate the need for feminism.

    This was great. It very clearly outlines the pervasive rape culture in the Mormon church with examples of things that are true either to my experience or to close friends of mine. The people here denying that experience, splaining, tone policing, not-all-men-ing, and otherwise being utterly terrible, really effectively demonstrate how much this conversation is needed and your voice is needed.

    • Hyrum

      Hmmm… Do you feel like the universe revolves around you? It seems as if you feel like anyone that disagrees with you is automatically wrong.

      The LDS Church does not condone rape. They require chastity from all members, at all ages. They teach the Young Men to treat women with respect; they teach Young Women to dress modestly and to be respectable. They HAMMER the Priesthood about the evils of pornography and immorality; they teach adults of both genders that sexuality is only permissible within a heterosexual marriage. The LDS Church actively prosecutes ALL immorality, and involves law enforcement in cases of rape and child abuse.

      You know what would actually help end rape? Victims reporting the rape in a timely manner. Statistically speaking, 9 of every 10 rapes are committed by repeat offenders. That means that if we caught these guys the first time, we could prevent many additional rapes. (

      But we don’t get articles encouraging the victims to bring their rapist to justice, do we? Instead, we get manipulative blog posts that undermine the two organizations (law enforcement and the LDS Church) that are best equipped to put the perverts behind bars.

      I’m not blaming the victims here – it’s not their fault they got raped. But from a statistical standpoint, they could help prevent almost all subsequent rapes if they immediately involved the police.

  10. Anonymous

    Hyrum, Wonder Woman, etc. — you all do know that this is a feminist blog, right? With that in mind, what did you all expect? If you came here to change people’s opinions, you’ve clearly failed — this tends to happen with internet commenting, where people who disagree tend to have their initial views reinforced and nothing else. If anything, you all have pretty much reinforced the image of naive self-righteous Mormons.

    As a non-BYU student, and as an LDS convert, this makes me wonder if some church members have lived in the Provo/UT/Mormon bubble their whole lives. You do know that in the outside world people swear to get a point across? And that women may be too afraid /discouraged/threatened to report sexual assault? As much as I love the Gospel, I also recognize problematic attitudes within church culture towards women — overly rigid gender roles, the silencing, the infantilizing, and the victim-blaming (e.g. you were probably raped because of what you were wearing! You need to be more modest!)

    • Hyrum

      Thank you for your condescension, but yes, we can read. We’re well aware that this is a feminist site. Most of the articles here border on inane, but can easily be ignored (ie: I don’t really care whether an obese girl feels like the Mormon culture is the reason she feels socially awkward; I’m not offended by a lesbian’s disjointed attack on a BYU devotional, etc.). However, the accusation that BYU and the LDS Church fosters a rape culture is a serious claim, and some felt it should be addressed. Look at the numbers – this is definitely the most commented thing to hit this site in a while.

      Resorting to obscenities is weak-minded, and generally indicates an inability to find the actual words that would communicate the point. It’s crass and some view it as a sign of low intelligence. And by the way, a distaste for cussing isn’t exclusively a Mormon thing. People viewed swearing as classless long before the 1830’s…

      The thing that startles me the most about this forum is the close-mindedness of the feminists and their rush to attack dissenting viewpoints. Don’t feminists claim to be inclusive, open-minded and enlightened? Shouldn’t an open-minded community consider other viewpoints? Treat all discussion participants with respect? Explain why their viewpoint is actually superior?

      Instead, all I’ve seen is generalized (and easily falsifiable) broad-brush attacks and an unwillingness to even consider that others may be right (case in point: your comment about some posters’ naïveté).

      • Danger Diamond

        What is the solution to rape culture then? Teach that rape is bad, in priesthood lessons? Should the church get rid of the how to rape lesson, that men are taught since primary? Should BYU stop glorifying porn? Oh wait. None of those things happen, and neither does rape culture.

        I agree that women should come forward more often, but what is so bad about teaching women to protect themselves? Or to lock their doors at night to prevent burglary? It’s sad but true. Criminals exist, and we need to take preventive measures.

      • Danger Diamond

        A fellow rationalist! Somebody who doesn’t buy into the narrative. To understand this article, you need to put yourself in the feminist frame of mind. Everything is racist. Everything is oppressive. Everything is sexist. The more aspects of your life that are oppressed, the more credibility you’re given. A key feminist point of doctrine is that any claim you make, such as BYU is a rape culture, no matter how absurd or false it is, is unquestionablely true. People questioning your claims is solid proof that what you’re saying is true.

  11. kristeneliassen

    Reblogged this on 18 years down, a lifetime to go and commented:
    As a student at BYU, I can definitely identify when many of the points about culture at the university. I walk to a 6 am class on a very dark campus and to be quite frank, it makes me incredibly uncomfortable. It shouldn’t be this way.

  12. Spencer

    News Article: “Business Insider names BYU the safest college in America”

    Awarded high marks for health and safety, Business Insider named Brigham Young University as the No. 1 safest college campus in America on Jan.12. After looking at a variety of factors — local and campus crime rates, drug and alcohol use, campus-security presence and emergency proceedures to name a few — the college-review site Niche determined the BYU campus excelled in health and safety.

    Of a pool of 1,713 colleges located around the country, researchers assessed public and private traditional four-year colleges and universities.

    For results, student surveys and reported crime rates on campus were considered, as well as freshman retention rates and graduation rates. Researchers looked at alcohol and drug-related arrests on campus per 1,000 students as reported by the college, and looked at the location’s general safety.

    Statistics obtained from the U.S. Department of Education were used in the reporting. Niche is a research site that combines community review with hard data to rank colleges and universities through a step-by-step process.


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