Reports that a 15-year-old Tarpon Springs girl was raped during a house party earlier this month and the subsequent arrest of a 17-year-old Greek Orthodox cross diving honoree have shed light on what some say is a deep-rooted cultural problem.
Following the boy’s arrest, local Twitter feeds erupted with cries of “#FreeJared.” Supporters of the teen charged in the case started a Twitter campaign to proclaim his innocence while attacking the victim – some resorting to calling her derogatory names such as “slut” and accusing her of ruining the boy’s life and her own.
Details of the case, innocence and guilt aside, the issue has raised a question about whether the culture in Tarpon Springs, the Tampa Bay area and America as a whole is a “rape culture.”
Former Tarpon Springs City Commission candidate Tommy Frain felt strongly enough about the issue to blog about it on Patch. In his post, Frain explained that a rape culture is one where “rape and sexual violence are the norm and where attitudes and norms excuse, tolerate or even condone rape.”
West Virginia’s Marshall University Women’s Center explains the ramifications of such as culture as “creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.”
Frain pointed to the tweets made following the Tarpon Springs arrest as proof there is a reason for concern.
So, here’s what we’d like your take on, Tampa Bay: Does America have a “rape culture?” If so, how can the tide be turned against it? If not, why do you think so? Share your thoughts and ideas by commenting below.