Rape Culture? | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Rape Culture? 

Nipping Nepotism and City vs. State

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Rape Culture?
How ironic is it that the professor who calls for exhaustive rape kit tests in Utah is from BYU—the very university whose honor code would appear to be encouraging rape culture? An article by Zachary Volkert in the Inquisitr questioned the wisdom behind a code that subjects the victim to a full investigation—just in case that person may have violated some other aspect of the code before the rape. A speech by Associate Dean Sarah Westerberg at a rape-awareness conference applauded the code, setting off negative reactions that concluded that BYU's rape culture was "alive and well." The story included a video of LDS authority Tad R. Callister saying "most women get the type of man they dress for" shot in 2013. Another video talked of a campus movement, "Free BYU," to revise the honor code. Meanwhile, a study by BYU professor Julie Valentine showed that only 22 percent of rape kits had been tested, and a report in The Salt Lake Tribune says there are ample resources for that testing.


Nipping Nepotism
Utahns are familiar with the argument against ethics rules: the trust-us, you-can't-avoid-conflicts, we-know-best line of reasoning. In 2007, Draper City enacted an ethics ordinance that ostensibly took the state ethics rules a step further. "(The ordinance) will alleviate public perception that we as public officials would take advantage of our position," the City Councilman Bill Colbert said in a Deseret News article. Then, this year, the council proposed easing the anti-nepotism law so that the city could hire family members of appointed and elected officials. A public uproar convinced the council to pull back. Three council members who wanted hiring restrictions lifted changed their minds, and the council was unanimous in supporting the anti-nepotism law, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. One resident said such a change would make the council look like "stereotypical corrupt politicians."


City vs. State
Salt Lake City is positioning itself, once again, against things the state of Utah holds dear. Of course, that means money and business interests. In a press release from Mayor Jackie Biskupski, the city joined 53 others nationwide in supporting President Obama's Clean Power Plan. The National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors also signed the amicus brief. The state, however, joined a lawsuit to block the Environmental Protection Agency rules, according to a KUER Radio report. And, of course, the state's congressional delegation is all about opposing the EPA. With state support for coal, this surprises no one. So, once again, thanks Obama.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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