While BYU's decision to discipline rape victims for Honor Code violations is horrific, the public reaction towards both BYU and its victims indicate that very little will change. Despite mass outcry, BYU's decision to protect rapists acts as a microcosm of American rape culture, which silences victims and protects sexual predators. While it's easy to dismiss BYU as just a particularly misogynistic environment, there is no "just world" for women, especially those who survive sexual assault.
Refusing to postpone or eliminate Honor Code cases for rape survivors seems archaic, but it's just a form of institutionalized victim-blaming, all the nasty and anti-women rhetoric we see spewed online and in political debates codified under the guise of an "Honor Code." When BYU's Title IX Coordinator Sarah Westerberg allegedly claims that BYU "does not apologize" for preventing women from reporting assaults, she implies that if students simply follow the school's code of conduct, women won't be raped. But Westerberg is not alone. Americans want to believe that if we control women's bodies how they dress, where they go and how they engage socially we can somehow prevent rape without ever addressing the sexism hiding under the bed.
Outside BYU, similar arguments are presented in a majority of rape cases, in which defense attorneys scrutinize the victim's clothing, blood-alcohol level or physical location at the time of assault. And despite a feverish effort on social media to educate everyone on victim blaming and rape culture, research conducted by attorney Julie Wright indicates that jurors in rape cases still frequently distrust the victim based on a "just world" hypothesis. People, regardless of where they work or go to school, simply do not want to believe bad things can happen to "good people." Thus, the rape survivors must somehow be complicit in their attack, either due to their own promiscuity, decision to let their rapist into their homes or by violating the Honor Code.