Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Writing this essay was not as easy as I had thought it would be. To write the rough draft, I just started writing, without any real plan in mind. Because of this, my rough draft ended up being all over the place, instead of organized the way it should have been. I should have created an outline of the essay before I started writing, because this would have helped me avoid having to fix it when I edited the paper. I also had issues meeting the word count requirement of the assignment, because I realized that I was not sure what other information I needed to add and therefore did not have enough to say to meet the requirement.
Doing the peer reviews and the workshop in class helped me with both of these issues. I got help figuring out what else I should add to the essay to make it longer, such as a description of the video that I wrote about. I also was able to see where my paper had organizational issues, because I had new eyes telling me where it was confusing or convoluted. It especially had problems in my paragraph about audience, because I kept switching between talking about the audience and talking about the purpose of the video, which I had talked about in another paragraph. I did follow the majority of the peer edits that I received, because they were very helpful to me in making my essay stronger.
Writing this essay was good because most of the essays I wrote in high school were analyses of literature, such as books we read in class, so this was an entirely new way of looking at media and essays. For my next paper, I want to work on my organization, and especially using outlines to help me plan my paper before writing it.
When new students arrive on college campuses, they hope to have an enjoyable and safe new life. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as explained by a public service announcement video created by the women’s rights group Ultra Violet, entitled “The True Cost of Campus Rape.” This video is a two-minute-long animated film that explains the problems associated with sexual assaults on college campuses. It is the narrated story of a hypothetical victim of sexual assault, in order to talk about the facts of sexual assault and what happens after it occurs. It focuses on the effects that such an incident has on the victim, expressing the difficulties that she will face after the traumatic event. The video was published to YouTube on September 14, 2015, as well as to their own website, endcampusrape.com. This public service announcement was made in order to spread awareness about campus rape with the goal of finding a solution and ending the problem.
The context of this video is an ongoing conversation about the issue of rape on college campuses, which is very widespread in the United States, and has especially come to light in the past few years. This problem is that on college campuses across the country, there is a huge rape epidemic involving college students, especially young women. A high percentage of women on college campuses experience sexual assault while studying there, and this video aims to expose that issue and spread awareness about it (Ultra Violet). The public service announcement is especially relevant and necessary now, because this problem has been getting more and more media attention. This is because of the rising feminist movement among teenagers and young adults, which is largely motivated by social media. There is a sense of urgency in the video, because the faster that the problem is resolved, the fewer victims of rape or sexual assault there will be, and so the more women will be spared that terrible experience. The creators of the video establish this issue through the motive of the video, which occurs near the beginning. After stating the amount $151,423, it asks the question of what that number means, then finally reveals that it is the estimated financial cost to a woman who has been raped. This is the first mention of sexual assault in the video and so establishes what the video is going to be about. The video goes on to talk about the other non-monetary costs that are associated with rape, such as the emotional toll. The significance of the issue is that the sexual assaults are very damaging to women’s physical and mental health.
The makers of the video clearly wish to spread awareness about the growing issue of campus rape in the United States in order to help stop it. The video’s genre is a public service announcement, which makes it easy to broadcast to a wide range of people, which is very fitting to this purpose. The viewer can tell that this is the video’s genre by the format, which is just over two minutes long and presents a social issue through facts and statistics, and tries to persuade the viewer of the importance of the problem. By creating a video that is easily accessible via YouTube and which clearly states the problem that is at hand, the directors can make people more aware of the problem. This will in turn make them more likely to do something about it. It also may help to stop sexual assaults from happening if those people who might commit a sexual assault see the video and understand the effect that it has on their victim. The video explains how difficult it is for a victim to prove what happened to her, and the stigma that she faces because of what happened. It aims to expose these problems, so that the people in power on campuses are inspired and motivated to do something to fix them. One thing that the video could do better would be to explain how the problem can be fixed, which might help with their cause by making the problem more accessible to the general public, instead of just explaining that there is a problem. In the closing of the video, the narrator states, “It is time to end rape culture,” solidifying the purpose of the video that the viewer just watched in their mind and giving them a clear takeaway message.
To convince the viewer of the importance of this message, the creators of the video used both pathos and logos. The very first clip in the video is a dollar symbol with an increasing amount of money next to it, finally settling on $151,423. The video goes on to say that this is the estimated cost of being raped in the United States. This amount is listed among other statistics, including the fact that 1 in 5 women on a college campus will experience a sexual assault, and others. These statistics serve to convince the viewer that this issue is, indeed, a very important one, as well as makes the video seem more credible because they have specific facts.
In addition to the logic that the public service announcement uses, it plays upon the viewer’s emotions by helping them to connect with the typical victim described in the video. The artwork, which depicts a woman looking very sad, is present throughout almost the entire video, so that viewer is continuously looking at it and reminded of the ongoing effect on the victim. It also plays sound clips of people saying typical things that a rape or sexual assault victim would hear after their ordeal, such as “Were you drinking?” By listening to these words, the viewer is placed into the victim’s shoes, and gets a glimpse into what that person is feeling. Also, by displaying these words behind the picture of the example victim in the video, it implies that she is constantly surrounded by these messages. Instead of her moving around through her everyday life, the picture of her remains unchanged throughout the video, and the scene simply changes around her, along with the things that people around her are saying. This is meant to show the audience that the ongoing emotional trauma of experiencing a sexual assault and its aftermath is inescapable for the woman or man in question.
In order to further emphasize the importance of the presented information, the narrator of the video uses a very serious, dramatic tone to talk about what is happening. Words and phrases such as “trauma,” “battle,” “toll,” “intense,” and “emotional costs” convey the somber attitude of the video’s content (Ultra Violet). Also, the sad, quiet music played throughout the video sets the mood, helping the viewer emotionally feel how serious the issue is. The video uses a third person point of view, so that the narrator can easily present the facts about sexual assault. The narrator is a woman, which makes it seem as though she is more connected to the cause. She speaks slowly and clearly, and uses a lot of short, declarative sentences, which effectively commands the audience’s attention. Although the video is relatively short, it has a lot of information in it, which is delivered in a very straightforward manner. The rhetorical distance is standard, with the speech being somewhere in between conversational and formal. This allows the narrator to sound trustworthy, while still sounding as though she is an authority on the topic and knows what she is talking about.
The narrator is as persuasive as she is because the video is geared toward a certain audience that is most likely to view it. The primary intended audience for this video is people living on college campuses. The people who will view this video will have access to the internet, and will probably be mostly women, because the video is specifically speaking about women. A secondary audience for this video is lawmakers who could do something to fix the problem, because the creators of the video wish to gain their attention in order to create change. The intended audience’s knowledge base is probably not extensive about the topic, because the video is meant to inform them, but they are probably educated well enough that they understand that there is an existing issue and that something needs to be done about it.
This video aims to further the conversation about the rape problem on college campuses in order to promote awareness about the issue and find a solution for it. By utilizing rhetorical devices to get the viewer’s attention and inform them, the video is able to work toward achieving this goal. The methods used in this video are very effective, so it is a very good example of a convincing public service announcement. By using this format to tell their message, the creators of the video, Ultra Violet, are able to efficiently spread their ideas and work toward fixing this important problem.