Letter to the Editor
In response to “Head-to-Head: How do we fight campus rape culture?” (by Rob Monteleone, Sept. 2)
I was pointed to this article by one of my friends on Facebook, who posted it with commentary along the lines of, “I can’t believe that anyone would allow this article to be posted.” That kind of endorsement is the best clickbait money can buy — of course I had to read it.
What I read was about 500 words on why women — specifically women — should not get drunk. Why? Because they’re going to be raped, since they put themselves in a “risky situation.”
This is a claim that is incredibly offensive to both men and women.
How does the author propose to prevent the rape from happening? The titular “responsibility” in the article is the responsibility of the women to not drink or not put themselves in “risky situations,” like I’m sure every woman has been told by well-meaning parents, teachers and friends every day of her life. Unfortunately, this does nothing to fight against the root cause of rape.
What the “responsibility” ought to be is for the men who are inclined to rape to take a step back and think, “Hmm, this person in front of me is not capable of giving me a willing, enthusiastic and aware YES if I ask them if they want to do something. I probably should resist the urge to have sex with them.” The responsibility to not commit rape lies solely on the potential rapist’s shoulders.
If men are encouraged to not rape, then women do not have to be hypervigilant if they have to go out alone at night. Women do not have to arm themselves with pepper spray and rape whistles and keys between their fingers if they walk out to a cab at the end of the night. Women don’t have to worry about painting their nails with the latest Rohypnol-sensing nail polish or drinking through Rohypnol-sensing straws and cups. And, perhaps most importantly, they don’t have to worry in the aftermath about whether they will be taken seriously by law enforcement, whether their rape kit will be tested, whether their rapist will be punished by the university officials and/or by law enforcement, or whether they will be able to obtain an abortion if necessary and if they choose to do so. All of this happens when people don’t rape. All of this could still happen despite a victim’s best efforts.
Furthermore, this article does nothing to address the equally real issue of men getting raped and perpetuates the stereotype of rapists being complete strangers to the victims. Men are subject to domestic violence just as women are, but are far less likely to be helped when this is the case: It is “unmanly” to admit that your female partner comes home at night and rapes you or assaults you. Additionally, most victims are raped by someone they know — a friend, a significant other, a trusted authority figure.
The author’s commentary when responding to comments also perpetuates the patently false claim that there is a significant incidence of people “crying rape” — that is, people claiming that they were raped in order for punitive action to be taken on the claimed rapist. Less than one percent of reported rape cases are false, and less than half of rape cases are reported. I hope you all understand what a vanishingly small number this is, and how it is harmful to rape victims to continue assuming this.
Note that this isn’t any kind of misandry: The claim that women are responsible to not be raped, rather than claiming that men should not rape, assumes that men are incapable of controlling their urges. I know of at least a few men who would be offended by this claim, as they are very capable of restraining themselves and acting like decent human beings.
If this article is meant to be informative, it is in no way new information to any woman. This is how we have been taught to protect ourselves for the majority of our lives. Thus, the article fails in this respect.
If this article is meant to warn people away from raping their fellow human beings, it also falls short of the mark. This article solely addresses women (I haven’t even addressed the author’s blatant misogyny) from a man’s perspective. In no way does it tell anyone to not rape anyone else.
I find this article extremely offensive, and I do hope that it is removed from the website and any archives. Further, I urge you to not let articles like this get through the editorial process in the future. The internet circulates material far and wide, and an article like this casts an ugly shadow not only on the Daily Wildcat, but also on the UA. If for that reason alone, and not the reasons listed above, this article should not spread any further than it already has.
— Shiloh Drake, linguistics graduate student