Yesterday, my Mom emailed me CNN’s article “Rape Victims Offer Advice to College Women” chock full of helpful tips about how we women can avoid being raped while attending college. The article highlights the study put forward by the Center for Public Integrity about rampant sexual assault on college campuses, and how most often schools fail the victims. The study reveals a lack of transparency on campus, and a culture of secrecy combined with barriers to reporting.
So we’ve moved beyond blaming the victim to blaming the institution? Sorry, folks, that’s just not good enough. I replied to my Mom’s email with:
THEY SHOULD BE TEACHING COLLEGE MEN NOT TO RAPE!
Nowhere did this widely circulating article mention preventing violence before it happens. How’s about a little prevention education for teen boys, prevention education for freshman boys, prevention education for football stars, prevention education for film students, prevention education for fratboys, prevention education for valedictorians, prevention education for nice Jewish boys, prevention education for student body presidents, or good old prevention education directed at those who initiate sexual activity and perpetrate non-consensual sex?
My Mom hearkened back to a bygone era captured in film:
In the Philadelphia Story with Katherine Hepburn, there is a marvelous scene:
Kate has gotten drunk the night before her wedding to husband #2 and gone swimming (with a suit on!) after midnight with a handsome reporter. She is so drunk that he has to carry her to her room. At the time of the midnight swim Kate is being plagued by memory of being called cold and unfeeling, almost not human.
The handsome reporter tells the fiancé to simmer down, nothing happened. Kate explodes asking, “why am I so unattractive?”
Now the good part. Handsome reporter replies, “you were drunk and there are rules about that!”
Somewhere we have forgotten the rules. Love MOM
*Sigh* Yup, but not all of us have forgotten the rules, Men Can Stop Rape, PreventConnect, SAFER, White Ribbon, Byron Hurt and many more are working diligently to reach out and educate young men to end gender-based violence against women.
But until then, here are some handy tips GUARANTEED TO PREVENT SEXUAL ASSAULT, brought to you by the Feminist Law Professors:
1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.