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Why men are more likely than ever to sexually assault women

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Collegian File Photo

(Collegian File Photo)

Since history’s earliest recordings, mankind has more often than not chosen to ignore the issue of sexuality rather than discuss and embrace its inherent presence in the individual’s everyday life. This exact course of action has, in addition to other factors, contributed to today’s prevalence of sexual assaults on college campuses nationwide.

Now more than ever, college students are under an enormous amount of pressure to look and feel sexually appealing. Many would argue this affects women more than men, but in my experience, everyone is fairly preoccupied with their physical appearance – and whether they choose to admit it or not is a whole other matter.

The media, and Hollywood in particular, has emphasized that college is a time for sex, and lots of it. For years, American men have been handed the notion that their value is determined by their ability to attract and coerce a female into a sexual relationship. But now the message has escalated to the point where men at the University of Massachusetts and colleges nationwide feel the need to force the issue.

A night out at college has become a horrid display of male students jostling to try and one-up their compatriots, and achieve that all too finite experience that for some reason has grown to be a necessity for happiness. Life on campus has grown all too competitive in this manner. With social media, college students are now not only judged on their academic performance, but are put under pressure to “perform” on nights out with friends, a concept completely removed from the fact that going out is meant to be fun.

Many UMass students have heard the term “ratio” in recent times. While it is not wrong to desire a gender-balanced audience at a social gathering, to peg women as a resource at parties dehumanizes them and invokes a sexual implication in attending what is meant to be a fun event. It would not be fair to blame hosts for these actions, for they are at this point standard, but it has certainly only increased the pressure on men to be “successful” in their relations with the opposite gender. If a man is told he cannot attend a social event without a large group of women, what is he left to do but unnaturally and forcibly seek their companionship?

Now, in addition to having to be aware when walking around outside, women are forced to be ever alert to the dangers present inside of parties and social gatherings. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, half of all sexual assailants are under the influence of alcohol at the time of the perpetration. Alcohol, a substance meant to loosen tensions and relax nerves, is instead being abused as a means of denouncing inhibitions. The line between sexual assault and sex has become blurred. Not enough emphasis is placed on making sure everyone is safe, while too much is placed on making sure one is able to have sex.

Humans have repressed their sexuality for centuries, be it for religious, moral or other reasons. This has exacerbated the sexual depravity man inherently finds within himself. We have chosen to battle with our desire to speak openly about matters related to sex. As a result, we have produced a generation of men devoid of identity if not affirmed by sexual prowess. While women feel this same pressure, they are more often faced with becoming victims. For every 1,000 females who attend a college or university, there are an estimated 35 incidents of rape per academic year.

I believe the vast majority of us are interested in fostering a safe environment on campus. That being said, we have the responsibility to bring these conversations to the forefront, to speak about these issues so we are not forced to keep seeing statistics that prove the society we live in enables sexual assaults to continue to occur. Most of what I have written is merely opinion – opinions of a straight, white male at that. But if nothing else, I hope this article inspires other men to question their choices and the choices of their peers. Maybe then we can begin to really address the issue of sexual assault at its source.

Charlie Giordano can be reached at [email protected]

6 Comments

6 Responses to “Why men are more likely than ever to sexually assault women”

  1. Levinson on April 7th, 2016 10:46 am

    I agree with the conclusion, but wholeheartedly disagree with the premise of this article, which is self-contradictory. First, I reject that people are more preoccupied with their appearance than ever. Statistics show that young people are fatter and in worse shape than ever, so how preoccupied can they be with their appearance, much less their health? Second, the idea that “American men have been handed the notion that their value is determined by their ability to attract and coerce a female into a sexual relationship” is patently false. Attract? Yes. Coerce? You’ve got to be kidding me. Whoever is receiving that message while growing up in this country is one sick puppy.

    The worst analysis centers around the following premise: “As a result, we have produced a generation of men devoid of identity if not affirmed by sexual prowess.” It is exactly the OPPOSITE that has produced this shitty generation. Meaning, the LOSS of religion, morality, nuclear family has contributed to the situation described by the author, not BECAUSE of it. It used to be that those things created societal pressure to keep mankind’s baser desires (sexual and otherwise) in check. Now, there are very few, if any, such checks. It is the rejection of morality and religion and the embrace of over-sexualization of young women, particularly on TV and in media overall, which has led to what you describe. Add to that a progressively liberalized drug culture, mainstreaming of pornography to young people, not to mention the incredibly damaging “communication/intimacy by proxy” that social media, texting, snapchatting and whatever else is out there provides, and VOILA, you have a generation of young people who do not know how to talk to each other.

    Young men’s social skills have been perverted to the point where they seem to have lost the line between men and women. It pains me to see how these guys talk to girls like they do their guy friends and how badly they fronting in group social situations. No wonder any half-way decent guy, considered a pig in another generation, is considered like the last chivalrous gentleman in the world around here. Life ain’t a video game and human intimacy, sexual or otherwise, cannot be cultivated from behind a screen.

  2. Joe on April 7th, 2016 10:11 pm

    I disagree with the headline. Even if I concede that male culture makes sexual assault more likely, I hardly think that men are more likely THAN EVER to assault women. Crime rates, including sexual assault, are going down and are at historic lows. The title is too sensationalist.

  3. David Hunt 1990 on April 8th, 2016 9:39 am

    Not that I’m trying to specifically draw attention to prurient video content, but… go to bing, turn off the adult filter, and search for “dare dorm”.

    Watch a few of the videos. Including the behavior by the women.

    Then tell me where men might get the idea that women are nothing but objects for their gratification.

  4. David Hunt 1990 on April 8th, 2016 4:34 pm

    A further comment… am I suggesting I approve of such behavior, or of such an attitude. Not. In. The. Least.

    Rather, I wish to draw your attention to the simple principle of human nature that what we observe and experience regularly we come to view as normal.

    Porn is ubiquitous and easy to access. It creates a level of expectation for what will happen. Again, is force / rape ever justified? NO. But when you consider that so many consumers of porn, on a regular basis, come to expect as normal… the attitude is not surprising.

    A painful confession: While I was at the Zoo there was a young woman who, in 20/20 hindsight, I realized was very attracted to me. I didn’t pursue her for one reason: I’d been “conditioned” by looking at Playboy, etc., to think that only a woman with big, um, you knows was the one for me – she was very modestly endowed, therefore she didn’t fit the criteria of what I’d come to expect I “deserved” by viewing all those pictures after all those years.

    Whether you are looking at a male or a female as a potential partner, understand – the popular culture is one that drives your opinion. Looking for a man… GOTTA have that “six pack abs” thing going or he’s no good. Looking at a woman… GOTTA have the 36-24-36 figure going on or she’s no good. Because that’s what we see on TV, in movies, in magazines. Going out on a date? Through porn and other things, a guy – wrongly, but that’s what it is – “expects” action.

  5. Tom Welsh on April 11th, 2016 5:28 pm

    Per the statistics in the article.. 22292 students at UMASS Amherst. 49% female which is 10903. 35 rapes per 1,000 women is 381 rapes per academic year at UMASS Amherst. That is more than one per day. That is more than the entire city of Boston. I certainly will never let any woman I know attend UMASS Amherst knowing that woman is raped there every day. And the taxpayers of Massachusetts deserve some immediate answers from UMASS officialso about the astronomically high incident of rape at UMass. Why has this high crime environment been allowed?

  6. chris on April 25th, 2016 5:27 pm

    opinions of a straight, white male at that.

    quit being so self loathing charles. you don’t have to apologize for things

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