Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A call to end rape culture

By Billy Rainsford

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There’s an old dirt path that runs behind Orchard Hill, connecting it to the Sylvan Residential Area. It goes through a wooded area behind the hill, with parts that are unlit and dark at night. This path is known to the University of Massachusetts students as the “rape trail.”

Michelle Williams/Collegian

This past August, on move-in day, a sign was draped on a private house across the street from Southwest. The sign read, “Drop off your daughters here!” for passersby to see.

UMass Memes, a page on Facebook, has a Harry Potter-themed Internet meme in which Harry states, “I raped all my OWLs today!” referencing the online homework tool at UMass. It has hundreds of “likes” on the page.

We have a rape culture here at UMass, and the time for it to end is now. These are just a few examples of the culture that encourages violence against women, a culture that still pervades our community no matter how progressive or forward-minded we like to think we are.

This week, news broke on campus of a horrific crime, the alleged rape of a UMass student in her residence hall by four men. This young woman showed great courage in coming forward; the majority of sexual assaults still go unreported, resulting in an estimated 97 out of 100 rapists walking free nationally, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). The alleged attackers have been arrested and processed by the justice system, with the UMass Police Department stating that there was no one else in danger as a result of this specific incident.

But while we should support UMPD’s efforts to bring these specific men to justice, we must also remember that rape is never an individual act of violence. On a campus that makes light of a violent crime by casually referring to it in memes and jokes, we must acknowledge that acceptance of rape and the normalization of violence against women are contributing factors to its occurrence. This culture not only allows for rape, but discourages victims and survivors from coming forward and speaking out.

This culture is, of course, far from limited to UMass Amherst. Right across town, there was an outcry at Amherst College in early October over a t-shirt that was distributed at a fraternity’s event, depicting a woman tied up over a spit under the words “Amherst College: Roasting fat ones since 1847.” This was followed by a recent first-hand account of a rape on the Amherst College campus that was published in their student newspaper.

One disturbing part of the Amherst College student’s account is the administration’s view of their own school compared to other places: “The people (outside the school) are different from the people at Amherst, they won’t be well-educated, and they won’t understand you. You’re going to a backwards place.” This is a huge part of the problem in the town of Amherst, one of the most liberal places in America: because the town is so progressive, it can use this as an excuse that it is doing ‘enough’ to combat rape and sexual assault. But no school will ever have done enough until rapes actually stop happening on campus.

Thankfully, we do have great resources on the UMass campus that work to combat sexual assault and rape culture on campus. The Amherst College student herself was referred to a support center at UMass Amherst, presumably the Center for Women and Community, formerly the Everywoman’s Center. This is exactly the type of resource that we, as a campus, need to be supporting: part of the reason the CWC changed its name is to show that the whole community – women, men, students, administrators, faculty, and the entire town – needs to be part of the work it does.

That support can come in many ways, and it can start with challenging the overt examples of rape culture we see in everyday life. We need to challenge our peers when they engage in victim blaming. We need to stop “liking” posts that joke about rape. We need to stop casually referring to an isolated path as a “rape trail.”

I am confident that our community can change this culture. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

The events of the past week matter. UMass will not be silent.

Billy Rainsford is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]


34 Responses to “A call to end rape culture”

  1. mason on October 24th, 2012 4:06 am

    The solution doesn’t exist in encouraging peope to change what they click on facebook nor do I think the concept of victim blaming is pervasive in society; I think that stems from indviduals who commit the crime, who try to justify what they did when there is no excuse for it and the type of person who commits a violent crime like that is a criminal, it’s someone who is less than human and broken. So attempting to change the cultural norm around it will not change the type of indvidual who commits that crime.

    The failure at amherst college was not the culture of the college but the response of the adminstration to not take it extremely seriously and to not immediately contact the police. It’s that type of elusive and non-committal response which enables rapists because it allows them to continually get away with it and discourages victimes from reporting it.


  2. Nina on October 24th, 2012 11:42 am

    Really well said! good article


  3. Donna on October 24th, 2012 1:28 pm

    UMass students have called that strip of land the “rape trail” for at least 25 years. I learned it on my first day at UMass in 1993. It’s not a sign of “rape culture,” whatever that is. The term, however tacky, refers to how dark, isolating, and unsafe that area seems at night. The “rape trail” is the kind of place you think you might see the proverbial rapist hiding in the woods. At worst, the phrase is an inappropriate joke. At best, it reminds men and women not to walk there at night, to choose a safer, well-lit path to Orchard Hill. The “rape trail” in and of itself does not encourage violence against women. You’ve created a straw man argument.


  4. UMass Student on October 24th, 2012 5:04 pm

    Just to be clear, UMASS Amherst does not support a rape culture and any of the jokes that may happen (right or wrong) did not influence this past incident. After all, the students as far as I know were not even from UMASS or even the town of Amherst whatsoever… The fact this poor girl got raped is definitely a big deal and should never have happened, but lets not go blaming UMASS Amherst Students or the school in ANY way for it truly had nothing to do with our school.


  5. S on October 24th, 2012 6:54 pm

    I think a huge part of the problem, even as exemplified in above comments, is the idea of “yes, of course it’s terrible, but it’s not us. Could never be us.” Because that is the kind of thinking that justifies the rape culture. But the thing is, it’s so much more pervasive than we may acknowledge or want to acknowledge. Rape and sexual assault is not committed solely by a certain ‘type’ of individual. It is committed by perfectly functioning, healthy, maybe even happy people. It is committed by the guy who asks a girl to dance and thinks that is also an agreement to sex. It is committed by people who don’t even realize that what they’re doing is rape. Because when we distance ourselves from rape, pretend that it is not something that happens in OUR lives, to or by the people we see every day, we further allow ourselves to remain uneducated about what is actually the case. Sexual assault/rape is not indicated only by kicking and screaming. 1 in 4 of the women in your life are victims of it. And rape culture is part of why you might not know that. Because when those jokes are made every day, it is not a problem only because it promotes future sexual assault and rape, but because it even more tangibly prevents survivors from feeling they will be supported in sharing their story. No one ‘supports’ rape. No one is picketing for rapist rights or for the silencing of survivors. But there are reasons that it is still as prevalent and pervasive as it is, because it IS a part of your life. It is not absent on some campuses and not on others. It is on every. campus. So I urge you to reflect on what aspects of your daily life, including you personally, may be playing a factor. And specifically, reflect not on whether you are doing negative in terms of rape/sexual assault, but whether you are doing anything POSITIVE. Because I guarantee, there is a survivor in one of your classes. There may even be a perpetrator. There may be both. There may be multiple of either. So next time you make a rape joke, or let a rape joke slide, or even claim that rape is not a problem on your campus, think what your words mean in the context of their ears. Please.


  6. Dr. Ed Cutting on October 25th, 2012 3:21 am

    Exactly how many women have been raped on the so-called “rape trail” in the past 20 years? My understanding is that it is a number somewhere between none and NONE.

    Yes, it is a dark and scary path at night — one moreso before cell phones, and after walking it just once at night, *I* decided that *I* wasn’t going to walk it at night anymore. But to the best of my knowledge, I don’t believe anyone was ever raped out there.

    And notwithstanding how crude the “daughter drop off” sign was, the APD actually violated those schmucks civil rights by forcing them to take it down. And we are talking about adult women here, aren’t we? Not about children….

    Facts matter — and the college women who are raped almost inevitably know the rapist. Much of it is the so-called “date rape” and if we didn’t have women drunk out of their minds and — yes, I will say it, doing things like wearing mini-skirts with no underwear which kinda gives a bit of a mixed message to guys — if we didn’t have half-naked and totally intoxicated women putting themselves into harm’s way, we very likely wouldn’t have so many rapes occurring.

    I once had a young lady, an attractive young lady, tell me that she had the right to go into a (now torn down) frat house stark naked and not be raped. My response was that I had the right to stand in front of the same frat house and call the brothers every insult known to man and not be assaulted, either. But, I added, we would both be damn fools if we actually did it.

    Might I suggest that it isn’t a “rape culture” as much as a “slut culture” that is the problem — and if the young ladies started respecting their bodies and not drinking themselves half blind and wandering around half naked, a lot of this stuff wouldn’t happen anymore.

    And whatever happened to knowing someone’s last name before you slept with him/her/it? Dare we say that the “hook up” culture is part of the problem????


  7. B on October 25th, 2012 4:39 pm

    First, this article almost made me cry with joy and pride at you as a collegian writer and at the collegian in general for taking this as seriously as it should be.
    Second, the pervasive examples in the comments of rape culture rearing its ugly head, as S mentioned the attitude of “its not us, it could never be us” is so sad and ridiculous I almost want to give up.
    You might not think you’re part of the problem, and it’s very hard to hear that you’re part of the problem, but the only thing we can do is recognize we are part of the problem and change our behavior to become better people.


  8. mason on October 26th, 2012 8:31 am

    Why is ed cutting so angry, all he does is leave comments on this site which the aim and only effect is to cut down and offend the opinions of others. In no way does how a woman dress encourage a violent and brutual crime, there is no reason to have such a small attiude towards rape.


  9. Mike on October 26th, 2012 8:41 am

    Did the APD really make the house take down “DROP YOUR DAUGHTERS HERE” sign?


  10. Dr. Ed Cutting on October 27th, 2012 4:10 am

    As to the “Daughter Drop-Off” the Amherst Police Log is published in the Amherst Bulletin newspaper and I remember seeing this in there — the house was on Sunset and the cops made them take the sign down.

    And Mason, I ask but one question:

    Do you leave your car parked, unlocked and with the keys inside it? Do you leave your laptop and IPhone and perhaps a stack of $100 bills inside said unlocked car — perhaps parked down in Lot 11 by the Football Stadium?

    Stealing is illegal, so why is this an unwise thing to do?

    Let me tell you a story about someone whom I considered to be a very lucky young lady. She woke up — or more accurately, regained consciousness — late one Sunday afternoon and found that her underwear was on backwards. Or something, I never really did quite figure out what but it was clear to her that she hadn’t put it on herself.

    She feared the worst. She had absolutely no memory of the prior night. I was the RD and I feared the worst as well.

    Well, it seems that two of my female RAs had found her, face-down in a snowbank, in the drizzle, and didn’t want to leave her there. So they somehow got her up three flights of stairs, into her dorm room, and into dry clothing — and then went where they were going for the evening.

    And I said two things to her. First, that she ought to thank the two RAs because they weren’t on duty and in addition to everything else, they likely prevented her from catching pneumonia.

    And second, what if someone of less noble intent had found her? Someone like, say, a rapist?

    And that is my point. I have seen way too many bad things happen — and I have no problem telling women that it is not so good an idea to go to parties wearing micro-mini skirts with no underwear on underneath. I have no problem telling women that it is a really bad idea to do this and then to drink so much that you pass out unconscious on the floor.

    I won’t even get into glitter parties.


  11. Kathleen on October 27th, 2012 12:40 pm

    Is Ed Cutting actually a doctor? Dear god, that’s terrifying. Ed, the point of that woman saying “I should be able to walk into a frat party and not get raped” is not that it’s a good idea, it’s that even if she did that it would not be her fault if she were raped. It would only be the fault of the rapist. Nor is it the fault of any woman wearing a miniskirt or drinking or doing anything else your prudish ass considers “asking for it.” The only thing that causes a rape is the rapist. You know what I was wearing when I was raped? Jeans, a cardigan, a coat, and a scarf. Please, tell me what I should have done differently.


  12. Kathleen on October 27th, 2012 1:01 pm

    Mason, I can see how you believe that rape is more an issue of sociopathic people who will justify it no matter what than it is of the culture surrounding them. However, studies have shown that rapists overwhelmingly believe all men rape. If believing that all men rape is how these men justify it to themselves then a culture that accepts frequent, insensitive rape jokes reassures them that is the case.

    Rape jokes also play into rape culture because a major aspect of rape culture is the denial that rape is a serious or frequent problems, and I think most rape jokes require this denial (i.e. it’s harder to make a rape joke and thinks it’s really funny or acceptable if you understand the extreme likelihood that someone listening has been a victim of rape).

    That being said, I do think there are subversive rape jokes that don’t rely on the idea that rape is funny or nonexistent enough to be funny, but obviously that’s not the sort of rape joke or casual use of the word rape that the author of this piece is talking about.

    Of course, this comment defending the existence, pervasiveness, and damage of rape culture may be unnecessary now that you’ve seen Ed Cutting spouting a bunch of victim blaming bullshit crap about how women are to blame for rape for drinking and wearing miniskirts. Hey Ed, maybe the solution to rape should actually be that rapists stay away from drunk, scantily clad women rather than that women limit their own freedom in order to avoid being blamed for their rapes by people like you.


  13. Dr. Ed Cutting on October 27th, 2012 3:47 pm

    Kathleen, there is a very big difference between being responsible for something and preventing something. For example, if I was to observe you toss a lit cigarette into tinder-dry underbrush, and if I was to stomp out the burning grass, I would have prevented a forest fire that *you* would have been responsible for. I wouldn’t have been responsible for the fire, but I also wouldn’t be able to enjoy the forest anymore either.
    The law says that motorists must yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks. If you step out in front of a moving vehicle and the driver doesn’t stop and hits you — and you are tossed a couple hundred yards downrange and wind up on life support down to Bay State (as happened a few years back on Mass Ave), the driver will be facing criminal charges and likely will loose her license (as I believe this driver did) — but you are still smashed up and down to the hospital — and/or dead.
    Yes Kathleen, the woman driving the car that hit you is responsible. But wouldn’t you prefer it hadn’t happened in the first place?
    Let’s go further — let’s say you get hit by a drunken driver — clearly you are the victim of a crime and all, and the driver will go to jail for a while, but you are dealing with multiple fractures to your arms & legs, serious head injuries, and are laying on your back in a full body cast. There is a very big difference between blaming you for what happened and saying that preventing it from happening would mean that you aren’t spending the next year or two recovering from your injuries.
    Wouldn’t it have been far better to jump out of the way of the vehicle and not get hurt?
    Even if the law says the vehicle isn’t supposed to hit you?
    I am no more defending rapists than I am defending arsonists and drunken drivers. Please do not falsely accuse me of doing that.
    What I *am* saying is that much as you look both ways before crossing the street (even though vehicles are supposed to stop), it really isn’t a good idea for a woman to wander around nearly naked and drunk out of her mind.
    (It also isn’t a good idea for a man to do this either — and that is a point I also fear folks are missing.)


  14. June on October 28th, 2012 3:47 am

    It’s insane that so many young men think it’s ok to hold someone down and forcibly insert themselves into them. Like giant mosquitoes. In many ways women are prey. A lot of men don’t want to understand this.


  15. Shel on October 28th, 2012 12:51 pm

    “If you don’t have as much money as your attacker, you’re just looking for a payday. If you’re in college, you shouldn’t want to ruin your poor young rapist’s life. If you’re a sex worker, it wasn’t rape it was just ‘theft of services.’ If you said yes at first but changed your mind, tough luck. If you’ve had sex before, you must say yes to everyone. If you were drinking you should have known better. If you were wearing a short skirt what did you expect?” – Jessica Valenti

    Please do not lecture us about the non-pervasiveness of victim blaming in this society.


  16. Alex on October 28th, 2012 11:40 pm

    Thank you Billy for writing this article. Rape culture on this campus is something that needs to be addressed on a daily basis. It is so heavily internalized that we think there is nothing wrong by referring to the path between Sylvan and Orchard Hill as “the rape trail”. The point is, regardless if someone was assaulted there or not, that we are using “rape” as an identifying and acceptable term. Rape is never justified. Furthermore, skirts do NOT justify rape.
    Unfortunately, we far too often see via mainstream media that female bodies are meant to be objectified and dehumanized. Next time, instead of thinking that there’s nothing wrong with that, let’s question how we can fix it. Because the statistics are that 1 in 4 women have been survivors. That’s your sister, mother, aunt, dear friend. That’s somebody you personally know. So for now, let’s stop criticizing what women are wearing and think that is where the problem stems from. Let’s teach our brothers, fathers, sons not to rape.


  17. lauren on October 29th, 2012 12:27 pm

    I love how Ed tries to make it seem like he has a cogent argument but really he’s just a misogynistic jerk… no one deserves to be raped and that is the end of it Ed. so stop trying to justify it even a little bit.


  18. hm on October 30th, 2012 2:32 am

    i don’t think people are really taking in what ed is saying rather than just attacking the straw man they find there. talking about the reasons why messed up things happen sometimes is not the same as justifying them, nor implying that they are the only reasons.
    maybe if an obsession with guilt wasn’t such a focus everyone could understand the more dangerous dynamics of sexuality and everything would go a bit better for everyone. yeah, i’m a male. if someone mugs me in a dark alley in a shady part of some city, of course in an immediate sense it’s their ‘fault’. but i don’t go walking down dark alleys… that there is so much secrecy, angst, shame, pain and bewilderment surrounding sexuality that the same common sense can’t be said to apply without 100 feminists shouting about victim-blaming and how rape is asexual, is not really helping society to have a productive and enlightening discussion on this incredibly charged topic. the way that people socialize and pursue sex in general is messed up. but the alternative is not so say that young ladies should go naked to frat parties and get insanely drunk. that this is a frequent occurrence on our campus just shows how badly people need to get a grip, grow up and learn some skills for reasonable behavior.
    of course there are monstrous people in the world, but they are few enough to be dealt with easily if we weren’t surrounded by a sea of people who just go with the crowd and do whatever seems cool or normal. this applies to victims and perpetrators both. i am not interested in assigning or measuring blame regarding any particular incident (like this one in which it’s not even really known what actually happened, to me anyway; all i have is the police’s word on it). i am interested in real talk about how life and sexuality can be made better and safer, and not in reinforcing the idea that women are helpless victims of a power dynamic that will never change. because it is already changing even though there is so much further to go, and i think this is something anyone who truly cares about this should take note of.


  19. hm on October 30th, 2012 2:34 am

    actually rather than perpetrators or victims, what i said in that part applies above all to others, to ‘bystanders’.


  20. Dr. Ed Cutting on October 30th, 2012 3:41 am

    The “1 in 4 college women will be raped” statistic is no more accurate than the infamous 1932 telephone survey that said that Herbert Hoover was going to defeat FDR and win in a landslide.

    Now as to the latter, telephones were quite expensive in 1932, few people had one, whom do you think did? (hint: “expensive”) You got it: All the millionares said that they were voting for Hoover and did — everyone else voted for FDR.

    The 1:4 survey comes from a similar error — actually thrice compounded.

    First, it was a survey in MS magazine — something that at the time was every bit to the left as Rush Limbaugh is to the right — and would you consider a survey of college women who listen to Rush Limbaugh to be reflective of college women at UMass?

    It also was a survey that you had to fill out (if you chose to do so) and you then had to find an envelope and a stamp — and then remember to mail it. That’s called “self selection” and throws any survey result into the toilet.

    Take two women, one who was raped and one who wasn’t. Which woman do you think is going to have that survey filled out and in the mail immediately?

    I really am surprised that a statistic generated this way was as low as 1:4….


  21. Dr. Ed Cutting on October 30th, 2012 3:46 am

    As to the so-called “Rape Trail”, did it ever occur to anyone that it most likely was called that as a WARNING, by well intended persons trying to discourage anyone (not just women) from using it at night?

    Do you not see how “the dangerous trail that you might get raped on” became “the rape trail”?


  22. Willow on October 31st, 2012 3:01 pm

    This article painted me with an easy impression that men is usually responsible for sustaining rape culture. This easy implied answer can be so targeting that, no wonder why, many students joke about it in order to get away with the awkwardness. Has anyone asked how did the awkwardness arise?

    Here I am extremely surprised that nobody has pointed out that, “sexual violence against men, including rape, is under-reported, and much more poorly addressed.”

    In a sense, the enemy here is “violence,” or a bad choice. I would argue that no one is born to be evil, nor to do harm to another. Thus, resisting rape culture should not be pictured a war between genders and sexes, but a learning opportunity for everyone.

    Speaking of learning and making better choices, I found this at Hampshire College, a group of sexperts that educate peers about Sexual Pleasure and Communication. I guess UMass version of this is “Consent is Sexy.” It is great that UMass has a lot of resources like this. However, our campus is fairly big and with segregated organizations. I think our greatest challenge here is, how to get more students engaged, feel belonged and “run” their own organizations to advocate for causes.

    In the end, the names of Rape Trail or what I say does not matter much, if put in comparison to what students are empowered to do. With that said, thanks Billy for a progressive article!


  23. Dr. Ed Cutting on November 1st, 2012 3:07 am

    Willow raises a good point, but doesn’t take it as far as she should. We all agree that rape is about violence and not sex, right? Then why differentiate between “sexual violence” and violence against the person in general? The trauma is the same — someone penetrates you sexually or slies up your face so badly that you will be disfigured for life — that is less traumatic????

    People become invested in a society because they get something out of it. Why should men give a damn about violence against women when no one is addressing violence against them?

    Yes, I have a very hard time with the women claiming an absolute right to wander around half naked and drunk out of their minds. I have a hard problem with this because *I* don’t have this right. There are places that I wisely choose not to go and things I wisely choose not to say because I am male.

    No do we still believe in gender equality? Because if we do, it is perfectly acceptable to tell a woman she has to restrict what she does in her life — just like a man does.

    And will people please start remembering that 91% of rapes are committed by a man the victim knows. Why do women go out with creeps? Why do women date the knuckledragging loosers, while ignoring the decent guys?


  24. David Hunt '90 on November 2nd, 2012 10:03 am

    Let me state unequivocably that rape is a horrific crime. I know people who have been raped. It’s ugly. I have never raped anyone, nor could I conceive of doing so. It is, ultimately, the responsibility of each and every person to not do so.

    But where I see the issue is, is the perception that the world should be this utopia where people can walk anywhere, at any time, in any fashion, and not fall prey to predators. The sad FACT is that – human nature being human nature – there are those who WILL take advantage of others, whether by theft, or rape, or whatever.

    And That’s the rub – the refusal to accept that the world is actually a violent place.

    When I was at U Mass there was a grisly murder at one of the malls (IIRC over the summer). That fall, despite no suspects or arrests, women were walking around alone late at night, with headphones on, oblivious to the world around them. Would I condone their being attacked? Of course not.

    But the world is a dangerous place, on an individual level as well as on a macroscale. To say “If only human nature would change” is to succumb to a fantasy world of unicorns instead of accepting the real.

    In the movie “The Matrix” Morpheus urges Neo to “wake up” and see the world for what it is, not what we want it to be. Though it isn’t RIGHT that women (and men – there was an incident when I was at grad school where a man was raped in a parking lot) get assaulted and raped, it is REALITY.

    Live in the real. And take precautions.

    And to any potential rapist out there… I hope you get caught. For two separate rapes. Because I’d advocate castration.


  25. Mike Donelan '90 on November 2nd, 2012 4:13 pm

    There’s one additional fact that has to be addressed: not all rape allegations are true and very real damage has been done to innocent men. Have we forgotten Brian Banks? The Duke Lacrosse team? The incident at Hofstra?

    As harshly as rapes should be prosecuted, false accusations need to be taken seriously and punished as well.

    I don’t know all the details of the UMass case, but I have serious questions about Angie Epifano’s account of her experience at Amherst College.

    By the way, I agree with Dr. Ed and David Hunt. Teaching men to “not rape” is useless because most men, if not all, know it is wrong. True empowerment does not come from shirking any responsibility, especially for one’s own safety.


  26. MIke L on November 6th, 2012 12:36 pm

    Today I learned that only women can be raped.


  27. Dr. Ed Cutting on November 6th, 2012 1:04 pm

    And then the big-daddy of them all — the 1999-00 UMass Campus Pond Rapist Hoax — the whole bunch of them were fabricated and absolutely none of those women were raped.

    The absolute best part of that gem — EMTs ask a victim what happened to her not really caring about the details but wanting to assess mental functioning in terms of head injuries and whatnot. The woman told the fire department one story and the police a completely different one — and they all knew who she was because she had twice attempted suicide on campus within the prior year — with a knife.

    The AFD and UMPD guys know each other and compared notes – none of this added up and they knew it — but her lawyer threatened a libel suit so the entire campus was told she had been attacked while they knew she hadn’t been. And a month later it comes out that she had cut herself.

    Ladies, this actually happened at UMass.


  28. Dr. Ed Cutting on November 6th, 2012 1:53 pm

    The argument for castrating rapists neglects two important facts.
    First, rape is a crime of violence and not an act of sexual gratification. If a man (or woman) wishes to forcefully penetrate a woman, it can be done with objects other than a penis. A beer bottle and a hair brush are items I am aware of having been used for such purposes, the hairbrush being used by a woman sexually assaulting her own daughter who was something like 3-5 years old at the time.

    Second, this shows how rape has become a cudgel in the gender wars. Much as how one once had to be visibly anti-communist in order not to be accused of being communist, men are now required to support increasingly barbaric punishments lest we be considered rapists ourselves. No, my support for the Eighth Amendment and the humanitarian principles behind it, my belief in mercy and in not harming the helpless is actually consistent with opposition to rape as well.
    But take the aforementioned case of the woman and the hair brush. Would we “castrate” her? Would we surgically sterilize her so that she could not have any more children?
    Hatred of men in general both exists and needs to be recognized…


  29. J on November 7th, 2012 1:42 pm

    While in college, a girlfriend & I went to a frat party. My friend got very intoxicated and started hanging all over this guy (who was also very drunk) she was grabbing his crotch, kissing on him & yes she was very scantily clad. I also am female but strangely don’t feel it is a good idea to get so drunk that I have no idea what I am doing or is happening to me as they both were. Being a good friend I tried to take my intoxicated friend home around 1a.m., but she didn’t want to go, she wanted to stay and hang out with….let’s call him Mark. I tried very hard to talk her into leaving and stayed til about 3a.m. trying to keep an eye on her. When she left with Mark I felt they were going to “hook up” and thought it was a completely consensual arrangement…… That’s what I saw and thought (me another female) but the next day my girlfriend was upset with me and said that she was raped the night before and didn’t know who the guy was or remember anything………. I’m sorry but no it is not the person who get’s raped fault BUT…… not all crimes and situations are the same. I thought my friend was leaving with this guy to go have sex….. I wonder what he thought was going on?????? Oh wait that’s right he was just as drunk as she was….. so as Dr. Ed said above maybe people should THINK about what they are doing…………. yes she had every right to go out dressed scantily and drink and that boy had every right to go out and get drunk too but unfortunately he is now a registered sex offender…………hmmmmmm if neither of them remembers anything because they both acted so foolishly and drank so much I don’t know how anyone can know if she said NO at any point cuz it sure looked like she was saying yes as she pulled out of the party by his pants with one hand while the other hand was rubbing his chest……. yes people should THINK before they step out in front of cars, walk down dark alleys etc and yes women have the right to dress how they want but THINK, maybe don’t get all intoxicated beyond belief on the night you dress all slutty and maybe don’t dress all slutty on the night you want to get all drunk, because no it is not your FAULT that the car hit you, but maybe if you thought before stepping in the road, or out the door with the boy that thinks you want him maybe just maybe it wouldn’t have happened. And to the lady wearing jeans and a cardigan, I was fully clad when I was attacked also, and no it doesn’t matter what we are wearing it is not our fault, but do you really see no difference?????????????????? It is always the rapists fault, but I think that if more people used their heads some of these crimes would stop don’t you????????????


  30. David Hunt '90 on November 9th, 2012 6:33 pm


    The experience you relate sounds EXACTLY like a next-morning “WTF did I DO last night?” regret. Regretable? Sure. Rape? No.

    Is it nasty that a guy takes advantage of a drunk woman? Sure. But if he’s drunk too, and you – a woman – got the impression that this was consensual, how is he to know? Get written permission?

    Good judgment comes from experience. Where does experience come from? Very often, from bad judgment. So what to learn from this? Don’t get blasted, don’t stay with a guy who is equally smashed, have a “wingman” to watch each other, and – most importantly – don’t tease and lead someone on.

    Many years ago, at my first college, I ran into a young woman who was utterly blotto… and “in the mood.” I got her back to her room, woke her roommate, helped get her tucked in, and left. Another, more mercenary guy, would probably have gone for the kill. And yet, ironically, this young woman – even after this – didn’t give me the time of day. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess. But I know I did the right thing.


  31. Dr. Ed Cutting on November 16th, 2012 1:24 am


    I suggest that the scantly clad and quite intoxicated woman making an issue of whom she wakes up in bed with the next morning cheapens what happened to you.

    There once was a presumption of “of course you were modestly attired” — and that is now gone to the point where you feel necessary to make that point. You probably were — for all intents and purposes — sober as well.

    I make a distinction and I don’t apologize for it.

    And David Hunt — I learned an awful lot from that incident where my RAs had put the drunken girl to bed — as proper and Calpurnian as I would be, I still wouldn’t have any part of getting a drunken woman home without a woman whom I really *really* trusted there as my witness that I didn’t do anything inappropriate.

    Ladies, you have created a society where the decent guys are too scared to get involved, which leaves, well…


  32. Jay on November 20th, 2012 3:57 pm

    Getting hit by a car is an excellent metaphor for rape. And the alcohol issue applies to both.

    Should you be careful and drink less to avoid getting hit by a car/raped? Yes of Course!!!


    Should a driver/rapist not be held responsible because they and/or the victim were drunk when they committed the act? No Way!!!

    Everyone is responsible for their actions, drunk or sober. If you are worried you might get drunk and rape someone else who is drunk than don’t drink. But if it happens, you are still a rapist.


  33. Jay on November 20th, 2012 4:11 pm

    Taking personal responsibility in order to avoid bad things happening to you is common sense and I teach my daughter to think about what she wears and to avoid groups of drunk men.

    However, if God forbid, she ever gets raped, even if she was too drunk to remember what happened, and even if the rapist was drunk and thought she wanted to have sex, it is their responsibility to recognize that their victim is drugged, even if it is just alcohol.

    If some woman on the street was coming on to me, it would be MY responsibility to ASSESS whether she is thinking clearly. If I’m high on drugs or drunk, that doesn’t excuse my behavior, it makes it worse!

    I think Dr. Ed Cutting is justifying some pretty unhealthy and dangerous notions and is mixing up personal responsibility with victim blaming (thus “the Rape Culture”).

    If I’m hanging out in a dangerous neighborhood, yes I should be more careful to not get mugged, maybe I should even dress differently. But if I do get mugged, it’s not my fault and I still didn’t deserve it. Victim blaming and slut shaming is so wrong, and even if you want women to be more careful (WE ALL SHOULD BE) it doesn’t mean rape/sexual assault is in any way okay or to be accepted or defended.

    ALSO, as a man, I’m worried about getting jumped or mugged, yet I still don’t have to fear being RAPED (Unless I’m in prison or a Frat House). That is the Rape Culture we are trying to move past.


  34. E on November 22nd, 2012 11:15 pm

    Jay — do you consider women to be the legal equal of men?

    Would you be upset if your daughter was told that she couldn’t go to college because they thought it more important that men have a good education, or a company told her that while her resume was impressive, they still would prefer to hire a man because “men are more responsible than women”?
    Forget illegal, wouldn’t you be outraged?

    Why then should you have a *legal* responsibility to be more responsible to assess if a woman is thinking clearly than it is hers to assess if YOU are? Remember that you just agreed that women are every bit as responsible as men (I hope) in your objection to the “we don’t hire girls” example above.

    Camile Pagilla (not I) raises an interesting question. A woman drinks too much and stupidly gets into her own car and attempts to drive home. She instead is involved in an accident and considered to be a criminal for her bad decision. A second woman drinks to much and makes the equally stupid decision to get into someone else’s car and wakes up in some strange guy’s bed the next morning. Why is she a victim? Or why is the other woman a criminal?


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