SPEAKING FREELY


Posted by Samuel Gilleran (í11)


Well, it seems Iíve created a little bit of a firestorm. Iíve discovered over the years that Iím good at that, so Iím glad to see that Iíve triggered some response.

 

Miss Mills says, ďIím glad that you are ďon our sideĒ but action is necessary to be on our side.Ē I would respectfully submit that putting up posters and banners and cards on the wall is not action. It is simply stirring the pot.

 

What is the ultimate goal of the KEWL campaign? Ending sexual assault at W&L. How does putting postcards on a wall get us there? I donít see how it does. It might be obvious, in which case I would seriously appreciate someone telling me.

 

Before I move on, I would like to clarify what I said earlier about not letting rapists in. I am fully aware that rapists cannot be determined on eye contact, as Miss Mills points out: ďThis falls into the myth that rapists are people we can easily tell apart from others Ė someone who rapes someone does not have to be a sociopath.Ē

 

I was attempting to hazard a guess that most people who engage in sexual assault fall into a certain social type; as I wrote originally, ďIf [a different Admissions policy] makes this school less fratty, well, itíll just have to be okay Ė and maybe, just maybe, the Greek system will fix itself if we quit admitting frat lords.Ē It isnít the bookish types who are getting girls wasted and dragging them upstairs to abuse.

 

Miss Mills misses the point when she responds to my point about the EC. Women are elected when they run; the problem is that they donít. Sarah Catherine Welch was elected to fill Richard Saumís term earlier this spring, and after I submitted my initial posting, I was informed that one of the law school reps will be female. The system does elect women on a frequent basis; even so, I support establishing seats on the EC specifically for women. Itís important that female voices be heard. That being said, they have to run in order to be elected.

 

One minor quibble with your conclusion, and then Iíll move on to the other response: we donít have to accept misogynistic people, and we should not accept misogynistic people, but they will exist, and that was all I was trying to say in my conclusion.

 

I donít really know where to begin with Miss Yudovichís response, except to say that these are exactly the type of disclaimers that I was looking for to begin with. Most men do not commit sexual assault. Why then does it take a somewhat provocative piece to elicit that statistic? Wasnít the point of all the posters to shame men into doing something about sexual assault? I donít think shame is the best motivator.

 

Miss Yudovich continues: ďAnd if Gilleran is upset that he feels vilified and generalized as a man, then letís not extend the stereotypes to the Greek system. Not all ďfrat lordsĒ commit sexual violence. Not being a ďfrat lordĒ does not automatically mean that one is incapable of rape. W&L does not have to end the Greek system in order to end sexual assault; the culture can change within the context of Greek life.)

 

Of course not, of course not, and of course not. I donít think I anywhere stated that being Greek makes one more likely to commit sexual violence. However, I donít think that it is coincidental that W&L has a high incidence of sexual assault and a high percentage of Greeks. I would simply reiterate that it isnít usually the bookish types who are administering roofies and taking upstairs those young women who are clearly incapable of giving consent.

 

Galena, I am outraged. I am extremely upset about our high sexual assault rate. But donít pretend that ďas a senior woman who saw more open and honest dialogue happen in the last week than in the entirety of my time at Washington and Lee,Ē you have the right to lecture about what I do and do not do. When I go out, I do look for incidents of possible sexual assault, and I have removed girls from compromising situations. I feel just a little bit insulted that you think I donít look out for my sisters, friends, future wife.

 

With respect to the Admissions thing, I would just refer Miss Yudovich two paragraphs up. Of course itís impossible to tell in advance who is going to commit an assault and who is not. Iím just making the point that there is a certain social type that is more likely to commit a sexual assault, and if we admitted less of that type, we would probably have less sexual assaults.

 

As far as there being only two female candidates, I canít explain it. If I could, I would. I personally encouraged some girls to run, because I thought they would do a good job. As for the Blues Traveler incident, it was entirely inappropriate what he did, and I hope she pursued some sort of action against him with the appropriate judicial body. The point is that women have to rise above this sort of maltreatment, not care what their male compatriots think, and take responsibility for student governance on this campus. Simply raising awareness is not enough; at some point, there has to be action.

 

Finally, the postcards. Iím writing this in the Commons, so I just went down and checked: ďMy left one is biggerĒ is on the wall, and if anyone likes, I can point out its position. Itís on the same panel of wall as ďMy right one is significantly larger,Ē complete with drawing. Miss Yudovich writes: ďLet me take this opportunity to remind everyone, in response to Gilleranís assertion that these postcards have nothing to do with sexual assault, that last week was Love Your Body Week, not Sexual Assault Awareness Week.Ē

 

I am duly chastised; I had truly gotten distracted and forgotten the mission of the week. In this context, such cards are completely appropriate, do not detract from the mission, and I apologize for suggesting they did. I myself was empowered enough to have two postcards on the wall. One is a more humorous secret (a secret nonetheless); the other is not at all. In fact, while I dropped the more lighthearted one in a box, I waited until 2 AM to personally place my other card on the wall. Itís a typed message, and the paper is stapled to the card, if anyone reading this cares to go see what my personal problems are. However, I do digress, having misinterpreted, and indeed forgotten, the actual purpose of the postcard campaign.

 

I am more than happy to answer any more outraged responses; I consider such responses good for dialogue, as they allow everyone involved to more finely tune what he or she believes, and more importantly, what he or she does. This is what going to college is about, and itís been a good exercise for me. Thanks. 


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