Posted by Regina Mills (’09)
First, it is not as simple as Admissions shouldn’t let rapists in. This falls into the myth that rapists are people we can easily tell apart from others – someone who rapes someone does not have to be a sociopath. It is a problem to me that you believe that those who commit rape on this campus are of the variety who can’t change. I doubt most of the men who go here and commit sexual assault were born rapists. The problem of rape on our campus is both twofold, comprised of 1) our climate and accepted maltreatment of women and 2) the drinking behaviors and set-up of the Greek system. These problems are not solely that of a “culture of men”, but rather one that has not fully integrated women. Men and women both have roles in fixing the sexual assault problem on our campus. And I’m glad that you are “on our side” but action is necessary to be on our side. As I have discovered this week, our campus is full of those who are willing to support you from afar while actually have little desire to be part of the solution. Thus, I am weary of those I have never heard of or seen telling me they are doing something for “the cause.”
Second, I’m sorry you objected to the PostSecrets that did not tell the most terrible secrets of the heart. However, the purpose of the project was not even primarily to point out that women have been assaulted here and never reported, but rather for women to feel comfortable talking about and loving their bodies. Men have the luxury of being comfortable in their bodies practically every day; it is socially acceptable for you to discuss your body in as a graphic ways as you would like. This is generally not the case for women. You would be surprised that not everyone knows that most women have one breast that is bigger than the other, and that it is okay. Also, I find it more powerful to know that not everyone has the secret that they were raped. I loved seeing the positive PostSecrets that reminded me that we are not all victims, most of us are survivors and thrivers. I think you merely misunderstood the overall message of the campaign.
As for feeling “vilified,” I’m sorry if that is how you feel. However, I would strongly debate that men know that sexual assault is a horrible problem on campus. I think they often feel like they are told it is, but don’t really take it to heart. And it is precisely because they don’t take it to heart that student self-governance has let us down on the issue. I too wish that there were more women representing our student body on the EC. However, there are female leaders all over the campus in other places. So why aren’t women running for EC and when they do, why aren’t they elected? Why do women feel excluded from the EC? The problem of the EC is much larger than even the lack of fair representation – it is a problem of transparency, of a group that believes it cares more about the honor system than anyone else and thus does not even attempt to get the student body into the conversation. The example of the White Board Review Committee meetings are an example of this self-fulfilling prophecy. But I digress.
I also don’t fully agree with your concluding statement. We do not have to accept misogynistic people forever, just like I will not tolerate racist people forever. Admissions will never be able to weed out the “rapists” because they are not a group of people that come here – they are people who don’t normally go around thinking about sexually assaulting someone but are in an environment where it is easy to do so and get away with it. Our excessive drinking culture which is conveniently set in frat houses allows women to put themselves in vulnerable positions and men to take advantage of them. I agree very much that this is a problem set squarely in the Greek system and that as students, not administrators or admissions counselors, we need to tackle it head on, as male and female members committed to creating a community of honor.