Women's Issues

NYT ‘Anti-Rape Idea’ Is Actually A Horrible, Victim Blaming Load Of Nonsense

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red-solo-cupThe New York Times ran an article yesterday, Sorority Anti-Rape Idea: Drinking On Own Turf. Somehow, many people still believe the onus of stopping rape is on victims, not rapists. If women just get better about navigating their surroundings, rape will cease to exist, right?

National sorority organizations do not allow alcohol in their houses, but many people now seem to be debating whether allowing women to hold parties on their own turf will decrease the frequency of campus rape. The NYT quotes one senior at George Washington University as saying, “I would definitely feel safer at a sorority party. It’s the home-court advantage.”

I understand the idea of feeling “safer” in your own environment but this won’t solve anything. It’s not even a band-aid, and if it is, it’s wet and soppy and doesn’t cover the wound. The arguments made for this as an effective tool for preventing rape just lack logic. For example, one argument says that women will be mixing their own punch bowls, so there is less likelihood of someone tampering with it. Huh? Will there be a guard around it all night? Another argument said that when a party takes place at a frat house, women don’t know all of the exits. Does anyone else see what is happening here? Are we just collectively throwing up our hands and saying, “Oh, well. We’ll never be able to convince members of fraternities to stop raping women, so lets think about what sororities can do to be safer.”

From the NYT story, “The portion of campus sexual assaults that occurs during fraternity house parties is unknown, several experts said, but a 2007 study financed by the Department of Justice found that women who frequently attended fraternity parties were significantly more likely than others to be sexually assaulted.Multiple studies have found that students in fraternities were significantly more likely to have committed rape than non-Greek men.” So, is there a way to keep these rapists out of sorority houses?

Another George Washington student told the NYT, “I’ve been to parties run by girls, and they’re much more protective — they keep an eye on each other. At frat parties, it’s more of a hunting ground. Not all guys are like this, of course, but sometimes it feels like the lions standing in the background and looking at the deer. And then they go in for the kill.” Not okay.

Knowing exits, being clear about how to escape, and having more control over whether or not you’re drugged – these are the tips for reducing rape? That is fucking terrifying. If college women have to approach fraternity parties like they’re being locked into a labyrinth with sex-crazed, drug wielding maniacs — something is horribly wrong.

We’ll reduce campus rape when colleges start taking allegations seriously and we change the conversation from blaming women and forcing them to figure out how to be safer to blaming rapists and dealing with them accordingly. We’ll reduce incidents of rape at fraternity parties when frats start taking a zero-tolerance stance, instead of encouraging their members to be lecherous predators. If fraternities are such dangerous places for women, maybe their parties should cease to exist. College life will not collapse under itself if there are no longer a bunch of screaming idiots puking all over their Victorian houses.

How about this as a headline, “Fraternity Anti-Rape Idea: Zero-Tolerance For Rapists.” I’ll gladly pass that story around.

(photo: Brent Hofecker/ Shutterstock)