Respecting Women Is Not Optional

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While the source of the above quote is a matter of debate, the meaning seems to be clear. When it comes to seducing women, the easiest method is to get them drunk. Fortunately, this idea has met with disfavor in recent times. There is a greater awareness of date rape and an unwillingness to wink at the idea of “taking advantage” of a woman.

Yet on college campuses, there is still much predatory behavior. Certainly the judge in the Brock Turner rape case didn’t seem to “get it” when he sentenced Turner to only six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious young woman on the Stanford University campus. The victim had attended the same fraternity party as had Turner before she ended up behind a dumpster being violated by him.

I remember attending parties at a certain fraternity at the University of Illinois back in the Dark Ages and noticing that the guys in the house never seemed to come downstairs until we girls had had time to down a few beers or cups of Everclear punch, a noxious substance that would put moonshine to shame. We girls chuckled about how the guys were just trying to get us liquored up. We didn’t really take it seriously. But now I see such practices from a different vantage point.

Last week there was a news report that a recent female high school graduate had to be rushed to the hospital because she suffered from alcohol poisoning after attending a fraternity party during freshman orientation at the University of Texas. Apparently, numerous frats host these gatherings and lure 18-year-old girls who may never have been away from home before to overindulge in alcohol at them. This strikes me as a matter of questionable judgment at best.

We need to eliminate the damaging and outdated notion that men are hunters on the prowl and women are their prey. We need to stop blaming women for drinking or wearing short skirts or acting seductive as a reason for men to attack them. We need to stop impugning the reputation of rape victims in order to let men off the hook for perpetrating violence against them.

I doubt Brock Turner would have been convicted if two eye witnesses had not seen the assault and come to the rescue of the victim. If his actions had occurred inside the fraternity house or his dorm room, the incident would have turned into a futile exercise of he said/she said.

Our culture needs to demand respect for all human beings, male and female. We should stop excusing behavior on the basis that someone was under the influence of alcohol. Until we do, incidents such as the one at Stanford will continue to occur and young women’s lives will be forever damaged.

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