Clarifying the Message

by John Lawrence | 11/21/01 6:00am

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Jeff Deck's Nov. 16 article, "Against White Ribbons." Mr. Deck fails to understand the point of White Ribbon Day.

Deck is glad to trivialize the ultimate statement of the ribbons as "I am not a rapist," but the statement is much greater. Misogynism (not just in the form of rape) is real. Some men gladly remain silent. Wearing a white ribbon makes the statement "I'm aware of these problems, but I will not accept them."

Misogynistic attitudes prevail when people believe these attitudes are popular. When men make a public stand against them, it becomes clear that they are not. Deck suggests that because sexual violence is unpopular with most men, we do not need to act. The opposite is true -- we need to speak up to make a statement to the minority which accepts this behavior.

Although Deck complains about being labeled an "aggressor," he does not hesitate to characterize the entire Greek system as perpetuating "aggression against women." Apparently, his arguments for the virtue of men do not apply to Dartmouth's Greek system. This point is so obvious to Mr. Deck that he does not bother to support it.

Most men are not sexual aggressors. The same goes for Dartmouth's Greek men. Still, the community benefits if the men of Dartmouth come together to take a stance against sexual violence and misogynistic behavior. The Men's Project Pledge does not ask us to label ourselves as rapists. It lists eight points which no man should object to.