The Point Was Missed
To the Editor:
I read the op-ed column "Against White Ribbons" (Nov. 16), and I must say I was taken aback. As a person involved in the Sexual Abuse Awareness Program, and as a SAPA who provides crisis intervention to victims of sexual assault or abuse, I laud the efforts of the Men's Project to form a supportive community for those who have been victimized.
The Men's Project is not aiming to eradicate abuse through ribbons, but rather to enlighten those who do not have an understanding that sexual abuse is wrong, and to provide support to the victims of the Dartmouth community. It would be nice if we didn't need this pledge, but it is nave to close our eyes to this problem. The column does provide some valid commentary, although it misses this point altogether.
Further, the ribbon analogy is entirely false; the ribbons handed out were not "I am not a rapist" ribbons. Just as people wear ribbons to support or show their awareness of homelessness or AIDS, these ribbons show support and awareness of the plight of the sexual abuse victims on campus. I also disagree with the opinion that the white ribbon pledge serves to promote divisiveness between genders; instead I believe they are trying to erase the traditional victim/victimizer dichotomy, which is incredibly deep-seated and has been around long before this group handed out white ribbons. I understand that white ribbons are not going to stand in the way of all abusers, but I must also point out that a visible supportive community helps those who have been so wronged through assault on this campus, and at the very least will promote awareness.
I am sure the author thinks sexual abuse is wrong. However, boycotting things like the white ribbon pledge and publicly denouncing the efforts of such a group through the D devalidates a part of the Dartmouth community. I was incredibly saddened by the column, and I only hope that those who wish to support this community will speak out against opinions like those expressed in this column.