A Call to the Uneducated

by Andrea Shute | 11/25/03 6:00am

To the Editor:

There is a lot of justifiable outrage about the Nov. 24 letter "To Whom are We Speaking?" by Jay Banerjee. But if I remember correctly, I had a conversation with friends about how the signs referred to in the article are neither effective nor well chosen. And I completely agree. I personally find those signs offensive and not well thought-out. All they are going to do is make men put up an immediate defensive wall so they don't recognize the real sentiment behind the purpose of the sexual assault awareness campaign.

"Pointing fingers" at a large body of people will not make them "aware," it will make them come up with excuses such as "If You're 5'5" and Weigh 120 Pounds, Drinking 20 Beers Might Not Be in Your Best Interest." If a girl is too drunk to say no it is still rape!

Even though Mr. Banerjee tried to save himself with a metaphor about blaming the victim, he was way off. He did hit upon an exact problem with the way people respond to rape; the sympathy to a victim should not be any less if they were drunk. I assure you the effects that the rape will have on the victim will not be any less.

This is the basic problem behind "blaming the victim." By saying that girls should be more aware of how much they are drinking so they are not put in these situations, it is putting the burden on the victim instead of on the assailant. As a woman, I am constantly hearing the words, "we need to take care of each other when we got out" and that is downright one-sided. Why is the responsibility to keep each other safe on us? Why does the majority of the male community not feel this same sentiment?

If these posters were to educate the female population to protect themselves, then the target personally offends me. A campus-wide campaign should not focus on the victims. The campaign should have focused on the uneducated population that still believe that rape while the girl is intoxicated should receive less sympathy. The pain and long road to recovery for the victim is not going to be diminished by the role alcohol may have played in the rape. My belief is if rape were treated as a physical assault and not a sexual assault, then people would stop attaching a special social stigma and there would be less guilt felt by victims.

"In the end the real perpetrators are not the ignorant or hateful souls, but the cowardly ones. The ones who knew better, but never did better." -Unknown