Offensive, but True

by Alexandra Acher | 11/25/03 6:00am

To the Editor:

I don't think that we should deny that signs about sexual abuse are offensive, because they are. But their blatant and offensive truth is deserved. Why should women have to carry constantly the blame for sexual assault? Why is it such a horrible thing to make men recognize that some male individuals are responsible for a huge majority of sexual assault cases? In order to somehow change anything, it needs to start with men. I am tired of catering to what will make men more comfortable in dealing with rape. It is time for men to take responsibility for the fact that some of them do commit rape, and move beyond the potential offensiveness of addressing males in general. I am offended because I am a woman and am vulnerable because of the power differential between men and women. I am offended that I cannot convey my feelings without feeling obligated to bend my words to make the situation more convenient for men. The blame for rape should never fall on the victim. Some men rape women and making it seem less drastic than it is is a mistake that prevents any progress from being made. Men have to change how they relate to women; I am tired of altering my actions, clothes, body image and alcohol intake so as to not be blamed for being assaulted. Women don't choose to be raped, and stating that blatantly isn't a bad thing. It is the truth.

Instead of becoming defensive about the fact that men commit most rape, men need to recognize that rape cannot be prevented and addressed solely by women. In fact, the men who are most offended by rape, probably not rapists themselves, are exactly the very men who need join women in opposing militantly sexual assault and assailants. It needs to be a joint effort that starts with the truth, not some biased perspective that doesn't make bold the cause for rape. Alcohol is not the cause of rape, women are not the cause of rape, men who lack basic human respect for other people and cannot control themselves are the cause of rape and any person, regardless of gender, who ignores this is only perpetuating a situation that is conducive to sexual assault and the further disrespect of people.