To Whom Are We Speaking?

by Jay Banerjee | 11/24/03 6:00am

To the Editor:

I don't think there's a single corridor left on campus that doesn't have one of those signs tacked up somewhere along its walls. We've all seen these, right? Those stark white signs with some horrific rape statistic scrawled in galvanizing, broad-stroke handwriting: "Men Rape This Many Women Every Minute," "This Percentage of Men Admit to Using Pressure to Get Sex," Signed, "Concerned Students."

Now, no one bright enough to attend this institution could fail to see the connection between this campaign and the spate of anonymous tales of sexual assault that have recently been published in various campus media. Certainly, given the sheer number of these disturbing pieces, the "Concerned Students" are well justified in their concern. Still, I find their choice of message rather bemusing.

First of all, exactly who are these "Concerned Students" attempting to educate? Male undergraduates? What are they expecting, that some potential rapist is going to see one of those signs and say to himself, "Wow. These rates of sexual assault are downright frightening. I was going to rape somebody, but I really don't want to be a part of that statistic." Clearly not.

Female undergraduates, then? By bombarding the campus with "Men Do This," "Men Do That" placards, they are not going to encourage anything on this campus except a wave of misandry.

These would-be educators really need to take a closer look at their books. Every single one of theses articles is bound by a common thread: the victims were invariably intoxicated. Have our "Concerned Students" completely overlooked that fact? Instead of blaming everybody with a Y chromosome, I propose a campaign that's not doomed to futility right from the start, such as, "If You're 5'5" and Weigh 120 Pounds, Drinking 20 Beers Might Not Be in Your Best Interest."

So, thanks for your concern, students, but you're going to need a drastic change of approach. Before anyone lambasts me for "blaming the victim," I would just like to state the obvious and say that sexual assault against an intoxicated victim does not make the crime any less vile. But for whom are you more inclined to have sympathy: the pedestrian who gets hit by a car while walking on the sidewalk, or the pedestrian who gets hit by a car while walking in the middle of the street?