Working for Equal Footing

by Audra Gatts, | 11/25/03 6:00am

To the Editor:

In response to Jay Banerjee's letter, I would like to express that I agree with him that intoxication does form a striking link among all of the stories of alleged rape and sexual assault that have recently appeared in campus publications. I also agree that women abstaining from drinking would eliminate many of the rapes and assaults that occur on this campus. But this proposal fails to address the real problem.

Women don't want to get rid of rape to arbitrarily make those rape statistics look less scary. As for me, I don't care a whit if big, bad rape statistics make Dartmouth look bad. What I want is to be able to rest assured that I can have fun, and sometimes screw up (as in, drink too much) without fear of waking up with a guy on top of me. My stopping drinking will not be relevant to that goal. So, while I know that getting wasted isn't a right, it would be nice if I could have that luxury. In the spirit of fairness, maybe we could agree that if I come over and play one too many games of pong, men will leave me alone. Most guys don't seem to have any problem with this concept, but apparently some do.

And those guys who have violated this simple covenant often have friends, and sometimes frat houses or even a college administrator, who know what they did. So while I don't have any grand proposition as to how to make those few rapists on this campus stop doing what they're doing, I'd hope that promoting awareness might at least help other students recognize the severity of the problem, and do something next time they see (or hear about) their friend putting drugs into drinks, or having sex with a girl who's passed out on the couch.

The point is, guys, if you enjoy getting trashed and not having to worry about where you pass out or how drunk you get ... help your female friends have that same luxury.

Women know that we have to watch our backs some places. (Stumbling drunkenly through a dark alley will probably never be a good idea.) But Dartmouth is a small, tightly linked, educated community, and if there's any place that should be safe, it's this campus. I think that there is a lot of potential for us to rally around these statistics and help everyone feel safe here.