Monday, November 24, 2014


If you missed the original Rolling Stone article on the pervasiveness of rape at the University of Virginia- and many other campuses across the country if the Title IX investigation is any measure- you'd get little sense of the substance of the piece from official and media reaction

We're hearing a lot of "shocked-shocked" reactions from the school- and Virginia politicians- as if this was the first they heard of it, despite the university's awareness of, if not complicity in dealing with it.

There's a lot of "we need to stop these rapes from happening" (duh) but for the most part the essence of the article is ignored. Because while there's a lot of condemnation of fraternities- where the incident cited in the article took place- and they have been shut down temporarily at U Va, no one is talking about the culture that has allowed the attitudes toward women behind the actions to still be pervasive among our young adults, even after generations of efforts to reverse them.

The article is not really about not the specific case of gang rape of freshman "Jackie"- wrongly described as a "graphic depiction" by the press- but the fact that we are still plagued by a misogynistic generation of men who think nothing of sexual violence and who are not just enabled by university officials but whose actions are indeed protected by other students, including many if not most women on campus.

Although there have been media citations regarding pressure to avoid hurting the reputation of U Va, the article goes into depth as to how the real pressure was apparently from other women who warned "Jackie" that she would be shunned and black-balled from the alcohol-fueled "party scene" at the "#1-ranked party school" should she speak out or "make a big deal about it."

That was the most distressing part of the article. The focus on the "gang rape that happened that night" at "that fraternity" ignores the fact that we are still producing children who accept rape and even encourage it with a 20th century mindset that blames the woman or takes a "boys will be boys" attitude.

It's hard for those of us who have been involved in the feminist movement for decades and thought we have made progress to find out that, despite all attempts and claims of success in, at a minimum raising awareness, our children are no different than their grandparents.

But if the media coverage continues to see this as a plague of individual events at U Va or even at schools across the country rather than a problem of a culture that still raises children who haven't learned to respect women, we may never make any progress.

1 comment:

Smokey Rain said...

Sickening! It is horrifying on so many levels. Thanks for focusing on this topic and supporting feminism Andy. The attitudes toward women are pathetic and ignorant and the violations and violence are an outcome of how the culture has shaped and dehumanized the role of the woman. The mentality i that women are second class citizens and not worthy of respect, consideration, fairness and protection. What a terrify world we live in where this behavior is not only accepted but encouraged. We might have big brains but the human race needs to learn how to use them and our hearts if we are ever going to truly evolve and stop living like creepy creeps.