First of all, I want to start out by saying I had been operating under the assumption that the guys at Wesleyan don’t have penises… Those skinny jeans don’t leave much to the imagination. Apparently I was wrong, though, because this is happening:
A former Wesleyan University student who was assaulted two years ago during a Halloween fraternity party filed a federal lawsuit Friday accusing the school of failing to protect her from dangers at the fraternity, which she claims was known on campus as the “Rape Factory.”
Over at my new favorite website, XOJane.com, a writer adds some valuable background info:
It alone among other frats insisted on remaining private rather than being part of the university’s housing system, which allowed it to evade campus safety and direct oversight; Middletown’s police department was instead responsible for handling incidents at the frat.
I highly suggest reading the XOJane article for more background on the case — including the harassment “Jane Doe” endured from frat members who learned her identity — and the campus rape culture in general. Eventually she was driven out of school. Her attacker — he wasn’t a Wesleyan student — was put in jail for lesser charges and there is all sorts of other weirdness around the reporting of the crime in the first place, but we’ll get to that later. The situation is shitty…and it’s weird that a school known for it’s bleeding heart liberalism, annoying stoners, and herds of roving feminists is at the center of this controversy.
I hesitate to even write about this case… it’s just too sensitive a topic. But I can’t let this story pass without comment… Sorry.
I don’t know enough about Greek life to know what Wesleyan’s recourse – if any – was against this fraternity. I imagine they could choose not to recognize it, but since it was housed off-campus it doesn’t seem as though the administration could do much to truly be rid of this scourge. The occasional email obviously wasn’t good enough… but what could have really been done?
Well, when I was a freshman at UCONN I lost count of all the orientation speeches I heard about drinking, date rape, and sexual assault in general. It was clear those lectures didn’t sink in with everyone – judging by the number of girls who drank until they blacked out – but they definitely got to me. I don’t know what goes on at Wesleyan’s freshman orientation (though if you’re a Wesleyan student, we’d love to hear about it) but something tells me, a little warning about certain “Rape Factories” was in order. (The RAs at least should have warned the incoming freshman about the frat – in an “enter at your own risk” kind of way.)
The response should have been way better. Jane Doe’s RA kind of fell down on the job, and didn’t report the assault. The school’s health services was closed, and so Jane Doe couldn’t go there, and it was suggested that she go to the hospital. This seems to be a point of contention, though I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just call 911 in the first place… Screw your RA, call the f-ing cops! But things got worse. Guys from the fraternity in question kept harassing Jane Doe until she eventually transferred schools.
I hope this case brings about some real change in the way colleges and universities deal with sexual assault accusations. The level of denial that exists about rape culture on campus is shameful. But no administration is ever going to be able to stop rape on campus all together. In the end, the best we can do is to teach young women to minimize the risk.
Is that sad? Yeah, but it’s still true.
Do they deserve a world where they are safe and treated with respect at all times? Yes. Is that the world we live in? No. (Just ask Emily McCombs.) People are crazy, they’re a-holes, and sometimes they’re just drunk/high idiots. And you need to figure out how to stay safe even when confronted by these people – because Mom and Dad, your school administrators, and even the police are powerless to help you in the heat of the moment.
XOJane got me thinking about this issue again this morning, with a story about “Slut-Dropping.” The whole story is f-ed up… and it’s one of those articles that just really leaves me disappointed in human beings. So what is “Slut-Dropping”?
A gang of merrymaking young squires careens around the local village in an auto-mobile during the wee hours of the morning. When they see a young lass stumbling home alone from a night of intoxicating fun, wearing clothing indicative of both the presence of sexuality and the wearer’s awareness of said sexuality, they stop the car and offer to give the damsel in distress a ride home. What gentlemen! BUT THERE’S A TWIST.
Instead of driving the girl home, they drive her in the opposite direction of her home, as far as they possibly can, and then, when they get to the TBD nowhere spot, they drop her off, laughing and laughing like teenage Mitt Romney cutting a gay kid’s hair, and drive away, filming the “slut” they just “dropped” as she angrily/sadly watches them recede from her.
Now, of course what these d-bags are doing is assholery at its worst (their parents should be ashamed). But I was aghast that any of these girls would get in the car in the first place!! Not only should you not accept rides from strangers, you shouldn’t do it at 2 a.m. while you’re drunk-walking home, especially when its a gaggle of dudes in the car. I’ve teetered my way through Port Authority at many a wee hour… and have always had the presence of mind to know strange men posed a danger. A lot worse than just having to shell out money for a long cab ride home could happen… like you could be raped, dismembered, and buried in a shallow grave.
I don’t mean to say you should treat all strangers like they’re potential serial killers, but please use a little commonsense – and maybe a little women’s intuition. When the PrissyBitch and I go on our roadtrips, meeting any number of strange individuals, they inevitably ask where we’re staying. We lie to them. Once some guy suggested we leave the bar we were in because it was dangerous – and he was probably telling the truth about that – and that we ride with him to the next venue. We laughed in his face and said we didn’t get into cars with strangers who might be murderers. But we did take his advice about leaving the bar and followed him to the next place – which had the added bonus of allowing us to escape when we discovered his choice of venues was lame.
I’m not suggesting you need to stop going to frat parties, having fun, or even getting wasted. And when something bad does happen to you, you deserve to have the full support of law enforcement – no matter how drunk you were or how short your skirt was. But if you want to avoid having to call the police in the first place, I’m just suggesting you have a suspicious heart (assume all men are trying to take advantage of all drunk girls) and stick together (travel in groups, or at least pairs). It’s OK to be a complete bitch to a stranger who isn’t treating you with respect – just ask the many guys who I’ve hurled drinks at when they were being awful. And remember, it doesn’t matter if those guys don’t like you, because the truth is, you probably don’t really like them.
Good luck, Jane Doe, and thanks for fighting the good fight!! We here at The CuT hope you make a difference… and if you decide to become an inspirational speaker I’ll be your opening act. I’ll teach college girls everywhere how to have an attitude bad enough to ward off 85% of all potential attackers (there’s at least 15% of attackers who you just have to stab).