A really cool thing about having published Lovin' the Alien for four-and-a-half years (!) is that readers often send me ideas for future posts. This past week, several people forwarded an animated video that's generating a lot of buzz online. I filed it away (client deadlines, college applications ...) until I heard from two people whose opinions I respect tremendously. One is a preeminent pediatrician. The other is my daughter.
I figured I'd write about it sooner rather than later.
Sexual assault is a big concern on college campuses today. Statistics vary — in part because many attacks go unreported and because some studies are too small to really represent all schools. The number often reported is as many as 1 in 5 college women will experience sexual assault or rape. It's nearly impossible to get definitive data because there is still so much grey area.
Numbers aside, as the mother of an almost-college-freshman, I find the topic terrifying.
And, it gets worse. Because apart from the assault itself, there is victim-blaming ("slut-shaming"), a history of "boys will be boys" excuses, and a system that protects its good name rather than protecting the rights of the person who has been attacked. Here are some of the "excuses" (sometimes called "rape-splanations") that permeate our culture:
"But, she was drunk ..."
"But, she shouldn't have been dressed like that ..."
"But, she led him on ..."
"But, she out so late ..."
"But, it was consensual and then she changed her mind afterwards ..."
"But, it was consensual and she changed her mind during ..."
"But, they were on a date ..."
"But, they were at a fraternity ..."
"But, it was just a misunderstanding ..."
"But, she didn't fight back ..."
"But, she was passed out ..."
There are lots of ways to try and "prevent" rape. These include safety vans, dress codes, whistles, curfews, self-defense workshops, pepper spray. There's only one way to definitely prevent rape.
Stop raping. Period. Just stop doing it.
And what is rape? Having sex without consent.
The idea that sexual assault is a choice and not a cause-and-effect is simple, right? Either you have consent or you don't.
'Turns out, it's a lot like making someone tea. Watch the video here. And, remember, "Unconscious people don't want tea."
Rape is certainly no laughing matter, but by presenting it in a humorous and common sensical light, maybe the message will get through. I hope so.
But, I'm still sending my daughter to college with a whistle.
If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my book Lovin' the Alien at www.lovinthealien.com.