Monday, July 14, 2014

Men against rape

Waiting at the airport for an overnight flight to London, I find I'm having a hard time thinking of anything but today's NYT cover story about a campus rape and the grievous way the college administration screwed up the investigation. Tenured Radical has a great post on the story, on the newfound attention sexual assault has been receiving, and on what it might take to get colleges to take the matter as seriously as they claim they do.

As for me, I have little to add to what I've said about rape in the past.

Actually, that's not quite true. The one bright spot in the Hobart & William Smith story involves the victim's friend: a man, and, it later turns out, a football player (like the woman's assailants). Although he can't have known her long or well since they were both freshmen and it was the beginning of the school year, after receiving some alarming texts from her he keeps trying to contact her. When he gets no response, he sets out in the middle of the night to try to find her.

We need more men like that. Indeed, the most useful thing about recent research showing that the vast majority of college rapes are perpetrated by serial predators--and that they account for only a small percentage of the male population--will be if it changes the conversation so the average man doesn't feel that he's under suspicion, but can see himself as part of the solution.

Because he has to be.


thefrogprincess said...

I too had this exact reaction. I found it incredibly heartening that he had a sense of the danger that she could have been in (and indeed was in), that he wasn't mollified by unclear texts, and that he did not rest until he had found her. While she may well have gotten that kind of dogged help from any women she may have been friends with, what he did no doubt required walking through spaces that a woman on her own or maybe even in a group probably wouldn't have felt comfortable in.

Flavia said...

Yes--I actually initially assumed the friend was female (either I was reading too fast or the gendered pronouns don't enter the story until later), and was just as impressed and moved. Regardless of gender, that's a great friend. But I admit, I was surprised it was a man in a way I wouldn't have been if it was a woman; it's not uncommon for women to use the buddy system when going out, or to make a pact to look out for each other.

Women absolutely need to look out for each other. But it can't just be women.