Sexual Assault at CMC, Time to Talk

By: Anna Joseph and Erin Olesen | Feb 28, 2013 | 719 Views Opinion |

At the February 3 ASCMC Executive Board Meeting, two representatives of Scripps Associated Students sought support for a poster campaign against sexual assault. The posters feature drunk women in vulnerable positions (passed out at a party, for example), paired with slogans such as “just because she’s drunk, doesn’t mean she wants to fuck” and “don’t be that guy.” The campaign met criticism from ASCMC representatives; some thought that the posters attacked all (CMC) men as potential perpetrators of sexual assault, while others argued that CMC students would dismiss the posters as “typical Scrippsie hyperbole.” The Board decided to put the posters to a committee for further consideration.

One of the proposed posters

ASCMC’s Executive Board members, who are working hard to combat sexual assault on campus, should not be disparaged for verbalizing those concerns. In voicing their opinions about how they believe CMC’s students would respond to the posters, the board members were merely doing their jobs and representing their constituency. But the student body should ask itself if—and why—that might be its response to the poster campaign. We could thereby start a long-overdue dialogue about the posters’ topic. Whether we want to admit it or not, sexual assault happens on CMC’s campus. “That guy” exists, even if he is in the minority. And if we want to change those facts, we have to talk about the issue and do so respectfully.

Unfortunately, all too often the conversation is belittled when efforts are made to discuss those matters. Whether through the use of “feminist” as a negative epithet or phrases like “typical Scrippsie,” students who are concerned with the prevalence of sexual violence on campus are frequently trivialized and derided. Stigmatizing feminist discourse often silences students and particularly women, who feel like they cannot speak out for fear of being chastised by their peers. To be clear, feminist, as a general term, simply implies someone who seeks gender equality (thus we hope that all CMC students would consider themselves feminists). That is not to say that there are not many different ideologies that fall under the banner of feminism, some more radical than others. But, since most feminists simply advocate for egalitarianism, we should question why we view feminism as a perspective exclusive to Scripps and one antithetical to CMC’s culture. In a community that prides itself on producing the leaders of tomorrow, we do ourselves a disservice by maintaining the bad habit of anti-feminist (and thus sexist) discourse that increasingly will not be tolerated in mainstream workplaces. In fact, most companies value employees who understand and are sensitive to social issues that are in the process of being integrated into company culture.

Stigmatizing feminist discourse, though a problem in itself, makes addressing the issue of sexual assault more difficult. And there is indeed a violence problem at CMC: according to a recently released Campus Safety Report, in 2011, five out of the seven forcible sex offenses reported (and most are not) across the five campuses took place at CMC. That does not mean that those perpetrators attend the college. But while CMC might serve as a social hub for students from all the campuses, we do not host anywhere near the proportionate 70% of all social events at the 5Cs (or even those at which alcohol is served). In addition, according to friends at the other schools, CMC is believed to be more dangerous for women than the other campuses. Seniors at the other colleges warn their first years to be wary of CMC men, who are considered relatively pushy.  Clearly these are stereotypes, but it is important for us to consider the ways in which our college culture might be more likely to encourage sexual assault than those at other similarly sized colleges. Getting defensive about the problem further perpetuates the negative climate by normalizing and excusing assault; we should face this issue together, taking the lead in protecting the women in our community.

Again, the people who perpetrate sexual assaults are likely a small minority. Men who have never committed or attempted sexual assault should not see the poster campaign as an attack on them. Instead, the campaign attacks mindsets that can often lead to or support sexual assault; these include views of entitlement to women’s bodies or simply mistaken conceptions of what constitutes consent. An implicit and sometimes explicit belief exists that because a woman drank or dressed a certain way, she wants intercourse. Many people might not know where to stop or what counts as sexual assault, or bystanders might notice that women’s body language indicates they are not capable of consent but not know how best to intervene. To clear up any confusion about how our college’s administration defines consent, CMC’s new sexual assault policy states:

Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent… In order to give effective consent, one must…have the capacity to give consent…Incapacitation is a state in which someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions…(e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction). Sexual activity with someone who…based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be mentally or physically incapacitated (i.e. by alcohol or other drug use…), constitutes a violation of this policy.

The posters are simply meant to help promote that message. The campaign understandably narrows its focus to men, given that most perpetrators of sexual assault are male. Yet the mere categorization of “that guy” suggests that these men are a small subset of the entire male population. That being said, everyone has a role to play. As Sandra Fluke pointed out in her recent speech at the Athenaeum, men can have an immense impact on other men’s perceptions of consent by influencing the language used in spaces in which women are absent. The growth of male-led national organizations such as Men Can Stop Rape reflects an increasing understanding that men, too, can take a stand on this issue. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other, to intervene if someone appears incapable of consent, and to check in with our partners if there’s even the least bit of uncertainty. The vast majority of CMC students—male and female—are already friendly and caring to one another, a primary reason why our school consistently ranks as one of the happiest in the country. Together, we should strive to create a campus culture in which mutually enthusiastic consent is clearly understood, valued, and expected in all sexual encounters; we ought to publicly extol the virtues of free choice and respect for the individual in the bedroom as passionately as we promote such values in the market and in the voting booth.

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  • Don’t be stupid

    I’m not saying she’s “asking for it,” but as a woman it seems like pretty common knowledge that wearing a tight, short dress and drinking 2 bottles of wine along with whatever else is pictured in the poster is a bad idea. We don’t have a culture wherein women get roofies or drugged against their will here (at least that I know of), so if the girl is too out of it to say no, it’s of her own doing. Hopefully none of the men at the 5Cs would take advantage of a woman in this situation, but as woman who are intelligent enough to go here, we should know our limits and not put ourselves in that position.

    • Better Analogy

      A better analogy is: no one is ever asking for it. At the same time, women have to be smart. A similar analogy is this:

      I could and should have every right to wear a Rolex up and down the streets of Compton. Smart idea? No. Probably one that would get me mugged and/or killed. So be smart and not wear it around. In a perfect world, no one would have to worry about such things, but alas, the world is not perfect.

      • Alex

        Except this analogy fails because I can’t actually take my vagina off and leave it at home when I go to North Quad.

        (I really want to link a Wanda Sykes bit about removable vaginas to this post, but I’m at the office & think it would be unwise – but really, anyone looking for some smart but humorous social commentary should google it).

        • not at the office

        • Better Analogy

          You really should learn what a false equivalency is, although you made a valiant attempt.

          The rolex is not an equivalence to a vagina, but sporting it openly is equivalent to dressing scandalously.

          The point made in that instance is that should one be able to wear whatever they want wherever they want? Yes. Unfortunately, being aware of our surroundings is a necessity in the world we live in.

        • Alex

          Except the Rolex =/= clothing. In the first scenario you’re talking about bringing an object of value to an area where it is likely to get stolen. In the second you’re talking about wearing clothing which sends a particular message (to a particularly warped mind, and not that of most people), which then makes them more likely to be the victim of a crime. I would argue that’s not a logical comparison.

          Even if scandalous clothing had anything to do with likelihood of being raped (which I would say it has much less impact than wearing a Rolex in Compton – if you need proof of this, look up the numbers on how common the elderly and disabled are raped), this still wouldn’t make sense.

          Maybe you could make the case that wearing a Rolex indicates you’re wealthy, making you a more valid target for robbery just like wearing scandalous clothing reminds people that you’re a woman, and thus a valid target for people who rape women.

          But you know, you could also adopt a really condescending tone instead.

        • Guest

          Also, high school debater says it’s “false equivalence” not “false equivalency”

      • Pablo

        You don’t take into account that poor people steal not because it’s their hobby, but because, many times, they lack any other alternative, and must find a way to provide for their family.

        The reason why this is a bad example is because men don’t need to fulfill any rape quota or anything similar that a thief would.

        Rape, unlike theft, can never be attributed to an external force. Theft, on the other hand, occurs out of NECESSITY. RAPE DOES NOT.

        • Wow.

          Theft occurs out of necessity? That’s funny. You’d think someone never killed someone for something just because they wanted to.

    • Are you serious?

      This is a perfect example of victim blaming. In fact, you ARE saying “she’s asking for it.” It’s never a girls fault (or a guy’s fault, they can be assaulted too…) for being too drunk, there are a variety of reasons why a person could get too drunk, and it is often difficult to tell how much a certain quantity of alcohol or drugs could affect a person on a given night. Being “intelligent” isn’t going to help you fend off an assailant, and I think that people should be held to higher standards. I think you need to give guys a little more credit, I hope if they see a girl that’s too drunk, they should be decent enough to find help for them. Also, you’re jumping too soon on the “culture” in Claremont/CMC–there have been plenty of instances where drugs, including alcohol and roofies, have been used to take advantage of girls here.

      • Really.

        Stop throwing terms around like “Victim Blamer”. You probably throw around “Rape apologist”, “Potential rapist”, and Misogynist as loosely and with as much hate as plantation owners threw around the N word back in the day.

        Sounds like too strong equivalent? Maybe. But lets be real. You use those terms because there is a strong negative stigma attached to them.

        So if anyone even brings up a semi decent comment (that only raises the point that one should also be smart – while everyone has the right to dress provocatively and not fear consequence, this world is not perfect), you try and equate them with a slimy word.

        I would hope you’re better than that.

      • Noah

        This isn’t victim blaming–at least, no more so than it is victim blaming to tell people to lock their car doors. Victim blaming implies that a person thinks a victim is at fault for his/her misfortune, and this is not what the post does.

        It’s become very popular lately to say women should be able to drink any amount they want, wear whatever they want, etc. and not get raped. Of course, this is completely true. It’s also true that I should be able to leave valuables in my car in plain sight without locking the doors and not have them get stolen. Neither of these expectations are REALISTIC, however.

        It is never someone’s fault that bad people exist, and it is never someone’s fault when bad people wrong them. That said, no one argues that we should be focusing all of our energy on convincing people not to break into cars instead of telling people to lock their doors. Telling people to take precautions is simply an acknowledgement of the evil world we live in; it need not and should not be intended to shift blame.

        There have always been, are, and always will be thieves. There have always been, are, and always will be rapists. Any strategy which ignores this simple though unpleasant truth is doomed to fail.

        Side note: I think the campaign is a great idea; spreading the attitude that rape is unacceptable in all of its forms is important. It’s just also important not to dismiss the encouragement of preventative measures as “victim blaming.”

        • Alan

          Hey everybody read this post carefully.

        • kara

          I hope there can someday be a world where we won’t need to worry about getting raped even if we make ourselves vulnerable to it (less concerned about my ipod getting stolen from my unlocked car, sorry. also, i think the world should try to figure out why there are things like stealing, etc., because these might often stem from systemic problems like the school-prison pipeline, etc., not just “evil”). I’m not saying there will ever probably be a day with NO rape, but the fact is that there is a lot of preventable rape that would happen if people were more educated about consent & were encouraged to critique their sense of entitlement or internalized sexism, etc! There are really a lot of small changes that we can make to make AT LEAST this campus, if not the rest of the world, a bit safer. Because wearing a short skirt isn’t inherently wrong, I think we really need to make the people doing the -inherently wrong- things change, right? I know you mostly agree with me : ) but I think that accepting the world as static will never improve anything!

        • Noah

          Yeah, I agree with you completely. Since the world isn’t perfect and never will be, I just think it’s important to work toward the goals you mention while simultaneously making positive efforts to be as safe as possible.

        • Alex

          I really do get where you’re coming from. And I know it’s easy and desirable to say that women are less likely to get raped if they just behave a certain way and avoid certain situations. Honestly, it would be comforting if I could drastically reduce my odds of being assaulted by simply wearing longer skirts and not drinking alcohol.

          But one of the major issues with this viewpoint is that it implies that rape primarily occurs in certain contexts (i.e. when women are drunk at parties & dressed “slutty”). Rape can occur in a wide variety of contexts. I have friends who have been raped by people they considered close friends while visiting from out of town. I know a woman who was raped by a guy she’d just gone on a third date with – he followed her home and broke into her apartment while she was asleep and attacked her. A guy tried to assault me in a public bathroom at 9pm when I’d had only one beer & was wearing an oversized sweater. And yes, I have friends who have been raped while drunk by guys they met at parties.

          But by focusing on this idea that women can “protect themselves” by behaving a certain way overlooks the reality that sexual assault can occur in myriad contexts. If I am responsible for “making positive efforts to be as safe as possible,” am I simply not allowed to go in public? Or even other people’s homes? Or even my own home? Am I no longer allowed to drink anything but sealed bottles of water that I bought myself from the store? All of these things would certainly make me safer, but at what cost?

        • Noah

          I’m really sorry to hear about your and your friends’ experiences. All of that is terrible, and by no means am I trying to say that women can prevent all rapes by wearing modest clothes and not drinking. I am also not saying women SHOULD dress modestly and/or not drink.

          My response is very limited in its scope, and it applies only to the kind of rape pictured in this particular poster campaign: rape where a woman is incapacitated by alcohol consumption. It is important to stigmatize rapists who find their victims this way, but (as my post was primarily concerned with pointing out) it is also important to encourage people not to drink to a point of incapacitation. This is the whole extent of my advocacy.

        • Alex

          Fair emough. And I definitely wasn’t trying to say that you hold any/all of the views I mentioned. I just worry that limiting the scope this way can sometimes have unintended consequences. And that’s a concern that I would direct at the poster campaign as well if the above image is its only depiction.

          As an aside because I find it interesting: the ad campaign this image came from is actually much more inclusive and includes allusions to both intimate partner rape and male victims.

        • What to do?

          You are making that implication and drawing an illogical line to a conclusion.

          We do not live in a perfect society. There are going to be evil people and those lacking in conscience and morals.

          No one is saying you should be not going out in public. Just be aware of surroundings and their implications.

          That being said, obviously more also needs to be done to educate others – but that is only going to go so far.

          I won’t claim I know the answer. I don’t think anyone really does at the moment.

          There has to be some sort of balance in all of this. As a society we are at a point where accusations of rape are so heinous that one is guilty until proven innocent (see that high school football player that was wrongfully accused due to a made up story and spent 10+ years in prison).

          So an honest question: where do we go from here, what is needed and how as a society should we realistically approach this that is equal to both genders?

        • FeministKilljoy

          “if the girl is too out of it to say no, it’s of her own doing.”

          That is victim blaming. It’s not that complicated.

        • Noah

          No, it becomes victim blaming if one goes on to say that it is the victim’s fault for being raped. Saying it’s her doing that she’s too drunk is simply a factual statement unless someone was force-feeding her alcohol.

    • NipplesAndAll

      As someone who is friends with an individual who was raped after being given a date rape drug on CMC’s campus via a soda pop, your comment disgusts and embarrasses me. You clearly have not educated yourself on issues of sexual violence and perhaps that is because you are fortunate enough to not have experienced it via yourself or others. I would implore you to do some research and understand that if I walk around North Quad topless with a beer in my hand, I’M STILL NOT ASKING FOR IT. By the way, that friend who was drugged was wearing jeans and a long sleeve flannel shirt. Very provocative.

    • Grape apologist

      “Hopefully none of the men at the 5Cs would take advantage of a woman in this situation”

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    • Don’t perpetuate rape culture

      Sexual assault is sexual assault if you are roofied or not, if you are drunk or not, or even if you said yes and then changed your mind and said no. Sexual assault is not something that one should expect and have to plan accordingly for. It is not a solution to ask for women to dress conservatively and/or refrain from party situations. It is a solution to break down prevailing attitudes that exist in our rape culture today and realize that consent is not given by a person’s dress, flirtatious behavior, or any factor that is not an explicitly stated yes.

    • kara

      I think that’s a bit of a double standard – men are allowed to drink as much as they want but aren’t faulted for their actions and choices like you are doing to women! yes, perhaps we need to address the rather f’ed up reasons why women feel they need to dress this way, but there is nothing INHERENTLY wrong with dressing in a skirt and heels! If a girl wants ta dress up and look good, she has every right to do this.

    • k

      you are victim blaming. my mother was drugged against her will on a first date with a man. she was not asking for it. we DO have a culture where women are drugged at clubs, bars, and parties without their consent. why do you think so many women cover their drinks?

    • Pablo

      “Don’t be stupid,” don’t be stupid. Women shouldn’t subject their behavior to the inhumane actions a man might commit.

      NOBODY SHOULD FEAR GETTING RAPED, THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT HERE.

    • Guest

      you are a disgusting and vile human being. how a girl likes to dress and how she likes to drink have absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. i hope i have not and will never meet you in person, you filthy misogynist scum.

  • Kate Johnson

    Thank you for writing an article that highlights a really important issue at the 5Cs. I do want to make one point about ASCMC’s involvement with the poster campaign. While they were rightly attempting to represent the student body, the two Scripps presenters pointed out that if people make fun of posters about sexual assault it is ASCMC’s job, as leaders on campus, to simply tell them to stop and prevent the perpetuation of such inappropriate jokes. I get that an exec board can’t control an entire school’s behavior, but I like to think there are enough leaders on campus who wouldn’t find rape funny and would stand up to those that do. How is ASCMC actually working to change our culture around sexual assault if instead they’re just trying to pander to some (I like to think the minority) of people’s immature behavior?

    Furthermore, the article states that ASCMC is working hard to combat sexual assault. But this poster campaign came from Scripps. What exactly has ASCMC done this year regarding sexual assault? I’ll admit I’m not involved so I just actually don’t know but would love to hear it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/moe.abdulrahim Mohammad Abdulrahim

      Hi Kate,

      I’ll agree with you that not much has been done so far. However, I am meeting with the same Scripps students in the next couple of weeks about where we should go from here, and what we as ASCMC can do to help them spread their message. Now that there is a new board, it will be easier to make such issues part of our plans, and thus a priority. Hopefully, after Spring Break, we’ll be bringing more to the table and start tackling this extremely important issue head on. Thank you for your concern.

      Best,
      Moe

      • Kate Johnson

        Thanks for the response, Moe. I do hope the new board will actually prioritize it.

      • Stag-a-liscious

        Moe-
        I really hope ASCMC reaches out to other schools to address this issue. I understand that we all have home campuses but we all interact with each other via classes or social gatherings so it is imperative that all 5 or 7C students work collectively to address an issues that affects all members of this community. I hope ASCMC will be the leaders they are and spearhead this issue.

  • Rebekah

    Thank you for being brave enough to bring up this topic in a school that tends to minimize and be derisive of topics it considers “women’s issues.” As a female CMC graduate I hated the culture of entitlement, particularly regarding women’s bodies, that exists on campus and can attest first hand that it is real. So many schools these days are worried about covering up sexual assault numbers to not look bad in the US News and World Report, but the focus needs to be on the students themselves, not on the numbers. Thanking you working to make CMC (and all the 5cs) a safer place.

  • Monica

    Great conversation to start! Want to learn more? The Motley is hosting a panel with all 5C Deans of Students to address the new sexual misconduct policies.

    Promote transparency between administrations and students: join the important discussion of sexual assault awareness by coming to the Motley this Friday, March 1st at 2 pm to hear about the new policies and ask the 5C Deans your own questions.

    Hosted by the Motley and SAARC (Sexual Assault Awareness and Resources Committee, Scripps)

    FMI: community.motley@gmail.com

  • Scripps Student

    Awesome. I really hope the rest of the 5Cs treat this as seriously as you two do!

  • Gender Hyperbole (Devils ADVO)

    I support the campaign a much as the next person, but would you like to know why it was met with criticism as “typical Scrippsie hyperbole?”

    It’s because of the outrageous hardcore feminist outlook that all men are evil, rapists, and looking to oppress females. It’s that anger that has become comfortable, like well-worn leather, that one might not even realize they are wearing it.

    If the anger is generated solving problems and used when needed, such as doing good in this situation, I think a lot more serious attention would be paid, rather than it being viewed as hyperbole. People can’t even try and raise their opinion or have a semblance of reasonable discussion without someone accusing them of being a “rape enabler”, “misogynist”, etc. Words that in this day and age seem to be thrown around quite loosely, because women know how offensive it is to be associated with something like that.

    I am now done rambling. But TL;DR, I believe the overall response is a result of a very Scrippsian attitude that everything should be done to kowtow to their opinions.

    I mean really: asking ASCMC to tell people to not make fun of posters and control that? Sieg Heil, Scrippsies. As reprehensible as it may be, people are still allowed their freedoms of speech, however boneheaded.

    • Ryan

      “It’s because of the outrageous hardcore feminist outlook that all men are evil, rapists, and looking to oppress females.”

      Yes, clearly the Claremont Colleges are full of women who believe all men are evil rapists. That is definitely not a projection of your own neuroses about women. Oh sorry, I seem to be replying to your straw man argument with an ad hominem attack. Maybe our rhetorical fallacies will cancel out? (And by the way, having “Devil’s ADVO” in parentheses does not make your comment less odious.)

      • Well…

        There’s no straw man argument. You new to research that term a little more carefully. There are most certainly wingnuts who claim, under the guise of hardcore feminism, to hate men,etc.

        And I’m not talking about at the 5Cs, where it was in my experience that people had a much more open minded and better outlook than many campuses across the nation.

        You cannot deny that there are those who hide behind that aspect of feminism to make anti-male accusations.

        That is where the unfortunate and undeserved stereotype of feminism gets a bad rap.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.woods.777 Kyle Woods

    I personally am disappointed that the upstanding men who exist on our campus have not done more to discourage the behavior of others who commit these terrible acts and tarnish our collective reputation. We need to raise our standards. We shouldn’t need to have students from other campuses leading the way on this, no one should feel endangered on our campus.

    • Be a pal

      I totally agree, Kyle. Sexual assault doesn’t happen in a vacuum with only a perpetrator and a victim. If you see something you don’t think is right, go over and say something. If you’re out with a friend and they’ve had too much to drink, make sure they get home safely!

    • Megan

      The article suggests that men who rape/commit sexual assault are “probably in the minority,” but that’s actually the truth of the matter. Men who do these awful things constitute a very, very small percentage of men who assault, proportionally, a fairly large number of women. So it really is don’t be THAT guy and make everyone else look bad.

  • What about men?

    I agree that this is absolutely a conversation that needs to be had; sexual assault is both a serious and prevalent issue in our society, but especially in college. That being said, while females are predominantly the victims of sexual assault (1 in 6 women have been a victim of attempted or completed rape, I believe), don’t forget that there are still plenty of collegiate women who take advantage of drunk men, who do not provide their consent. Yet somehow our society turns a blind eye and deems this as “not the same”. Where is the equality in that?

    • k

      you answered your own question. sexual assault towards women is more common, so of course it’s going to be discussed more. there is also a history of violence against women by men and we live in a society that encourages or turns a blind eye to this violence, whereas we do not live in a society that has a history of sexual violence against men by women or encouragement of that violence.

      • What about men?

        I’m simply pointing out that a double standard exists, and because of that, the conversation should extend to include male victims. If a man takes a blacked-out woman home and she did not give consent, we consider it to be rape. But if a woman takes a blacked-out man home and he did not give consent, we do not give the two scenarios the same type of consideration. Just food for thought.

        • k

          I have never heard someone say that a woman assaulting a man is not rape. it just isn’t often discussed because, let’s face it, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as violence against women. there is no double standard because men are in a position of power in our society. you need to wake up and realize that men are privileged. “what about men?” our entire society answers that question. but not a single person says, “what about the women?”

        • What about men?

          I never said men are not privileged. And I never belittled the topic of women as sexual assault victims. I’m only pointing out that when a woman takes advantage of a drunk man who is too inebriated to consent, the same image of “rape” is not conjured as when a female is the victim. I would bet you that society as a whole, as well as the administration, would be less quick to condemn that female aggressor than if the roles were reversed. I’m not talking about forceful rape. I’m talking about the act of not consenting, especially when drunk, since that’s what the Scripps poster campaign hints at (scroll up to view the poster if you need a reminder). Regardless, the conversation about sexual assault needs to begin, and I understand that it makes sense to begin that conversation by focusing about women; however, to completely disregard men seems bold, since I have personally witnessed many women taking home men–who can barely form sentences–on our very own campus.

        • Privilege? So?. . .

          The entire concept of “privilege” distorts the views of people like “k.” “Men are in power. Men are privileged. Therefore, they can’t possibly oppress themselves.” Really? Are we really going to go down that road? According to people who ascribe to this privilege-power paradigm, “privileged” victims are always already given sufficient attention vis-a-vis “opressed” victims, when this is often not the case at all! The Duke Lacrosse players accused of rape could NEVER have been falsely accused because they were white, male, cis-gendered, etc. But the black men who hung like fruit on trees in the 19th South? Yeah. They could’ve been falsely accused because they were being accused by those with “white privilege.” You see how that works? It’s ridiculous. Discussions of “privilege” should have no place in this conversation. ALL VICTIMS deserve help, PERIOD. For k to claim that society answers the question “what about men?” with regard to sexual assault, is just dismissive and ludicrous in my opinion.

  • kara

    so happy to see such strong women trying to make changes here on campus : ) liberation of the mind, whether it be of racism or internalized sexism, is such an important and oft-forgotten or dismissed way to create change and progress.

  • http://www.facebook.com/moe.abdulrahim Mohammad Abdulrahim

    Hi Amelia,

    This posters were brought to us by the Scripps students. I believe I can speak for most of the board when I say that we did not want to use these specific posters because we did not appreciate the image they gave off. This is why we recommended that different posters be made, using more of a theme of creating awareness, as opposed to making a statement. At the same time, although I agree with you in that students should already know that taking advantage of a passed out woman wrong, I think this poster was sort of an exaggeration to create a statement, because sadly, some people do take advantage of intoxicated others, and although they might not be passed out, they can still be unaware of their actions, and by depicting a girl who is passed out, the posters emit that sort of idea. But still, the posters are too extreme, which is why we will be meeting with members of the student governments at Scripps, and the other colleges as well soon, to find a more suitable manner in which to address this issue.

    • http://www.facebook.com/amelia.evrigenis Amelia Evrigenis

      Hi Mo! Thanks for your response- I should have probably been more careful to clarify that I didn’t mean to slam ASCMC so much as I meant to criticize the poster proposal itself. I’m glad we agree that the posters are too extreme and I hope that ASCMC will be successful in creating something more suitable.

    • Alex

      I understand this view, especially based on the poster displayed alongside the article. I am curious if other posters from the original ad campaign developed by Crime Prevention Ottawa a) were brought up or offered by the Scripps students and b) would be considered more palatable to ASCMC. I very much see why that particular image could be viewed as too extreme.

      For reference, the posters which I think highlight issues surrounding consent that might be a lot more beneficial to the CMC student body:

      http://wagstalk.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/dont_be_that_guy_4_thumb1.jpeg?w=451

      http://www.savedmonton.com/uploads/5/0/9/9/5099312/4297224_orig.jpg

      http://www.theviolencestopshere.ca/images/JusBecausePoster_1.jpg

      I’m not actually a huge fan of poster campaigns, but when I first saw this set of posters about a year or two ago, I was really struck by the ones which emphasized ongoing consent as well as voluntary consent (subtle coercion as opposed to brute force). I feel like those are perspectives that are concepts that everyone could use a good refresher course on. Just food for thought in trying to develop a new game plan for addressing the issue.

  • Pissed off dude

    I am angry that, as a CMC dude, I am being associated with rapists and ‘rape apologists’. Yes, I agree 100% that we should be on the lookout for sexual assualt on college campuses. However this campagn is incredibly polarizing and offensive, and these type of posters perpetuate a culture of men brushing off your concerns as “millitant feminist bulshit” or something. The slogans should read more like “If she’s drunk, make sure she’s safe”. NOT “if she’s drunk, don’t rape her”. Do yourselves a favor and learn how to start a dialogue without blaming people.

    By the way, the words “creep” and “rapey”, lightly tossed around by the female community, perpetuate the culture of rape doubt just as much as the words “feminist” and “typical scrippsie”.

    • k

      By the way, the words “creep” and “rapey”, lightly tossed around by the female community, perpetuate the culture of rape doubt just as much as the words “feminist” and “typical scrippsie”.

      NOPE. me calling a man a creep is not the same as a man calling a woman a feminist to make fun of her. me calling a man a creep is not the same as a man calling a woman a piece of meat he’d like to taste. check your privilege.

      • you can do better

        “check your privilege” is about the douchiest (and usually emptiest) phrase i’ve ever heard. seriously? that’s your punch line?

        everyone, yourself included, myself included, is privileged in one sense or another. if you are REALLY that PASSIONATE about the dangers of “pissed off dude”‘s privilege, consider the following:
        1. he’s an anon commenter. you know extraordinary little about his privilege.
        2. don’t call him out for something you can’t possibly understand unless you’re gonna make a damn compelling point. you missed the boat on that one.
        3. throwing around self righteous sass and acting as though you’re above everyone is no way to make people take you seriously.

        do us a favor and learn to justify how you feel without spewing tired and obnoxious platitudes.

        • SassyTroll

          And your comment that adds *so* much to this conversation….

  • k

    thank you for bringing this topic up for discussion in such an intelligent and thought provoking way. it’s too bad that cmc, as demonstrated by the comments and the reaction of the committee to the posters, is still at a kindergarten level when it comes to gender and women’s issues.

  • jfc

    Newsflash: no it’s not. God damn, do you live under a rock? How many times are we going to have to pull out statistics attesting to the experience of hundreds and hundreds of women who have been raped in the exact situation depicted in the poster before you realize that rape is a huge problem, not just on the 5Cs, but everywhere? I can’t believe this is a point I even have to make.

    Also, a poster that basically says DON’T RAPE PEOPLE in giant capital letters is prooooobably not going to “foster a culture of acceptance surrounding sexual assault”. Unless you’re living in opposite land.

    • think a lil better

      you have to consider the difference between rational people who know it’s wrong to take advantage of someone in these positions and irrational people who will take what they want when they want by any means necessary. while amelia doesn’t mention this divide specifically, i believe what she’s getting at is the fact that a poster campaign like this impacts those two groups in very different ways. will the poster pictured in this article effectively persuade an irrational person not to rape someone? no. perhaps you disagree, but i think it’ll do nothing positive; if anything, it’ll reassure the rapist of the weakness and vulnerability of the women he victimizes. so what effect will it have on the others? to start with women, it will serve as yet another cultural reinforcement of the disrespectful and oppressive stereotype of women as helpless, careless people (see: the rapist’s reassurance) whose safety and security is determined solely by the whims of the men around her. and to the men who are rational – the group amelia describes – all these posters do is downplay the seriousness of those acts. there are certain moral truths so fundamental that trying to reinforce them in any trivial way trivializes the principles themselves. we’re reflecting the relative severity of sexual assault as, frankly, somewhat insignificant if the outlet we choose to promote that message is something as casual in tone and thoughtless in content as this poster campaign.

      • http://www.facebook.com/amelia.evrigenis Amelia Evrigenis

        “there are certain moral truths so fundamental that trying to reinforce them in any trivial way trivializes the principles themselves.”

        Thanks for this post. You’ve put it much better than I did! This is just what I was getting at- that posters like these downplay the how horrific the crime really is.

        PS @jfk- For the record, I don’t live under a rock.

  • oh my god

    you are surprisingly naive for a female college student (who I assume has taken gws courses) about the reality of the rape culture we live in. how I wish a world like you describe existed. I know people that were sexually assaulted before their tenth birthdays. I know women who are threatened and grabbed while running in “nice” parts of town. I know people who passed out and were taken advantage of. so no, it’s not “unrealistic” or “offensive”. it’s our lives as women in a society that hates us.

  • Not an attack

    I am pretty disturbed at some of the responses to this proposal. To the men who are threatened by these posters: instead of making this about yourselves and alienating the many men and women around you who have been sexually assaulted, please try to see these posters as encouraging an overall mindset for our communities.

    These statements do not mean that you are a rapist, or even a potential rapist (I mean, doesn’t anyone have the “potential” to rape? Doesn’t mean we all do it. Doesn’t make you a bad person just for being in the group that happens to perpetrate the most assaults).

    Instead, look at these posters and think, hey, I wouldn’t do a thing like that, and it’s messed up that there are people who would. I need to encourage others to think like me, set a good example for sexual conduct, and call out those who participate in and talk about abusive behavior in our community.

    As tough as it is to believe, some of our friends and classmates have been involved in this type of disgusting behavior, and many others are survivors. Changing the way our community reacts to these situations is the first step to preventing more abuse.

  • http://twitter.com/ChuckCJohnson Charles C. Johnson

    I’ve known a number of guys on this campus who have been falsely accused of sexually harassing, assaulting, or even raping a girl. That kind of stuff happens all the time. Sometimes a girl will come on strong to to you and then the next day regret it. Her friends will encourage her to press the matter with the school’s dean of students who we know from her emails has decided that due process is all but nonexistent on CMC’s campus. Whether or not she’s drinking is immaterial. Sometimes the guy is drinking too. Everyone’s judgment is impaired.

    • CheckYourPrivelege

      It is extremely unfortunate that you and your friends have experienced these kinds of unfounded accusations. It is clear that our current rape culture hurts both men and women and leads to situations like the ones you have described because people think they can get away with it. It also means that there are people on our campuses that are being raped and assaulted.

      Studies have shown that false rape claims are at most 8%. The fact that much of rape and sexual assault is not reported means that this could be even lower. These cases of false claims should be treated with all seriousness, but I think that dismissing actual occurrences of assault is harmful to everyone – perpetrators can continue to harm others unpunished, and their victims suffer the consequences.

      There obviously must be due process for each case, but it is a very real and serious problem on these campuses and the possibility of the claim being true must be seriously considered as well, even when no “evidence” is present. Because the consequences of dismissing a true rape case is, in my opinion, much worse than the consequences of being falsely accused of rape.

      • What

        But with the stigma, isn’t 8% at most still way too much, or is that just going to he excused “for the greater good?”

        • CheckYourPrivelege

          Did I ever say that we should take all rape claims without question? Maybe read my whole response before making outrageous claims like that.

          I was sexually assaulted on these campuses and didn’t have any proof, and there are many people who think I made it up. It has meant tons of anxiety and therapy for me. And I know tons more people who have been sexually assaulted or raped who are afraid to come forward exactly because there are people like you who think that the risk of falsely accusing someone is much more of a crime than actually raping someone

        • What

          No, you didn’t, and I wasn’t meaning to imply that you did. Merely raising the question because you seemed to bypass that point in a dismissive way – there’s no denying that when you started the phrase “At most”.

        • What

          And really?? People like me?

          You’ve got a severe problem, and you need to look at yourself in a mirror.

          I’m sorry if I think that falsely accusing someone of rape and having them end up spending ten years in prison before being found innocent is as heinous as rape itself.

        • CheckYourPrivelege

          Yes, people like you. I’m sick of hearing people pipe up with “well some people lie about rape, therefore we should assume that of anyone coming forward with rape accusations”. It takes a lot of courage to even tell a close friend, let alone prosecute your attacker. And with the stresses of school, having to live around this person, false feelings of guilt and doubt, possible doctor’s appointments and tests related to the assault, and other psychological side effects, it often seems more trouble than it’s worth.

          Yes, lying about rape is a despicable thing and should be treated and punished with all seriousness. I’m not denying that. People who falsely accuse others of rape harm both the people they accuse and actual survivors by casting doubt on real experiences. But when school processes are a disservice to survivors it no longer serves the purpose it intends.

        • What

          If you use your reading comprehension skills I assume you should be born with, you will realize that you are stereotyping, and generalizing. People like me? Nowhere did I imply that “some people lie, therefore all women lie”. My point is that with the severe stigma and consequences, how does one balance that with justice? Or should they just be sacrificed for the greater good?

          Come back to these forums when you’re not generalizing. You see a phrase and jump to the line that I must instantly assume all accusers lie.

          I am merely equating this with the idea of rather having a guilty party go free than having one innocent suffer. How should that be balanced?

    • Alex

      Isn’t what you just posted railing about “how bad women are?”

  • Not over it

    I was sexually assaulted by a boyfriend, whom the majority of people still think of as a functioning member of society and not “sick” (although I know he is because of his actions). I’m 99% sure that if asked about this event, he would say he didn’t believe that what he did was assault. It’s moments like these that show that, while we would hope it would be obvious, not everyone has been educated enough.

    And it’s very clear from other posts in this article that there are quite a few people who deny that something that is blatantly sexual assault is actually a problem (comments about a girl “knowing better” than to have dressed/drunk a certain amount, etc.)

    • Rape Culture

      I’m so sorry! That’s terrible :( I hope you’re getting support.

      I think we as a society need to get over the view of rapists as “creepy guys in the alley” and realize that many of them, especially on a college campus setting, are our classmates, coworkers, friends, or even intimate partners. Amelia, your logic ignores this.

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