Over the break my mom sent me an article from “Rolling Stone” about the University of Virginia that was posted on November 19. Its contents made and continue to make me sick and question society. It was about the rape culture that goes on at the campus and the continued cover up by the school. Their reason? No one wants to send their daughter to the rape school.
Because that’s what we’ve come to. We’d rather cover it up, not report the assault to the police, “handle” it internally, and go on our merry way. Just so the fine people of America will keep sending their virgin daughters to be at the mercy of the fine frat boys of Charlottesville. Because it would make too much sense to actually DO SOMETHING about what’s going on at this school (and it’s not just UVA).
Because it’s better to pretend nothing happened and not get sued because the person hurt is an emotionally traumatized girl who is usually under 20 and is too ashamed to even tell her own parents because she had convinced herself that she did something wrong.
No, it’s better to give in to the parents of the attacker (who deserves no better title) and make sure no one finds out about it so the administrators can continue to receive their precious paycheck.
The one question that keeps going through my head is: don’t these exalted deans and counselors and other at fault humans (sick and ignorant and twisted humans but humans) have daughters? Nieces? Sisters?
They at least have mothers. Were they molested or emotionally scarred by their mothers so they now hate women? What happened to these men and women (yes, women are actually condoning this, they especially are a disappointment to us all) that make them think that these boys are somehow exempt from the consequences that come from forcing someone to have sex?
Which brings us to the article, an article, in my opinion, is very well written and well researched. It focuses on a woman named Jackie, who was gang-raped by Phi Kappa Psi frat boys when she was 18 and only four weeks into her first semester at UVA.
She was raped by a total of seven men, while two other men, including her date, cheered the others on. She woke up, alone, at three a.m. One of the men, who she had recognized from one of her classes, used a beer bottle to penetrate her when he was unable to “get it up.” She remembered him having to be persuaded (not that this excuses him from what he did eventually do) to do this horrible act by the men, boys — I cannot call them men any longer — who reminded him that he could not join their frat if he did not participate.
Let that sink in. He did it to get into a frat. A frat. Jackie’s sense of security and emotional stability was ruined in part by a boy who wanted entrance into a frat. When she left the party (no one seemed to notice the disheveled bleeding girl leaving) she called her friends, one girl and two boys, to come get her. She explained what had happened and they then debated what they should do. To the hospital or not? They ultimately decided that
no, they would not. The boys’ decided they did not want this incident to hurt their reputation, and
diminish their chances of entering their own frats. Again, boys who made horrible decisions so
they could get into a frat.
What’s even worse is that if Jackie had been bleeding from falling on glass after being pushed down in the crowd or something had fallen on her, they probably would’ve taken her to the hospital. It wouldn’t have been a big deal. But it was because she had been raped. That would have ruined their reputations.
Keep in mind the beer bottle. As horrible as this was it also gave Jackie something very important: evidence. If she had gone to the hospital after the assault and gotten a rape kit and gone to the police, they would have been able to confirm that, at the very least, some kind of assault had taken place.
Would the boys have been punished as they deserved? It’s hard to say. Their parents might have brought out high powered lawyers and lowered the charges but something would have happened. You know what did actually happen? Nothing.
This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened at UVA and I doubt it will be the last. It should be, but it won’t. Why? It would be easy to blame the frats, the booze, and everyone loves blaming the victims, but the entire culture is at fault. As long as there are teenagers who make these kinds of decisions (like Jackie’s friends and beer bottle boy) due to their need to protect their reputations, these kinds of things will continue.
You take away the frats, and this still happens. The parties just move and the assaults still happen. You take away their alcohol, it still happens. Teenagers, especially college students, have shown they are all too able to find alcohol if they want it enough.
It’s not enough to say “boys will be boys” and that “she was asking for it” or that “she shouldn’t have dressed that way/acted like that/drank.” It makes no difference.
For example, in the article Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the writer of the piece, mentioned Jackie’s dress. It could be considered just imagery to put the reader at the scene but it could be considered more. When talking about Jackie getting ready for the fateful party Erdely writes, “She’d [Jackie] congratulated herself on her choice of a tasteful red dress with a high neckline.”
Why is this important? Why should it matter that some girl chose a “tasteful” dress? Isn’t this about her rape, or, as UVA students call it, her “bad experience”? Let me tell you, it matters.
What it’s saying is, Jackie wasn’t wearing booty shorts and a crop top with her boobs hanging out. She was wearing a dress. And, if the word tasteful is any clue, it was a dress she would be able to wear in front of her parents. It shows that Jackie wasn’t wearing provocative clothing, which is the slut-shamers most often cited argument when they say a girl was “asking for it.”
You may think that I have just gone on some man-hating rant and that you have no reason to listen to a teenage girl but let me tell you something. If you have a daughter in high school, she is only a few years away from applying to college. In college, there is a one in five chance she will be sexually assaulted. That is 20 percent. If I was a parent, that would make me very scared.
But oh well, why listen to me. What I do know is that there is no way in hell that I’m going to UVA.