Five weeks ago I wrote about how a member of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity posted an indefensibly misogynistic rant entreating his fraternity brothers to lure Sigma Kappa sorority sisters to a party.
“We just facebook stalked a large amount of them and my dick is currently harder than [insert additional douchebaggery],” he said.
“While I know that a large amount of the sophomore Sigma Kappas are weird and/or ugly, it is imperative that we get them out there this weekend so that they bring their hot heart sisters,” he said.
“We can’t afford to let all this hot young box end up loving Persian or Lambda Chai Tea weiner,” he said.
And I knew that the penalty for being caught publically speaking about women the way these guys think and talk about them in private would likely be a slap on the wrist. No one—including those of us who were furious that we’re forced to share the world’s limited supply of oxygen and resources with such Neanderthals—was at all surprised to hear an upstanding young Mustang objectify and humiliate his sisters in the Greek system. Because the truth of the matter is, it’s what we all expect, even those of us who complain about misogyny and general lack of cultural awareness that continues to rear its ugly head within the university’s Greek system.
Maybe if someone at the university had taken this incident seriously, that would have been the last we heard about Pi Kappa Alpha. Maybe if the rest of us stopped treating misogyny like an unpleasant but expected behavior. Maybe if people stopped dismissing bad behavior with the phrase “boys will be boys.” But we all shrugged our shoulders, gave the perfunctory “it sucks but what am I supposed to do besides verbally acknowledge that I’m aware of it,” and Pi Kappa Alpha kept right on partying despite the fact that all the signs indicated serious trouble ahead.
And now we’re all talking about Pi Kappa Alpha once more, only this time it’s because a woman says she was raped at a Halloween party held by the fraternity.
She believes she was unknowingly given drugs.
She passed out and woke up to find a man having sex with her, she said.
The University Police Department responded by releasing “general tips” reminding women to “Walk confidently and with a steady pace,” “Use the buddy system,” and “Always let someone know where you are and where you may be going.” Basically, remember not to get raped, ladies! It’s a dangerous world out there, and you and I both know that if the worst happens and you are, in fact, raped, you’re going to face more scrutiny than your attacker. We’re going to want to know why you didn’t use the buddy system, why you weren’t walking confidently, why you accepted a drink from a stranger, why you drank alcohol in public, why you didn’t wear a burqa to ensure that you didn’t unknowingly inspire lascivious thoughts in the men you encountered. Because really, ladies, boys will be boys and you have no one to blame but yourselves if you didn’t exercise the necessary precautions.
You can tell these tips were written by someone who has no idea that most women already go through life encumbered by thoughts like, “Where are my keys? They need to be ready so I don’t take any unnecessary time getting into my car.” “I hear someone walking behind me; should I cross the street right now even though there’s no crosswalk, and what do I do if they follow me across the street?” “Do I have room in my purse for this pepper spray? And what happens if the pepper spray accidentally goes off when it’s not supposed to? What happens if it doesn’t go off when I need it to?”
You could fill a book with the “don’t get raped” tips and advice that fill a woman’s head. You could film a horror movie with the images that go through her mind when she walks through a dark parking lot alone at night.
But rape doesn’t happen because a woman was walking alone at night. Rape doesn’t happen because a woman failed to use the buddy system, or because she accepted a drink from a stranger. Rape doesn’t happen because women drink alcohol. And no, rape doesn’t happen exclusively to women. But statistically, the victims of this type of violence are overwhelmingly women. Women are targeted and lured to frat parties like prizes to be dispensed among drunken kings who send out party invites based on how hard their dick is. And the only reasonable reaction is horror and disgust, but never surprise. What did we really expect from the fraternity that gave us “hot young box?” What did we expect from the society that gives us endless “how not to get raped” tips but somehow forgets to teach young men that women aren’t objects, aren’t possessions, aren’t prizes, aren’t passive beings to be acted upon?
We can be angry. But we can’t be surprised. And we can’t pretend we aren’t all responsible in some small way.
Shredder thinks it’s insane that these points need to be made. Send whatever you’ve got to firstname.lastname@example.org.