Em-URGE-ing Voices

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Drinking, My Campus, and Sexual Assault: Or Why (Some) Men Don’t Care

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November 11, 2013

A little over a week ago, an article by Al Jazeera featuring students from the University of Kansas—my campus—caused an uproar with my fellow student body members. Mostly because it features some dude-bros admitting that they actively eschew the notion of consent and use alcohol as an excuse to cover up assault. I could rehash the article, or link to the video that originally was featured with the article (and is now, apparently, gone from the website. Somebody has a wealthy lawyer in the family). But, I think I might just take the words right out of the bros’ mouths. A couple choice quotes:

“There’s nights where we go out and we wake up and we are with a girl and we don’t remember anything from the night before, like, ask ourselves, ‘Whoa, did I have sex with her, or no?’”

“We’re all going to end up blacking the fuck out and enjoying each other.”

“Shit does happen. Girls wake up and they start making a lot of accusations, that happens all the time.” 

Oh, and my personal favorite.

“So, like, if she’d come up to me and been like I don’t know who the fuck you are I didn’t have consensual sex with you, I honestly don’t know what I’d do. I mean, it’s terrifying.”

It’s terrifying to you? Oh, good. I’m so glad you’re terrified that you might rape someone. I’m glad that you’re afraid you might get in trouble. I’m glad that you use the word “consensual” while ignoring its definition. I’m glad that you obviously have enough of a notion of what consent is or is not to know your actions are dubious enough to consider rape as a possible outcome. I’m glad you obviously prioritize your hope to “enjoy” another person over taking the pre-emptive steps to ensure that your partner is capable of actually enjoying you, rather than your enjoyment being predicated on the risk of raping her. I’m glad your fear is from the repercussions and possible policing of your unlimited sexual pleasure, and not from the fact that you might (and probably have already) committed a terrible act of violence upon someone else.

It’s terrifying to you? Honey, it’s terrifying to me to share a campus with the likes of men who think as you do.

There’s been a lot of talk concerning college campuses, alcohol, and rape lately. There’s been a lot of talk about consent, the lack of education on consent, and so forth. There has been a lot of outcry of slutty college women needing to drink less and not get raped (thanks Emily Yoffe) and for us needing to teach men to not rape. But you want to know what I want to talk about?

When men know what consent is enough to fear they frequently transgress it—and don’t do jackshit. Men Who Don’t Care.

I want to talk about the men who know better, men like the men from my school featured in the article above, who know they might be hurting women but don’t care. I want to talk about why men don’t care. Why they go into situations knowingly and actively behaving problematically. I want to know why they think that their orgasm is more important than my dignity, or any other’s person. Why, this isn’t about alcohol—it’s about the inherent lack of respect society inculcates in men to make them so completely un-empathetic to women that the question of consent arise and falls in the same second for them, too unimportant in their worldview to think of until the morning after, until they’ve gotten what they wanted.

I want to talk about why it’s so hard for a dude to only have sex with someone who is fully capable of having sex with them. I want to ask them: “Why don’t you care?”

I want to ask these questions, but I know the answer already (and I wish everybody would stop acting as if they don’t know the answer too). It’s not a mystery. It’s, unfortunately, not a surprise. It’s good old fashioned misogyny, plain and simple. Yes, alcohol can be used as the tool of a rapist, and yes, rape happens sometimes when alcohol is involved but alcohol and rape is not a point a to point b construction. Rape is defined by a lack of consent—with not wanting, or being able to say yes, but sex being had with you anyway. Rape is defined by someone not caring whether about or not they have your consent lock-down, actively or passively. Rape is about not caring. And the reason why a dude probably doesn’t care about women enough to actively make sure they don’t assault them? Misogyny. Plain and simple.

The sooner we start confronting that as the source of the vast majority of rape (including those involving young men and women, on college campuses, who’ve been drinking), the sooner we can stop asking the question “Why don’t you care?”


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