We are all reeling from the new stories and the letters detailing the rape of a young woman at Stanford (actually visiting her younger sister there) who passed out behind a dumpster and was attacked while she was unconscious. The man, a swimming star, was supported by his father, who asked leniency for “twenty minutes of action.”
The horror of this story was equaled by the revelation of the number of sexual assaults on two prestigious colleges, which young women strive to attend and which result in huge tuition bills for them and their parents.
The entire university system is riddled with abuse, for which the administrations take little or no responsibility, and indeed it will be impossible to stem the abuse given current attitudes, the widespread use of drugs and alcohol on campuses, and the hideous influence of the fraternities where so many of these assaults take place.
A parallel story cites astounding statistics about the use of threats by males students trying to force women to comply with their demands for oral or anal sex. The nature of these acts means the perpetrators don’t need to worry about birth control or even consider the sexual satisfaction of women who are giving in far too frequently—almost surely in the hope of the love and acceptance which will never be forthcoming.
And too many adult men in this culture, like the swimmer’s father, cajole their sons into believing that raping a woman is only “twenty minutes of action.” This attitude draws from an attitude so scabrous, long-lived and primordial that it could easily come from the mouth of the man we will soon see running for president. And he is supported by a number of women, including his wife, ex-wife, and daughters.
But, in the case of these campus rapes—where are the mothers?
It seems we never hear from them in outraged defense of their abused daughters. Again, the lesson seems clear: women of all ages sacrifice their core values in the hope of being loved—or at least accepted.
And it never works.
But there is another side to the coin.
We have spent several decades trying to undo the pernicious syndrome that blamed the victim for these attacks. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time, wore provocative clothes, passed out where men could take advantage of her.
Even in back of a dumpster.
Our attempts falter when common sense is thrown to the wind.
Any girl or woman who passes out in the vicinity of men—and of course that means everywhere—lacks common sense, self-esteem or even a secure sense of who she is.
I have written before of my dismay at the way young women dress. This is not prudery. There are beautiful, revealing dresses that women have always enjoyed wearing, and that have even elicited compliments. But girls who wear short shorts, halters without bras, and skirts that show their underpants are exhibiting the same debilitating lack of judgment and crippled self-esteem that has caused us all to suffer in ways that make even these hideous rapes seem minor—they have caused us to be murdered, literally as well as psychologically.
I have been told by a young girl I know that her exhibition of her body is a proof of her sexual power. This is a familiar argument, drawing on a distorted sense of what we feminists mean by sexual power. Always, we have defined it as depending on our ability to choose our partners, the time and place of our sexual encounters, and the crucial importance of our own orgasms.
Not on the pitiful exhibitionism that leads to destruction.
[For more on this topic, please see my post Vanderbilt and the Invisible Eve]