The ringleader reported that he couldn’t get an erection but handed out condoms and instructed and egged on his two friends. Two more football players await trial.
And their fellow students “distanced themselves,” apparently fearful that a blight on the university’s reputation will damage their future job prospects—or something.
These rapes have happened and continue to happen so frequently—100 “elite” universities and colleges are under federal investigation—that we must ask ourselves whether we are part of a rape culture. These young rapists are often the heroes of their campuses, singled out for attention, scholarships and the admiration of women. They apparently feel they are entitled to rape the women they encounter; neither defendant in the Vanderbilt case has, as far as I know, expressed any remorse.
Is it true that our culture, in general, supports this form of entitlement, as it supports or at least allows the depredations of the entitled, whether they are the super-rich, the socially connected, the politically powerful—or simply possessors of the marks of male virility: height, handsomeness, self-assurance, athletic ability?
It is not by accident that I am making a connection with a book of photographs called “Invisible Eves”.
The women who are caught up in our corrupt penal system are likely as victimized as the woman unconscious in the hall of a Vanderbilt frat house, where the men deposited her after they were finished with her.
Minor players in our drug wars, “mules” for the transportation of drugs across the border, arrested second and third times for parole violations, turning to prostitution, once they are released with their rights stripped away, these women are invisible to all of us, lumped as “criminals,” perhaps blackened by Rudyard Kipling’s axiom that “the female of the species is more deadly than the male.”
Do we care?
Do we care about the nameless rape victim on the floor in the frat house?
How many of us secretly wonder if “she brought it on herself,” allowing the ringleader to feed her liquor till she passed out, and probably to flatter her with his attentions in the process? How many of us even wonder, secretly, if she wore a revealing dress, or had a “bad reputation”?
And don’t we wonder the same things about the Invisible Eves, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, falling prey to the manipulations of pimps and drug dealers, wearing skirts too short or heels to high?
I believe we do live in a culture where rape is an accepted fact, especially when it is practiced in “elite” universities by “elite” sports heroes.The only suggestion for remediation, so far, to come out of this noxious brew is that the sororities should begin to give parties, presumably with less liquor and more chaperonage and fewer women passed out on the floor.
And who would go to those parties?
The thrill of possible violence is what keeps the frat parties humming along, and no official decree—short of shutting down the accursed houses—is going to end the raping.
Yes, the universities are putting together websites, issuing warnings to the young women students, explaining to them where to go if they are assaulted. But the football games go on—today is Superbowl Sunday—even though there are statistics proving that more domestic violence (and it is wife violence, not spousal violence) occurs during those hours of television then at any other time of the year.
So shut down professional and amateur football.
What an insane notion! College finances would plummet. Mothers who might have objected to the high incidence of concussion this sport causes are being coached by the teams themselves to understand all about how it happens—and to accept it.
So rape is in our system. It is in our blood. It may be the core definition of entitlement.