Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Commentary: The root cause of rape

One of the things that my blog is going to do is give me space to air my opinions. After all, I am an opinionated persons, and blogs seem a great place to unload.

I was really bothered by a couple of articles ("Half cocked and fully tanked" and "Women should have more self-respect") written in the opinion section of The Vanderbilt Hustler by my fellow student, Mike Matthews II.

Bascially, his argument is that women should be careful how they dress and what they drink so that they don't end up raped and pillaged by the hordes of horny Vandyboys they may encounter on Frat Row or the scores of scary Nashvillians grinding the night away at places like Graham Central Station and Club NV (which, by the way, is one of the most ridiculous names for a club I've ever heard, but I digress).

I think Mike's heart is in the right place: he thinks rape is bad, and date rape is particularly wrong. But I think Mike focuses the cause of the incidents in the wrong place.

It's not the woman's fault that she is raped. Period.

Now before you accuse me of being a loopy lefty, hear me out: according to Mike's logic, if men are exposed to sexual stimuli they are expected to automatically attempt rape or date rape. Show a guy a scantily clad lady, and all he can do is throw her down and go.

What kind of world is that?! Where is self-control? If I naked girl were to walk by, is every man supposed to whip it out and go to work?

I think that kind of logic is flawed, and it underscores a cultural assumption that gives men permission to be aggressive sexually.

A woman has the right to dress as she chooses, and she should not have to worry about being raped simply for looking nice. After all, what if the reverse were true for men? Take the following for example: if Mike's logic were true for men, if I wore clothes that made me look attractive—we'll say, for the sake of argument, that it's possible to make me look attractive—I would have to worry about any girl throwing me down and raping me on the spot!

The root cause of the problem of rape is that we, men, think with the wrong head. If a woman has to worry about what she wears, then the men of our society need to develop self-control.

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