“Rather than criticizing the party scene or men’s behavior, students blame victims…” (Sex Matters 48). Students are blaming victims, victims are blaming themselves. What causes rape? Most would say “drinking too much”, “dressing too provocatively”, etc. But what most would not say is “the rapist.” The rapist is to blame, not alcohol, not what you’re wearing, not where you are or who you are. “At least half and perhaps as many as three quarters of the sexual assaults that occur on college campuses involve alcohol consumption on the part of the victim, perpetrator, or both” (Sex Matters 47). The correlation is too dramatic for their not to be something done about drinking and rape… but what can be done? College students drink and will always drink. Inebriated college students make bad decisions. Usually the friends that would halt bad decisions from being made are also drunk altering their judgement as well.
Most parents would hope that they’ve raised their boys to be gentlemen and treat a lady right – that they wouldn’t make bad decisions like getting a girl too drunk and sleeping with her. However, college is the perfect breeding ground to turn gentlemen in to slobs. I’ve seen it more than once. There’s always that one guy pushing shot after shot in to your hand; if you don’t take the shot, you get nasty looks and bad comments. 1 shot, 2 shots, 3 shots, 6 shots later, the guy is fine, but the girl never really is. It’s the perfect time for the guy to take advantage of the girl – she’s in no state to make good decisions in a sexual context. The next morning, the girl feels used, dirty, and terrible but always thinks it her fault for getting too drunk. If she were to ever say that she was sexually assaulted, most of her friends would just say she got too drunk. Most would never let her admit that she was raped. That’s the rape culture that needs to be changed. “The most common way that student – both men and women- account for the harm that befalls women in the party scene is by blaming victims. By attributing bad experiences to women’s ‘mistakes’, students avoid criticizing the party scene or men’s behavior within it. Such victim-blaming also allows women to feel that they control what happens to them…” (Sex Matters 487).
Emory’s party scene allows rape culture to continue. The beginning of the night starts with a pre game by consuming a minimum of 3 drinks. Then, it continues at the frat houses where guy hands girl drink after drink, whether it be a shot, or a solo cup of sketchy punch from a cooler. When everyone is way too drunk for their own good, the party is moved to a bar where the consumption only continues. By the end of the night, most everyone’s goal or (newly-realized inebriated goal) is to find a hookup. Many girls are dangerously close to blacking out but the men are still on the prowl. This proves to usually result in risky sexual behavior.
What’s to be done about party rape? I think the most important factor in preventing this is to be informed. Know that it happens, and know that it doesn’t have to happen. Be aware that if you’re too drunk, you don’t have to tolerate risky sexual interactions. Inform your friends that they never have to blame themselves when they’re involved in party rape. Know that it was never the victim’s fault.
Sex Matters: The Sexuality and Society Reader. Ed. by Mindy Stombler, Dawn Baunach, Elisabeth Burgess, Denise Donnelly, Wendy Simonds, Elroi Windsor. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2010. 481-495
This seems like a vicious cycle that really has no way of being stopped. You say that one way to stop this is by informing females of the potential “consequences” of what can happen when they are too drunk, but there are few who are naive enough to not know this already. I really do not see any viable solution to stopping this problem Informing your friends “not to blame themselves” when they are involved in party rape does not really solve the problem…
Merstar (and the block): Call me idealistic, but I want to believe that party rape culture can be stopped or at least changed. I don’t have THE ANSWER but I have a few suggestions.
1. Remember this is about incremental change, which means, stuff isn’t going to all happen at once. It is highly unlikely that tomorrow we will wake up and rape culture will have vanished. This is irritating, I know. I get REAL impatient with social movements sometimes, but if you stick it out, you will see the change.
2. Optimus Prime ended his blog post with the metaphor of an ax chopping down a tree. He explained that it takes MANY swings of that ax to actually cut the tree down. I take that to mean that we must stick in this fight AND recognize that we must approach it via multi-modes. What I mean by this is we must continue:
education about sexual health and sexual assault (in the classrooms, in campus life, in greek life, in sports teams, in student government, in religious groups, etc.)
education about how alcohol consumption can impair one’s ability to make decisions and give consent
continue to develop programs about men stopping rape. I think this is key. If men are committing the majority of sexual assaults, then we need to work to change the culture that socializes them to not expect consent.
What would you all add here?