The very first paragraph of Sexual Assault on Campus; A multilevel Integrative Approach to Party Rape states the saddest fact I have ever learned in college. “between one-fifth and one-quarter of women are victims of completed or attempted rape while in college.”(Armstrong480). As a man who absolutely loves women, and always insists on protecting, taking care of, and respecting them, this statistic haunts me. Why are our women living within a system that lets this happen?
The first fact I noticed to help me answer this question was one that I wrote about last week, alcohol and its correlation with sexual violence. Half way through the first paragraph Armstrong states, “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.” All through out life I never considered “party rape” to be rape. To me, rape was when a man or a woman, uses any type of force to have sexual relations with any individual against their will. I never considered being drunk the same as being forced against your will. But it is possible to be drunk enough to not be in control. Therefore, alcohol can be used to subdue a victim, just like physical force, a knife, or a gun. I always considered taking advantage of a girl who is too drunk to say no the lowest of all male actions. It is well known that alcohol takes away inhibitions, and sometimes leaves a girl defenseless. To my friends and I, man law states that if she is too drunk to know better than it is unacceptable, but as we all know, not all men live by such a chivalrous code. As the man if you are the drunkest person, you must be careful not to over step your bounds. Saying the wrong thing can have you walking home alone, and doing the wrong thing can have you in jail. If you’re both extremely drunk, then be extra careful. That’s the gray area, and suddenly two parties can both make mistakes. Regardless of who is how drunk, no means no, and real men should take a loss like a gentleman.
I have family and I would never want any of my younger female siblings to go through college having to worry about getting drunk and being taken advantage of. Armstrong repeatedly states that alcohol and environments with alcohol are key in setting up a situation where party rape can occur. It is listed that fraternity houses and bars are sexually threatening environments (Armstrong 481). This is a fact I agree with. Many times in most of theses places men will be looking to get girls into bed, and women will be looking to get attention from the men who are trying to take them home (Armstrong 483). Girls can even “earn scorn” form a male by wearing a “failed outfit” (Armstrong 483). . To me too much emphasis is put on sex, instead it should be put on partying without sexual implications. Often times college students feel as though they are supposed to go out and party (Armstrong,482,). Both boys and girls seek acceptance into their own groups and the cost of this acceptance can often be steep.
The second paragraph of page 483 states, “partying was also the primary way to meet men on campus…..people “don’t talk” in class. This could not describe Emory more. Class is long and stressful, when the weekend comes around all one wants to do is party and blow off some steam. Men try to get drunk and hook up, and girls do too. But some times men are willing to do too much to get too far.
Personally, I think party rape comes from two things. First, from the culture of “group acceptance” (Armstrong482). Men try to have sex to “fit in with their friends” and girls dress nice, get drunk, and go out to meet cute boys and girls :). Because these young girls think they need to dress to get attention, and get drunk to meet guys they are constantly in a dangerous position. Secondly, far too many men do not know when to stop, and do not have the fortitude to hold themselves to a higher standard of living. Far too many men would rather brag about taking advantage of a girl, than to enjoy the satisfaction of being a real man. A real man does not need alcohol; all he needs is a conversation.
Changing the culture of alcohol consumption will not stop sexual violence. But it will help decrease the rate of sexual assaults. There is not one way to stop sexual violence. To chop down a tree, the ax must be swung many times. By addressing alcohol abuse in our college culture, we can all take a huge swing against a society of rampant college sexual assaults.