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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dear Fathers, Grandfathers, Sons, Husbands, & Brothers

Dear Fathers, Grandfathers, Sons, Husbands, and Brothers:

Women love you and need you.

Today is International Women’s Day—a day to show the world how much we all cherish women. How about we begin with all of us taking a good look in the mirror and making a commitment to change these facts? How about we, women and men, make a commitment to protect our daughters?

• 44% of rape victims are under 18 and 80% are under 30. No, we are definitely not protecting our daughters.
• 60% of sexual assaults are never reported—and, we all know why.
• 27% of college age women who were sexually assaulted did not know that their experience met the legal definition of rape.
• 84% of men report that they did not know if their behavior met the legal definition of rape.
• 90% of rapes of college age women involve alcohol (on part of victim or perpetrator).
• 33% of men admitted that if they could escape detection they would commit rape.
• 15 out of 16 rapists never spend a day in jail.
• 20% of sexual assaults are perpetrated against women over 30. Even the elderly get raped.

This is graphic, for those having a hard time envisioning some of this: Many, many college-age students drink until they are very intoxicated. Young men will then have sexual intercourse (or other sexual activity) with a young woman who is unable to give informed consent. Sometimes more than one man might have sex with a woman who is passed out. Sometimes this consists of a young man having sex with a woman who is simply too intoxicated to resist, to fight or run.

Our college-age girls think they are safe because they are with people they know in a place they know. There was no violence and no “stranger in a mask” – and she knows what happens to girls who report rape, so she does not report.

But, women are safer almost anywhere else than at home, a friend’s home, or near home:

• 50% of rapes occur within one mile of home.
• 40% occur at the woman’s home.
• 20% occur at the home of a friend, neighbor, or relative.
• 10% occur in parking garages.

With stats like these, we may as well encourage our young ladies to take short-cuts through dark allies instead of living alone, dating, going to parties, or visiting friends.

We certainly cannot give our daughters the advice to always “stick close to their friends.”

• 73% of perpetrators are not strangers to the victim.
• 38% are a friend or acquaintance.
• 28% of rapists are an intimate. Read that again.
• 7% are relatives. Read that again.

I cannot imagine any world in which a young man believes that it is acceptable to engage in sexual activities with a girl who is unable to “give consent.” But, then, I could not have imagined that fraternity boys at Yale would chant, “NO MEANS YES!” either. Do you know the rest of the chant? “YES MEANS ANAL!”

By the way, we still blame the victim. It is easy to imagine why young women don’t report rape. The Janesville Gazette ran a story a few years about a girl under the age of 18 who was sexually assaulted at a party. She was a minor! But in spite of this, they did not disable the comments section for days. People vilified this young girl and supported the sports star accused in the assault.

When I called and complained about leaving the comments section up, the editor supported their decision to allow comments for days about a sexual crime committed against a minor. They refused to do articles on “blaming the victim” or on the dangers of “date rape” even though I volunteered to find experts for them to interview and it would have been easy for them to do. The reason: It was not a relevant or timely subject!

Has anyone ever advised their sons, “Don’t drink too much, son, you might get raped!” “Don’t pass out, son, someone might stick a foreign object in your anus—or a penis might get put in your anus or mouth while you are unconscious.” "Girls might stick garbage in your anus or mouth!" “Or, you might just simply get beaten up.” Did you find this more disgusting than girls getting raped? I hope not!

For those who are already thinking, “What do women or girls who are dead drunk expect?” I have an answer. They expect to be safe. They expect to be safe at home, at the homes of friends, at school functions, with acquaintances, with boys they have classes with and think they know, with relatives, with intimates, with dates…"

Please don’t tell me there are any Neanderthals thinking, “What do sluts expect?” I have an answer. I always do. Sex is a natural and normal activity and something is simply wrong with men who engage in sexual activity that they then despise their partners for. Besides that, if a man who has had previous sexual partners is intoxicated, do other people have a right to remove his clothing and perform sexual acts on his unconscious body? Or, if I give you $10.00 today, do you have a right to steal my wallet tomorrow.

I am so very sad that I even have to offer these explanations. This should all go without saying… But, we do live in a world where the privileged, intelligent, talented young men at Yale chanted, “NO MEANS YES AND YES MEANS ANAL.”

What do I expect? I expect that a girl or woman (of any age) whether she has had previous consensual sex with 20, or 50, or 1, or 0 partners can lie passed out stark naked on Main Street at bar time and be safe. I expect that any and every man would cover her with his jacket and call 911.

That is how I want sons, husbands, fathers, grandfathers, and brothers to behave. That’s what I expect.

Every man who has non-consensual sex (that is known as RAPE!) with anyone else is someone’s son. Many will be husbands, fathers, grandfathers, and brothers.

Men, it is time for you to take a stand. Take a stand for your daughters, wives, mothers, grandmothers, sisters. Rape is a crime of violence and not of lust. Any form of non-consensual sexual intercourse is rape. Any form of non-consensual sexual activity is molestation.

Step up, gentlemen! After all, I love you. I really, really do. And, the Daughters of the World need you. They really, really do.

Your friend,


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