Frat-Boy Rapists Are Okay?
Why do we blame victims of brutal violence and shield — or even reward — their attackers?
Maybe you’ve heard about 18-year-old Jackie who met “Drew” when they worked as lifeguards at a University of Virginia swimming pool. Drew invited Jackie to dinner and a “date function” at his upper tier fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi.
Jackie was excited, and spent hours getting ready for the date. At the frat party she sipped some spiked punch and discreetly poured the rest onto the sticky floor. And then Drew suggested they go upstairs, “Where it’s quieter.”
Jackie’s nightmare. Trigger Warning: May be triggering for rape victims
When they reached the top of the stairs Drew ushered Jackie into a dark room, where someone bumped into her. Jackie screamed, and a man ordered, “Shut up.” Rolling Stone (who first reported this story) described what happened next:
A body barreled into her, tripping her backward and sending them both crashing through a low glass table. There was a heavy person on top of her, spreading open her thighs, and another person kneeling on her hair, hands pinning down her arms, sharp shards digging into her back, and excited male voices rising all around her. When yet another hand clamped over her mouth, Jackie bit it, and the hand became a fist that punched her in the face… ‘Grab its motherfucking leg,’ she heard a voice say.
Throughout the horror, Jackie heard her date and another guy instructing seven men to rape her.
Rolling Stone continues:
As the last man sank onto her, Jackie was startled to recognize him: He attended her tiny anthropology discussion group. He looked like he was going to cry or puke as he told the crowd he couldn’t get it up. “Pussy!” the other men jeered. “What, she’s not hot enough for you?” Then they egged him on: “Don’t you want to be a brother?” “We all had to do it, so you do, too.” Someone handed her classmate a beer bottle. Jackie stared at the young man, silently begging him not to go through with it. And as he shoved the bottle into her, Jackie fell into a stupor, mentally untethering from the brutal tableau, her mind leaving behind the bleeding body under assault on the floor.
The victim risks a bad reputation — the perps are good ol’ boys
Jackie awoke, all alone, at 3 AM. Partiers still reveled as she snuck away from the house, bruised and bloodied. No one seemed to notice.
Jackie called friends for help. They were upset — at first. But could they join fraternities, or be invited to their parties, if they took her to a hospital?
And her reputation would be shot if anyone found out.
Months later, Jackie told her story, anyway. But a UVA dean discouraged her. So did some of her closest friends, warning:
Remember where your loyalty lies.
Besides murder, women fear rape more than anything else.
Jackie has recurring nightmares of walking up those stairs while hearing a voice warning her to turn back. But she can’t. She has thought about suicide. When she looks in the mirror now she sees only an empty shell.
- Yet her reputation would be shot?
- The rapists are great guys who win admittance to prestigious organizations by brutally attacking young women?
- A victim’s loyalty should lie with a school that supports her rape?
- And “friends” think that joining fraternities and going to their parties trumps this wickedness?
That’s rape culture.
That’s a world that sees things from the perspective of the powerful: the big man on campus… the university reputation.
That’s a world that blinds itself to the perspective of the powerless: a young college student who had awoken one morning feeling excited about a date.
Losing humanity to gain superiority
Why would young men behave like that?
They’re not sexually turned on.
- One guy looked like he would puke, or cry. He couldn’t get it up.
- Some complained that they “had to do it,” so he did, too.
- Another asked, ”Don’t you want to be a brother?”
It’s not about sex.
Rape and harassment often increase as women’s power and status rise. Some guys resent the chipping away of male privilege — and conspire to put “her” back in “her place.”
Jackie is reduced to an “It”: “Grab its motherfucking leg.”
Men are superior to an “it.” They’re superior to a “thing” they disempower, dominate and humiliate.
That’s where these degradation rituals are rooted.
Some sadists enthusiastically embrace them. Other guys just feel pressured to conform.
What we need are more good men who will take a stand against a vicious crowd.
Real men, who know you don’t gain self-respect by losing your humanity.
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Posted on December 5, 2014, in feminism, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women and tagged feminism, psychology, rape, rape culture, sexism, sexual assault, University of Virginia, UVA, women. Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.