When 14 year-old Daisy Coleman attended a party with 17-year-old athletes in October, she did not expect to awake on her doorstep the next morning in freezing cold weather with bruises all over her body and the clear marks of rape.
Would you think the perpetrator would be immediately arrested? Not this time, when the perpetrator was also a star football player and grandson of the Missouri state representative Matthew Barnett. Coleman was forced out of the community for making such a claim against royalty; he emerged unscathed.
Gentlemen, it's sad I have to address this, but under no circumstances is it acceptable to have sex with an incoherent drunk girl. If you are so adamant about having sex with a lifeless corpse, then you're in luck, because UT happens to be home to the legendary body farm.
In The Eagle, American University's college newspaper, columnist Alex Knepper stirred a national uproar when he wrote: "Let's get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI [fraternity] party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy's room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK?"
Not quite – it has become too easy to point your fingers at women – as Knepper and others have – and say, "Stop going to parties, binge drinking and wearing revealing clothing." It is true women should be more aware of how much "jungle juice" we are drinking.
Perhaps we like to think we can drink as much as the guys. Why shouldn't we? We've been climbing the social justice ladder for centuries. But this is not the main reason women get raped. In a New York Times article by Mychal Denzel Smith, the focus of the conversation shifts: "Drinking does not cause rape," he wrote, "and once you begin focusing on the actions and behavior of the victimized, you ignore the role of perpetrator."
Alright, I acknowledge that chivalry is dead. Women are no longer the damsels in distress waiting in the bell tower for the prince to slay a dragon and rescue them. We don't need to be rescued; we are fully capable of taking care of ourselves. We no longer live in a patriarchal society where women are subordinate to men in social and political relations. However, can there not be some glimmer of hope that these men could at least behave like gentlemen?
The majority of UT guys are not rapists, but a minority of them are enablers. Choosing not to take action when you see an unresponsive woman walking off with a man with obvious intentions is not "cool." Sometimes the situation is out of your control, but if there's something you can do to prevent this situation and you choose not to, then you are just as guilty.
College is a time to grow up and enjoy your newly-found freedom. With this freedom you are given the ability to recognize limits and live by them.
I believe in order to put a stop to date rape, both men and women need to reevaluate their limits. Most victims know their assailant, and drunken people are not accidentally stumbling into rape situations; alcohol is a rapist's favorite, and oftentimes only, weapon. Setting drinking limits could resolve some of the dangers women are challenged with. But the real blame lies with the rapists who seize this moment of weakness for a pathetic opportunity to get what they want.
In order to put an end to this epidemic, women need to set drinking limits and men need to know that the meaning of "no" is inherent in a slurred "yes."
Kaila Curry is a freshman in English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.