My man-crush newspaper columnist Neil Steinberg addresses that stickiest of topics today: rape. I jumped into the same morass the day before yesterday on the Pencil.
Both columns in q. deal with rape on campus. Kids, you couldn’t get into a stickier mess than that of campus rape. Tons of frat boys and their running partners seem to believe all women want them in the worst way possible, and they only say no initially in some kind of perverse charade of chastity. No, to too many young males, means yes — after some strong persuasion that may or may not include physical intimidation.
Surely They’ll Be Caring, Sensitive Lovers
Some college females, it’s been argued, seem to be defining rape as something they feel uncomfortable about only in retrospect. For my part, I asked some pointed questions in these precincts. For instance, why would a college-aged woman sleep in the same bed as her accused rapist and even make him breakfast the morning after the alleged act occurred?
Recently, many colleges have re-written their policies concerning rape accusations. One or two are even recommending negotiations in flagrant delicti along the lines of “May I now touch this?” which, I imagine, might throw a splash of cold water on the proceedings.
Sadly, way, way, way too many of our male college students haven’t the foggiest idea how to read the non-verbal signals a young woman is issuing. Those boys, of course, can’t see the forest for their wood.
Anyway, Steinberg says the efforts by colleges and universities to control the problem misses the point. He refers to a big front page article in today’s New York Times about how Hobart and William Smith Colleges mishandled one student’s accusation that members of the Hobart football team gang-raped her. [Males attend Hobart and females go to W. Smith, even though the two are considered part of one institution.]
The accusing student was harassed after the football players were exonerated in an apparent whitewash. Other students were enraged that she’d accuse the football guys of such a heinous crime even as they were on their way to an undefeated season. Winning, you know, excuses many crimes and misdemeanors.
Steinberg says rape victims are fools for turning to colleges for satisfaction. He writes:
[C]olleges have a hard enough time fielding competent professors. They are not in the crime-detection business, and while their bobbling such an investigation is not acceptable, it’s not surprising either.
The message from this story, a message that I believe is not driven home enough, and should be, is that if someone rapes you — a football player, a priest, a friend, anybody — you should always call the cops. Immediately. The cops might mishandle it, God knows they do that. But they’re the ones with experience in investigating crime, the ones in the best position to have a chance to get it right. Calling the police, I believe, is an important step in a crime being taken seriously.
Both Steinberg and I admit that we’re men, so what do we know? Again, I call for comment from loyal female Pencillistas.