Tulane Football Players Stand Against Violence Towards Women

My first week at Tulane University, every single freshman was required to attend a lecture called “Drunk Sex or Date Rape.” While it was a valiant effort to educate students about the dangers of date rape, everyone left even more unclear on the issues than when the lecture started. We weren’t the only school to hear this talk– Brett Sokolow gave the same convoluted message at schools like Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth (oddly enough, he was hired by the majority of the 68 schools that are now being investigated for violating the federal gender equity law Title IX). Schools that teach you about the subtle differences between date rape and drunk sex (i.e. the ones under investigation), are the schools that should be teaching students about the importance of consent. The dialogue needs to change, and it needs to involve everyone, not just young women.
This lecture wasn’t enough, and it wasn’t the way to usher 18 year old students into a city that encourages blackout drinking and constant partying. I love New Orleans, but when you’re living in a city where there’s barely a drinking age, it’s easy to see how a fun night at The Boot can turn into a hookup, that can turn into a situation that you regret immediately. It’s terrifying, but the hook up culture has somehow evolved, creating that gray area between date rape and drunk sex that leads to years of therapy.
At Tulane especially, there’s a huge fear of outsiders. With constant crime happening in the surrounding areas, it’s easy to see rapists as people who troll the university, looking for their chance. It’s even easier to place blame on the girls that it happens to — “Well, I would never walk around alone at night. I would never wear a dress like.”
It’s easy to place blame because it makes you feel safer. If you wouldn’t do what that girl did (even if all she did was go out at night), that means the rape couldn’t happen to you– but you’re wrong, and by placing blame on these girls who are just like you, we’re not protecting ourselves at all. We should be spending that wasted time and energy educating everyone, men and women alike, on what date rape is. On how consent is a necessity each and every single time. On how having agency, and knowing what you want, is the most important part of any sexual interaction, no matter how much you’ve been drinking. Once we step foot on campus, we’re away from home for four years, which means that we need to watch out for each other. We need to learn how to protect ourselves and others, instead of playing the blame game, where everyone gets hurt.
I’m tired of living in a world of 50 Shades of Greywhere women are expected to be sexual beings only when they’re coerced. We need to own up to our own desires, without embarrassment, without the need to rely on illicit substances– and men need to start thinking that not only is consent sexy, it’s necessary. It’s everything.
Luckily, there’s now a dialogue when it comes to rape culture. Finally, we’re realizing that this isn’t a female problem, it’s an everyone problem, and the only way to change it is to make ourselves aware. Instead of thinking about the gray areas between drunk sex and date rape, we need to be talking more about consent, about alcohol consumption on campuses, and the importance of women developing agency. Sex shouldn’t be something that “just happens,” because you’re afraid that it’s slutty unless you’ve consumed a huge amount of alcohol. It needs to be a part of the everyday dialogue on campus. It can’t be a dirty little secret that happens in dorm rooms, because at the end of the day, the hook up culture combined with vast amounts of alcohol we’re consuming is leaving all of us unsafe. Women have been aware of the problem forever, because it’s been seen as a “women’s issue.” It’s not. This Tulane video is an incredible way to combat the belief that women need to protect themselves at all times. Women and men need to work together to create a campus culture that encourages consent, dialogue, awareness, and agency.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiegMGO4dco&w=560&h=315]
Follow Margaret here.

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