Welcoming everyone to the conversation

Before I began researching for this article, I figured that Williams had a handle on the issue of sexual assault on campus. I figured schools like Wesleyan, which is dealing with yet another sexual assault lawsuit against one of its three fraternities, Psi Upsilon, are the schools that really have an issue. Surely Williams, with such active groups like the Rape and Sexual Assault Network (RASAN) and Men for Consent (MFC), does an effective job of stopping incidents of sexual assault on campus.

And then I saw the statistics released by Dean Bolton concerning sexual assault for the 2011–12 academic year. They were startling to say the least: In 2011–12, 13 sexual assaults were reported. 19.2 percent of females reported receiving unwanted sexual contact. 9.9 percent of females reported unwanted attempt at sexual penetration. 4.4 percent of females reported unwanted sexual penetration. So it’s safe to say that sexual assault at Williams is a problem unsolved. I was fairly oblivious to this, and I can imagine a number of my peers are as well. And so it makes sense that RASAN meets with entries throughout the year in addition to coordinating campaigns like “Take Back the Night.” MFC does a great job with ConsentFest, displaying creative and funny posters around campus that involve various student groups. The world isn’t a perfect place – Williams certainly has its flaws, and completely eradicating sexual assault from campus is an incredibly difficult task. But could we make it better? Could the student body work as a unified front to look out for one another? Of course.

So what’s the problem? RASAN and MFC (the groups that most actively spread awareness about sexual assault on campus) lack a wide appeal to the student body. Let’s face it: There’s a definite tension between members of our student body and these groups. A poster that was put up around campus does a good job of demonstrating why there’s such tension (and it was the impetus for my writing this article). Some of you might have seen a poster with the words “Men” and Rape” in bold black letters. In between “Men” and Rape” the words “can stop” are written in small letters. I, along with many of my fellow students, was genuinely shocked and offended by this. I was surprised to see something so blunt and accusatory put up around campus. It’s important to note that these posters weren’t created by any student group. They were made by Troy Headerick, who held the talk “Ending our Campus Rape Culture,” which the posters were advertising. The Dean’s Office, however, along with MFC, approved these posters. I was, and still am, totally befuddled. That being said, this poster is indicative of the relationship between the Williams (male) students and organizations like MFC and RASAN. Posters like this one antagonize and accuse – they do little to encourage us to solve problems.

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that men are responsible for the vast majority of incidents of sexual assault – and I think most people are aware of this. What are these posters achieving then? They’re certainly not inspiring the men of Williams to be proactive in working with groups like RASAN and MFC. There has to be a better way to combat the issue of sexual assault than through accusations and conflict. Cooperation is always viable. But I felt no desire whatsoever to reach out and cooperate with MFC or RASAN – let alone go to this discussion – when I, as a man at Williams, felt demonized.

RASAN is a fantastic group. They have a staff that’s well equipped to respond to any issues that callers have. They are undoubtedly there for anybody faced with an issue related to rape or sexual assault. MFC does a great job as well. However, that’s only one piece of the puzzle. It’s a crucial piece, of course, but the piece that’s neglected is the one involving a realistic, productive dialogue between the male population at Williams and those already working to address the problem of sexual assault. MFC is clearly attached to RASAN, and thus it lacks the accessibility to men who might feel antagonized by RASAN or even by MFC itself. There needs to be a group of male students that accurately represents

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the student body. A group of men that come from all walks of life. That group should be working alongside the administration, RASAN and MFC to realistically solve problems. Together they can call on their peers through encouragement; no accusation should be involved. I mentioned earlier that I was surprised by the statistics Dean Bolton released on sexual assault. I consider myself a typical Williams student, and if I was as oblivious to the truth as the next Williams guy, then maybe a problem lies in our awareness. But if our peers whom we respect, and who we know respect us, call on the student body to solve a genuine problem that is plaguing the Williams community, I feel that we will make great strides in dealing with sexual assault. Finally, I’d like to note that the name of Troy Headerick’s discussion was “Anger is an Energy: Inciting Emotion to End Rape Culture.” So maybe the goal of Mr. Headerick’s ridiculous poster was, in fact, to get someone to write an op-ed calling for developments in handling sexual assault. I can’t definitively say, but the article is written, so now I truly hope we can work together to eliminate sexual assault from Williams.

Malcolm Moutenot ’17 is from Nashville, Tenn. He lives in Williams Hall.

  • Helen O’Brien

    First of all, RASAN and MFC are BARELY connected, and anyone who has friends in either group knows that.

    Secondly, as a woman who cares deeply about ending rape culture on Williams Campus, I’m hurt that one mildly controversial poster campaign is enough to make you feel that without a third group that caters more specifically to YOUR comfort level, you are unwilling to work to end sexual assault on campus. I am hurt that you imply that RASAN members, people who sign up to sacrifice their time and energy offering 24/7 support for survivors, are not “peers whom we respect, and who we know respect us.”

    • Malcolm Moutenot

      One point that you made that I’d like to respond to first was: “you are unwilling to work to end sexual assault on campus.” My writing this article is proof that I want to improve our efforts to end sexual assault on campus I’m deeply saddened that you failed to acknowledge that in my piece.
      Also, I’m not saying that I’m unwilling to work to end sexual assault. I did, however, say that the posters did not motivate me to reach out to the groups that stood behind these posters; groups that are striving to solve problems in (and this is my opinion) a way that alienates the group that is the desired demographic — men! I’m simply asking for a more inclusive way in which we can accomplish RASAN’s and MFC’s goals. I acknowledge in my piece that RASAN is incredible at what it does — I never attacked the institution. What I have issue with is this: If those posters — many of my peers WERE offended by them — are intended to get men excited about combatting the issue of sexual assault, then I fear very few men will join the cause.

      • W

        Yes, you say you want to work towards ending sexual assault on campus, but only on your terms with a group that accommodates your feelings of victimization. Why do you need a third group? MFC seems to fit the description of the group you want to create. Do you really need a group that caters even more to your male privileged-perspective? MFC is made up of “men from all walks of life.” There are many athletes and students who, like you, knew little about the extent of sexual assault on this campus before joining. It seems not only unnecessary but problematic to create another group not only targeted to men but made up exclusively of men (unlike MFC, which is open to all gender identities). The suggestion that there is a need for another group implies that the average guy at Williams wouldn’t want to be associated with MFC. If that’s true, it’s more evidence that rape culture is alive and well at Williams College; however, since MFC is made up of a pretty diverse group of students and has well-attended events and meetings, it seems like this isn’t a major issue. MFC doesn’t antagonize or accuse its members. Why not show up to a meeting and see if your claims still hold true?
        I don’t want to call you a rape apologist. I think you’re simply ignorant. You may have good intentions, but you’re more focused on your personal feelings than the real issue of sexual assault. You’re advocating a type of accommodationism towards uneducated men that the fight against sexual assault shouldn’t have to have. I agree that it’s important to find a way to get men to join the cause against sexual assault on campus, but I think that there are ways to get them to join without making the issue about appeasing men’s emotions.

      • Eric

        You defend your efforts to end sexual assault by this article, but look at how sloppy the article was.

        1) You conflate RASAN and MFC, two very distinct groups. Did you do any research on their relationship?

        2) Your main sticking point is the posters, whose background you explore merely in an afterthought. You did not investigate the talk that accompanied them, nor which groups actually okayed them and why. RASAN is completely unrelated, and I don’t know how much MFC did to approve them, yet you feel the need to conflate both groups with an outside entity’s campaign. It’s sloppy, sloppy writing.

        3) You advocate for a new group entirely – how is that useful? Why does this one instance invalidate MFC as an organization, such that you feel the need to propose starting a rival to it? This only further fractures efforts on campus. Why not join MFC and actually try to make a difference?

        I don’t object to any feelings of alienation you might have. What I object to is the groups you are targeting and the lazy and counterproductive way you’ve gone about it. You act like writing this poorly-researched Op-Ed is evidence of your efforts to end sexual assault, but what have you really done? Published a knee-jerk reaction to some posters.

        You’re not starting a new group, you’re asking someone else to. You’re not joining MFC to improve it, you’re dismissing it as fundamentally broken. And you’re not beginning a dialogue with RASAN, you’re lumping them into an issue that is wholly unrelated. What exactly have you accomplished?

    • Irony

      Where exactly do you get off diminishing and invalidating his feelings of marginalization, especially when almost all of MinCo is catering more specifically to a minority group’s comfort level? By belittling his perfectly valid and common opinion, you are not only proving his point but displaying clear hypocrisy. What he’s most likely trying to say is that the males who do not feel a connection to RASAN could benefit from a group composed of people with him they feel more comfortable or have more in common. Besides, a roundabout implication that is almost clearly unintentional seems much less important than when he says outright that “RASAN is a fantastic group. They have a staff that’s well equipped to respond to any issues that callers have.” Finally, one of my best friends has been a member of MFC, and I honestly have no idea how closely MFC and RASAN work. Let’s not exaggerate or make assumptions.

      • Kiara

        ^ If he would have done his research, he would have know how closely MFC and RASAN actually work. If he would have actually found out what the posters were supposed to represent instead of just dismissing them as offensive, maybe this would have been a pretty decent article. But as it stands, this doesn’t count as “trying”.

      • Kira

        Feelings of marginalization? As a man? Willy Wonka sipping tea comes to mind, Irony…
        It’s not really a “roundabout… almost clearly unintentional” when it’s written right there. When he goes on to claim that people feel antagonized by RASAN without really backing that up? If you take the time to write an article, especially one about such a sensitive topic, implications, even if unintentional should ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY be considered.

        • Irony

          If we were talking about society as a whole, then yes we can go into a whole discussion about how men’s feelings can be ignored when women are pushing back against the prejudice and injustice they sometimes face in our culture. However, this is Williams, where women constitute and equal and possibly larger number of leadership positions on campus and, at least in my experience, tend to be more vocal. Don’t confuse me for someone shouting about misandry, but my point is that for you to respond to a man’s feelings of marginalization at Williams by a certain group with sarcasm is not at all justified by any social inequality within our community, and is therefore hypocritical and disrespectful. The comments on this thread clearly show that Malcom’s opinion is not uncommon, and so dismissing it just makes you the other side of the same coin that you seem to be so against.

    • White Male Athlete

      As a male who is very concerned with the issue of ending sexual assault at our college, I think it’s my duty to inform you that your hateful demeanor is what makes 99% of straight males not want to attend MFC meetings.

  • Kira

    Getting offended by the words “Men Can Stop Rape,” claiming that MFC is attached to RASAN, and calling RASAN antagonizing without evidence are very poor bases for a change in the approach to rape and sexual assault on campus. I have a feeling this isn’t want Headerick was hoping for.

  • Eric

    “There needs to be a group of male students that accurately represents the student body. A group of men that come from all walks of life.”

    Instead of bashing MFC for barely justified reasons, why not join them and try to improve whatever you feel is lacking? Why waste your time with this article?

    “Finally, I’d like to note that the name of Troy Headerick’s discussion was “Anger is an Energy: Inciting Emotion to End Rape Culture.” So maybe the goal of Mr. Headerick’s ridiculous poster was, in fact, to get someone to write an op-ed calling for developments in handling sexual assault.”

    Maybe, just MAYBE, you could have actually explored the contents of the talk at the beginning of the article, expanded your own understanding of the situation, and provided meaningful context to readers, rather than ignoring them until a footnote at the end. Seriously, you decide to write an entire Op-Ed and don’t even explore the origin of these posters and what their role was designed to be? You dismiss these as “confusing” and that you’re “befuddled” without doing any work. Ridiculous.

  • D

    I applaud you, as it is no small task to get the courage to write on a controversial topic. As we can see from some of the comments already, anyone who speaks out against what might be Williams correct (I say it this way because this is in many ways more extreme than what is politically correct) is almost inevitably accused of being a misogynist, racist or some other slanderous term. Many men on campus do feel demonized by RASAN and/or MFC, and I do not think it was unfair of you to write an article where you praise MFC and RASAN for the work that they do, while expressing a common yet possibly unpopular opinion that they are not all-inclusive. Ironically, on our campus it is important not to let a vocal few invalidate your opinion

    • Scott Shelton

      D, I don’t see how anyone has accused Malcolm of being a misogynist, racist, or any slanderous terms. No one is disputing the points he made regarding his alienation. In fact, they are completely relevant issues, and one that is constantly struggled with, often internally, by men. I fail to see how anyone on this comment thread is telling Malcolm he shouldn’t feel antagonized. I believe that most people have questioned his means for resolving this problem that he has raised. As a male member of RASAN, I recognize a number of details that have been misconstrued by Malcolm due to what must be attributed to a lack of thoroughness in his research, but that is not the crux of the problem. My problem is his solution. I fail to see how creating a new group for the comfort of the “marginalized” of Williams will raise awareness any more effectively than RASAN or MFC does already. Rape and sexual assault simply are not comfortable things to talk about, and of course males are stigmatized by the weight under which the reality of rape and sexual assault place them. If males felt comfortable talking about sexual assault and rape, then I would be concerned, which is why I’m concerned with the idea of the creation of a group on campus made to “accurately represent the (male) student body.” Given the diversity and the uniqueness on campus, that is quite an accomplishment in and of itself, but what further concerns me is that this group is needed for “a realistic, productive dialogue between the male population at Williams and those already working to address the problem of sexual assault” to occur. It leaves me asking myself the question: why does there need to be a group of people, whom I, as a male student of Williams, apparently don’t accurately represent, in order for reasonable conversation about sexual assault and rape awareness to occur? Assuming for a moment that RASAN and MFC are incapable of realistic and reasonable conversation, I would like to know how RASAN and MFC will be any more realistic or reasonable if the “accurate male population” of Williams’ campus is represented by this new group? If RASAN and MFC are effective groups, like Malcolm says they are, then I wonder why Malcolm and people who feel similarly (like myself sometimes I admit) don’t join one of the organizations and really try to fix the problem. After all, if RASAN and MFC antagonize men on campus, the antagonization won’t go away by the creation of a new group, simply the new, non-antagonistic group will be present. Would it, therefore, not be better to make the two current groups not as antagonistic, rather than wasting resources creating a group that won’t solve any of the problems that have been raised in this article? In that sense, I do question Malcolm’s commitment to fix the problem. Working from the outside-in will always seem easier, but I highly doubt it will be effective. The real way to fix a problem is to work from the inside-out, and if all Williams students were willing and able to do that, then I am sure everyone would be amazed at the progress that could be made.

  • John Smith

    I agree with Malcolm’s point. (I see you’re a freshman, btw…I hope you know what kind of flack you are going to get for this.) Men are demonized on this campus.

    And in response to Helen, some RASAN members volunteer their time with good intentions, and that should be respected. I’m friends with some of them, and they’re great people. But others do not, and they have caused real harm on this campus. At least some of them outwardly hate men. They have made up false rumors about sexual assaults to cause drama, and that is a sick, sexist abuse of their privileged position. RASAN is (to my knowledge) competent group of emergency telephone operators, but we should trust them as amateur therapists as little as we would trust amateur surgeons. I want to know that RASAN members receive mental health screenings, proper training, and an education in ethics. A RASAN member told me that one case she heard of a man assaulted by a woman “must be a joke.” As a guy who was sexually assaulted a few years ago (off campus), I was shocked but too afraid to go to the administration to talk about this incident.

    Men for Consent is a cool group, but indeed it does not reflect everyone’s opinions, and that’s a problem because rape will always occur here until everyone’s on the same page. I think they have a responsibility to appeal to everyone; otherwise they are probably not communicating with or changing the behavior of the rapists themselves. E.g. the name of the group itself is kind of loaded…where do sexually conservative men fit in? What about queer students?

    • F

      1) First, I’d like to say that this is how the article makes me feel. Please follow this link: http://saltysojourn.tumblr.com/image/59106980627

      Malcolm, like with ANY campus organization, students have to actively reach out if they want to participate. Short of physically removing you from your room and placing you in their meetings, there is nothing any campus org. can do to make themselves more appealing than they are already trying to be. The problem is not them, it’s you. I don’t me “you” as in, like, “all men,” I literally mean you, Malcolm, are the problem. You said yourself that MFC didn’t put those posters up, but that they approved it–perhaps because they were more informed than you (and, admittedly, myself) about the context from which the posters were derived. This school is small enough that it is totally within your scope of power to figure out who put the posters up (which you did) and why. It’s small enough for you to actually attend an MFC meeting and express your feelings of marginalization and your feelings about what you clearly think is an inappropriate poster. What exactly is your problem with MFC? Apart from the link between them and “MEN RAPE” poster, I can’t seem to discern what it is about MFC that you don’t like. Can you tell me what demographics of the group are? You obviously think that its homogeny is doing the school a disservice, so I take that to mean that you actually did some research about what type of people make up the group (I mean apart from men who want to stop sexual assault). If you feel like you’re being excluded–go join the group and break up the homogeny! It is literally that easy.

      “Men for Consent is a cool group but indeed it does not reflect everyone’s opinions”
      2) John Smith: are you implying that there should be a group for Men Against Consent? Cool! That way, men who are for consent and even those who aren’t will have a group to join, thus solving the issue of marginalization!! It is not RASAN’s or MFC’s job to cater to the whim of those “demonized” men on campus. I agree that it’s not fair to say that all men are responsible for 100% of the sexual assault on campus, but you and I both would be amiss to say that the vast majority of assaults, as Malcolm indicates himself, are not committed by men. That’s just the truth, sorry. Men often commit the assault and what is more is that these assaults are classified as such when *there is not consent*

      Clearly I was being facetious up there, but I’m really and truly unclear as to what opinions MFC represents that are unpopular within the community. I’m a woman and the “MEN RAPE” posters made me and a lot of my friends uncomfortable. I kind of let the thought of the poster migrate to the back of my mind and didn’t do any research to understand what exactly the poster was for. If, as Malcolm says, it was supposed to incite an emotional reaction, it was obviously efficacious.

      3) Thirdly, don’t go demonizing RASAN! They are a wonderful organization. I’m sorry that an operator inappropriately minimized the very real (though rarer) problem of women sexually assaulting men. Not cool and should definitely be reported to someone. But making blanket statement like “They have made up false rumors about sexual assaults to cause drama, and that is a sick, sexist abuse of their privileged position” is also not cool! Statements like that deter people from trusting and utilizing RASAN. I don’t doubt that there might be a few n’er-do-well’s on RASAN, as you seem to have had personal experience with such ill-wishing people, so it is your responsibility, and the responsibility of all else who encounter such people, to report them and get them out of RASAN! People like that just give RASAN a bad name and make productive conversations harder to have 🙁

  • your campus every(wo)(man)

    Kudos to you, Malcolm, for throwing out a perspective that so clearly exists at this school but is rarely articulated.

    Shouldn’t that be a goal for which we should all strive–introducing viewpoints with which we may disagree but that give us pause for thought?

    I’m willing to bet that a majority of campus finds a lot of what Malcolm’s written here reasonable–maybe a majority even agrees with several of his points. The problem is that people are fearful to say it. That fear exists because of exactly what’s happened in response to this article: people making weak, nonsensical arguments like you’re offended by the words “Men Can Stop Rape” (come on, Kira–you really think those four words are what bothered him?), people on Facebook screaming that you’re a “rape apologist,” people snidely dropping references to “white male athletes” as the demographic who clearly is too stupid or violent to understand these messages.

    No one wants this. In what I hope is a good-natured, well-intentioned attempt at making campus safer for everyone, you have made people too afraid to speak up, in fear of the aforementioned reactions–which happened this time and happen every time without fail. Bravo–by so inarticulately and emotionally voicing your indignation (about a real, horrifying problem, of course!) to anyone who dares offer a critical, outside perspective, you have managed to create a culture of silence. Congratulations!

    At least Malcolm is trying.

  • Marissa Lowe

    Hi everyone. My name is Marissa, I am one of the heads of RASAN this year. While I think there is a lot to be said about this whole topic, I’m mostly concerned about the comments that RASAN has demonized or attacked men on this campus. For Malcolm, “John Smith,” or any other commenters who have felt demonized or attacked by us, I’d just like to ask if you could give specific examples of things we have done to make you feel this way? To be clear, I don’t mean things an INDIVIDUAL in RASAN has done (although John Smith, I am very sorry to hear about what that member said, that was very wrong and is NOT our stance as a group), but things that the organization as a whole has done to make you feel demonized or attacked. (Also, just so we’re all on the same page, the “men can stop rape” posters don’t count because RASAN was not a part of the creation or approval of those.)

    If you guys really do feel this way, then I think it is important to find out why so that we can potentially make changes to become more inclusive. I’d appreciate your feedback. You may respond directly to this comment or email me at mbl3.

    • Roger

      I think it’s more of a systematic oppression and broadening of the definition of rape

    • An Example

      Marissa, I’m sure this must be frustrating for you to hear, especially when you most likely never intended these feelings to be passed on. Unfortunately, when considering how RASAN, or any group makes another group feel, it is nearly impossible to separate what an individual acting on RASAN’s behalf does from what the group as a whole intends. I know that my first impression of RASAN came from first days, when my entry had a discussion involving a RASAN facilitator. My issue with the meeting was that this “discussion” took the form of the facilitator offering queries, a few people would answer, and then the facilitator would basically correct them and supply the answer that it seemed like she wanted to hear. Now this was a long time ago (I’m a junior now), and so I cannot shed light on specifically what was said (besides that they were questions about how you could deal with certain situations that didn’t seem like they had “right” answers to me), and I also acknowledge that things may have changed since then. My main point is to illustrate how poorly handled interactions like these, especially in such a formative time as first days, can drastically affect how someone feels about RASAN or any other group.

    • White Male Athlete

      Actually Marissa, I do have an example.

      In one of the school bathrooms, I saw a RASAN poster that talked about how victims of sexual assault could contact RASAN. Towards the bottom of the sheet, I read something to the effect of: “If you wish specifically to speak with a member of your own gender, we will connect you with a female member of RASAN within 15 minutes.”

      This wording would suggest that only women can be sexually assaulted. Although I read this on a poster a few weeks ago, I noticed that a new batch of posters has been put up that changed the wording to something to the effect of: “If you wish specifically to speak with a member of your own gender, we will connect you with a member of your own gender within 15 minutes.”

      While I appreciate the correction you guys made, the fact that this error was originally made definitely does frustrate men who are educated and compassionate about issues such as sexual assault because it definitely DOES demonize them.

      • ’80s Alum

        Forget the posters. Suggest a mandatory campus-wide lecture (perhaps via Skyoe from prison) where Wms students listen to this convicted “young 20’s” rapist serving “11 to 16” years in MA prison for raping a young girl of consent age (16). Maybe have the victim come speak, or join the conversation live. Replace “hip-hop artist” with “hockey player” and there really is no difference between this and the Brackenridge case. EXCEPT, the Brackenridge conviction would also include conspiracy to cover-up post-facto, lying to school admins., implicating others in a rape cover-up, drug possession, drug trafficking, serving alcohol with intent to sexually assault, serving alcohol to minors, selling alcohol to persons known to serve alcohol to minors, et ceteris, et ceteris.

        A 3-semester suspension and a return to an elite Ivy-League caliber school and likely a Goldman, Sachs & Co. summer internship on the municipal bond desk. Wow. That trumps 11 to 16 in Mass. State Prison !

        What say Dean Bossong and Dean Bolton?

        http://www.berkshireeagle.com/local/ci_10553633

        • Class ’15

          First off, the Deans can’t say anything. You’re attacking individuals about how they treated the victim, even though they are gagged in order to protect the victim. It’d be just as productive to demand an explanation from a person in a coma. Second, if the hockey player was 21 and Brackenridge was 17, that’s not statutory rape according to Massachusetts state law (if you’re 16 or 17 you add 4). Second, did you even read the article? TWO counts of AGGRAVATED ASSAULT? Kidnapping? Serving alcohol to minors? Drug possession? What exactly is your evidence that any of this happened? The only accounts we have are from Lexie in a few newspaper articles, and none of them go into detail about what actually took place. There is also no reason to think that the hockey player kidnapped her, possessed drugs at the time (his later trouble would essentially amount to a misdemeanor), or that he ever gave her any alcohol. So Dean Bossong and Dean Bolton won’t be saying anything to this poorly formulated argument. I would expect better from a Williams alum

  • Concerned

    *trigger warning* (really, that should apply for this whole thread)

    “Rape will always occur here until everyone’s on the same page.” — John Smith

    Hello, John. First of all, I am terribly sorry that a particular member of RASAN made you feel uncomfortable and triggered recollections of a traumatic experience through what I can only describe as a spurious, stupid comment. I am sorry that you did not feel you could seek recourse with the administration to deal with the situation.

    However, I would like to take issue with the above quote and its implied relevance to the workings of RASAN and MFC, namely because I think the ‘page’ people must all be on in order to prevent incidents of sexual assault on campus is a fairly straightforward and (unless you are a rapist or rape apologist) easy one to be on: sexual assault is a heinous thing, and everyone has a responsibility to control their actions so as not to harm others (i.e. don’t rape or assault people). ‘If you see something, say something.’ Resources on campus for survivors/prevention/mental health should continue to receive funding and support from students, faculty, and staff. People who commit sexual crimes on campus should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and it is the responsibility of the administration (with student input and transparency of proceedings) to create policies that encourage survivors to feel comfortable reporting incidents and provide for their security and well-being as they seek action.

    Maybe rape will always occur at Williams, as there are exceptions to every rule, and clearly this set of parameters is not sufficiently agreeable to many, many (predominantly male, sorry but those are the stats) people in general.

    But if we can’t manage to get most people on THAT page– student institutions aside– then frankly I don’t think I would feel comfortable at Williams as a student of any gender.

    • Charles Kronick ’91

      “unless you are a rapist or rape apologist”

      I understand that you do not mean to imply the auther is either, but the use of the pronoun ‘you’ is probably a byproduct of the interface dysfunction (heh, is that still a viable academic term?) that the editorial addresses.

      There will always be acts of violent crime so long as there are people around to commit them, but starting a conversation by shock-screening the participants does not strike me as the best way to go.

  • Sorry(?)

    Sorry to everyone who has felt the unfair, unwanted pressure of responsibility for rape in the Williams College community.

    I’m sorry you have been made uncomfortable by another.
    I’m sorry issues you felt independent of (either through ignorance of avoidance) have, without your consent, penetrated your daily life.
    I’m sorry you have have felt alienated, alone, and ridiculed by others.
    I’m sorry you have been made to feel uncomfortable in your own skin.

    Oh… hm.. that’s kind of ironic, isn’t it?

    The reality is that men CAN stop rape. Instead of writing an article that criticizes the groups and individuals already working to make men realize this, maybe you could use your energy to stop the ACTUAL, PHYSICAL violence taking place. It is not anyone’s responsibility to make you feel comfortable about sexual assault, or to gently guide you into a place where you feel comfortable enough to help stop it. Women (not to negate male victims, but I must attack the greater pool) -female victims- have been feeling the blame fall on them from the beginning of time. I’m glad you feel uncomfortable. Maybe your unwillingness to step up to the call is an inherent problem in yourself. I feel no pity for you. It is everyone’s responsibility in a community to stop violence -especially when that violence is a specific group targeting another. It has NOTHING to do with your feelings. That’s reality. Grow up.

    • Concerned

      Dear Sorry(?),

      Pointing out the irony of people claiming they feel they’ve had their lives “without consent […] penetrated” does two counterproductive things (reinforced by your all-caps type yelling and spartan admonition for the authors/commenters to “grow up”):
      1. It puts words in those people’s mouths.
      2. It legitimizes analogies between one’s feelings and the act of rape by reusing language that you yourself obviously find ironic and problematic.

      I don’t think we should be in the habit of belittling the hurt and anger of others by standing their emotions up against rape and assault. First because those are two of the most awful crimes against (wo)man in existence and should not be made to stand in analogy with petty offenses and second because if that’s your metric, no one’s pain can ever have value or legitimacy unless they have been raped or assaulted. That’s a bleak picture of the world.

      Men can stop rape. Of course they can. But let’s not dilute the importance of that point by undermining the unique awfulness of rape and assault or by speaking for the men who we are simultaneously demanding take responsibility for their actions.

  • Let’s have a conversation

    https://m.facebook.com/events/1436210273284810

    Looks like there’s going to be a panel about fake reports of rape. May be interesting for John Smith.

  • ’80s Alum

    I want to applaud all of you students for your candid comments. Do any of you think there should be a same-sex, curfew dorm option for some % of women and/or men? Do ANY of you support having some dorms where NO intercourse is allowed in these dorms owned by the College? This would have the effect of moving any sex off-campus or into local motels/hotels; AND, any intercourse in a dorm room would be a Code of Conduct violation. Too strict in the interest of ending rape “on campus”? Sort of hard to argue a woman or man who checks into a motel with another student is not there for sex. Right?

    • Charles Kronick ’91

      Cufew and separate dorms work for me, but if one wants to reduce sex crimes to normal standards, then victims will need to call the police and cut the college out of the equation. There ain’t nothing like a good old fashioned trial with twelve honest men and women to sober up both students and administrations, not hardly.

      • Eric

        “There ain’t nothing like a good old fashioned trial with twelve honest men and women to sober up both students and administrations, not hardly.”

        Is this a joke? There is a long history of police handling rape cases extraordinarily poorly. Many women feel unsafe reporting their crimes to the police, let alone standing in court. Our judicial system does not handle sexual assault well at all, that’s the whole reason the college should be involved.