William Watson Section 40743

Date Rape, Who’s Responsible?
Rape has existed as long as humankind has walked the earth as an act both condemned and feared by society, but in recent years there is a new breed of rape that women of America have to deal with. Imagine this scene: a guy is sitting down at a party, tipsy from the alcoholic punch, a girl sits across from him with a smile on her face, and they’ve been talking all night. The girl grabs his arm and pulls him up the stairs into a bedroom. It is obvious what she has in mind. Yet an hour later, she comes downstairs with teary eyes and anger on her face, feeling used and frustrated. What happened? This is a scene of date rape. Who is at fault? The man for reacting to the signs he thought he saw, or the woman for giving signs that she did not mean? Weakness to a pervading sexual atmosphere on the part of both male’s and female’s, sexual miscommunication, and lowering sexual defenses led to this scene. If the woman is opposed to the idea of having sex, then it is her job to avoid those volatile situations. Men have a weakness to sexuality, and like any being, when they are faced with their weakness, the default reaction is fear, and in turn aggression. Men value their strength, and when they find themselves putty in the hands of an attractive female, it makes them feel weak and helpless. When an arachnophobic person finds themselves faced with a room full of spiders, they turn pale and begin stomping like mad, a killing frenzy to dispel their fear. Men react in an alternate way when faced with their fear. They become aggressive, desperately telling themselves they are stronger then the female, and try to prove it by using force. The major site of date rape, parties and fraternities, are places were the atmosphere usually already has a sexual tone (stemming from the couple

William Watson Section 40743 making out on the couch, or maybe from the whispering couple walking up the stairs). Women begin to act in a more sexual way, in turn causing them to do things that put them in a more vulnerable position. Men, on the other hand, are inspired to act more aggressively. Instead of merely talking, they convince a woman to come upstairs with them, and in an atmosphere so thick with sexual energy, the woman is much more likely to accept. The idea of saying “no” gets pushed to the back of their mind until the date rape is about to happen. The way communication, both verbal and nonverbal, is interpreted depends a great deal upon the thoughts of the observer. Thus, the difference between what a male thinks a woman is saying and what she is actually trying to convey may be vast. To a male, the simple act of the woman placing her hand on his leg can initiate the undertones of sex, even if it was just a random gesture by the female. While the woman may believe she is flirting merely to have fun, the male mind can take the same flirting to mean “You’re hot, I want you” or something equally sexual. I am not imposing this ignorance on all men, merely stating examples, but the point remains that some men pride themselves on the ability to interpret female sexual communication. The fact that it’s such an accomplishment proves how difficult it really is. As a man, I recignize the plea “no means yes” and it is just desperate excuse holding no real merit. As Susan Jacob states in the essay Common Decency, ”Most date rapes do not happen because a man honestly mistakes a woman’s ‘no’ for a ‘yes’. They occur because an ugly minority of men, can’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” But there are ways of objection that I guarantee will not be misinterpreted by any man. That “no” can’t be misinterpreted if it is angrily shouted into

William Watson Section 40743 the man’s face. If any man gets punched in the nose, he will be left without any doubt in his mind what was meant. The thing I have the most difficulty understanding is the thought process of a woman who gets drunk or takes drugs in a dangerous situation. A woman who intentionally messes up her mind must face the fact that anything that happened because she made bad choices is on her head. As Camille Paglia states in the essay Rape: A Bigger Danger then Feminists Know, “A Woman going to a fraternity party is walking into testosterone flats, full of prickly cacti and blazing guns.” Surrounded by men is not the place to test how hot you can make everyone, much less to stupidly get drunk or high. Inhibitions are thousands of years of female’s instincts telling her that it isn’t safe to do certain things. When that little voice in your head whispers, “Don’t wear that skirt, it is way too short” and you blatantly ignore it, you are just asking for something to happen. Another example is going back with a guy to his apartment. You know exactly what he is going to want, but you go with him anyway. Do some women have a hidden wish to be raped that I don’t know about? Is it a desperate attempt to gain attention? It boils down to two things. Women, be careful, no matter how liberated you feel, and men, “no” means “NO”.