|when you think "gang of rapists" think about photos like this one, from here|
What follows is a snippet of an article from AlterNet. The rest of the article follows my response to the excerpt. Click on the title below to link back.
Several of the incidents leading to the investigation against Yale University have become notorious: frat members chanting “no means yes! yes means anal!” and worse outside the Yale Women’s Center. Members of yet another frat standing outside the same center with signs that read “we love Yale sluts.” Emails that ranked incoming freshman women with identifying information (including their residences on campus), based on "how many beers it would take to have sex with them.” And then there was the repeated theft of students’ “Take Back the Night” art projects, decorated t-shirts detailing personal stories of sexual assault.Do they mean like the great male supremacist sexual exploiter John F. Kennedy, or the pro-pornography, pro-sexual assault, and pro-sexual harassment president, Bill Clinton? Which U.S. white het male presidents have not used their power to abuse women? Do we know the answer to that? Are any men, themselves, be able to tell us the truth of their own behavior? Or do those with the most privilege (like the Duke white het guys) simply hire attorneys to keep them out of prison or settle out of court, with "gag orders" on anyone who would speak the truth against them? Remember: Wealthy, "educated" WHM are the most dangerous gang of rapists and thieves on Earth. Don't let the college degrees fool ya. The college degrees are what help get their foot in the door, but it's "who they know" that often gets them the high-paying jobs.
It’s a horrifying pastiche--no less so because these students are allegedly the cream of the crop, perhaps future presidents among them.
And, regarding the title, virulently white het male supremacist and terroristically rapist behavior is what they mean by "bad"--they don't mean "bad" in a "good" way--even while the wealthy WHM do. The young men are misogynist terrorists, nothing less. When will the media--any media--call rapists "male supremacist" and "terrorists"? Can the Western media never ever us those terms to describe WHM--especially Christian ones? It appears not.
More analysis of the AlterNet piece and CRAP-loaded society closes this post.
AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer
Recent Yale Male Behavior So Sexist the Federal Government Has to Intervene
The investigation of Yale shows the government may actually be taking sexual assault on campus seriously.
April 15, 2011 |
Bad behavior by men on campus, date rape not taken seriously, backlash against victims who speak out: none of the elements of the Title IX case against Yale are new. What is refreshing, however, is that the issue may actually be taken seriously by none less than the federal government.
Several of the incidents leading to the investigation against Yale University have become notorious: frat members chanting “no means yes! yes means anal!” and worse outside the Yale Women’s Center. Members of yet another frat standing outside the same center with signs that read “we love Yale sluts.” Emails that ranked incoming freshman women with identifying information (including their residences on campus), based on "how many beers it would take to have sex with them.” And then there was the repeated theft of students’ “Take Back the Night” art projects, decorated t-shirts detailing personal stories of sexual assault.
It’s a horrifying pastiche--no less so because these students are allegedly the cream of the crop, perhaps future presidents among them. But the most worrisome stories leading to Title IX investigations and similar controversies on other campuses (and the reason these incidents are more serious in context) are the tales we haven’t heard, the stories of the unnamed victims of campus sexual assaults who felt that the very university structures ostensibly designed to help them in their moment of need did the exact opposite--instead valuing the school’s reputation and the desire to avoid conflict. And beyond these stories are dozens of others, students who were assaulted and didn’t even bother reporting the crime because of the (often correct) perception that it wouldn’t do them any good.
It’s the combination of incidents, public and private alike, that led the 16 complainants who filed suit to label Yale a “hostile environment,” one in violation of Title IX’s provisions ensuring a level educational playing field for women. As with all such accusers, these students faced backlash on campus, claims that they were going too far and polarizing their community. But while their peers may doubt them, the government is paying attention.
In timing that may or may not be coincidental to the public acknowledgement of the Yale investigation, the Office of Civil Rights in combination with the Department of Education and the Obama administration has just launched a major new push to get universities to comply with federal guidelines for handling sexual assault-- beginning with a kickoff speech from Vice-President Joe Biden, who used the phrase “rape is rape” to seemingly signal displeasure with the wishy-washy way some schools handle the issue. The OCR released a an advisory reminding schools in receipt of federal funding that tolerating sexual harassment is a violation of Title IX--the law's equal-opportunity guarantee for education.
Obviously, universities have unique situations. They're not empowered in the same way law enforcement is and they have their own obligations to fact-finding, to students' privacy and freedom of expression and to maintaining harmony in the community--and some of these systems for internal investigations may well have been intended to encourage victims to come forward. But regardless of intentions, it's not working. As the Center for Public Integrity found last year in a must-read report, many victims of campus rapes actually feel it's useless to come forward. And unfortunately, that feeling of futility is engendered all too often by their school's policies.
A Widespread Problem
The incidents on Yale’s storied gothic campus are getting the most press--probably a combination of the public nature of the incidents and the reputation of the school. But the problems underlying those boorish acts of intimidation aren’t unique to Yale. In fact, the Yale investigation is one of several Title IX investigations pending by OCR, including one at Harvard Law School, the president’s alma mater. Figures from a 2007 Justice Department study indicate that 1 in 5 women will be raped in college, many of whom will never report the crime--1 in 15 of their male peers will also be raped. As we’ve explored at AlterNet, rape and the exploding problem of depression on campus are intimately linked. And the cultural and institutional plagues of shame, turning a blind eye, confusion and secrecy around rape, it should also be noted, can lead to the proportionally smaller, but nonetheless real problem of false rape accusations as well.
In an interview with AlterNet, Attorney Wendy Murphy, who has pioneered the use of Title IX to get schools to address sexual assault procedures (and who filed the Harvard suit), explained why flaws in university policies erect barriers to equality.
One widespread issue, addressed in the new OCR Advisory, is schools’ demanding undue evidence to adjudicate sexual assault cases, asking that victims adhere to a “clear and convincing evidence” standard (which Murphy estimates as 90 percent proof) rather than the “preponderance of evidence” standard (51 percent). Yale’s language, says Murphy, used a confusing hybrid of the two, “clear preponderance.” Crucially, OCR’s new advisory specifically demands the preponderance language, telling schools that have used the more exclusionary standards that they’ve been in violation of students’ rights.
As to why it's important to have that standard, Murphy says universities never put that kind of massive burden of proof on victims of racial harassment, or harassment aimed at GBLT or disabled students--and that sexual harassment and rape should not have a “special set of rules” but be treated as targeted violence. It’s also simply a fact that in situations like date rape, it’s almost impossible to reach that higher standard of proof. While schools should be invested in finding out the truth of all incidents, they should also encourage victims to come forward, even if there's no "corroborating" evidence.
A second problem Murphy identifies is universities' “running out the clock” by waiting to rule on sexual assault and harassment claims until the completion of a police investigation (which often results in no charges being filed). At this point one or both students may be close to graduation and the university absolved of its legal responsibility. And the student who has suffered during that period has lost “education, emotional comfort, equal treatment... you can never give that back,” she says. “It does irremediable harm to run out the clock.”
These types of de facto or official policies are among many that make it hard for young people to deal with the sexual environment on campus. The Center for Public Integrity released a damning nationwide report last year that found fault (and law-skirting) on many campuses, in nearly every aspect of rape prevention and assault programs.
And just last month, Dickinson students participated in a three-day sit-in demanding specific changes to their school’s sexual assault policy; they won a sweeping overhaul and many of the protesters are sitting on the committee charged with implementing changes.
A Predictable Backlash
Meanwhile, a predictable backlash flourishes on Yale’s campus, with some students complaining about the radical feminists who have hijacked their elite institution’s good name--because they’ve personally never felt any hostility. The complainants who have gone public will continue to see their names dragged through the mud in the comments sections of student papers and many bystanders will ask, “Why, literally, make a 'federal case'? Why not just more education and resources to change this campus environment?”
Claire Gordon, a former Yale student who worked at the Women’s Center during one of the harassment incidents, has a rundown of the toxic culture at Yale, and she explains why a lawsuit may have been imperative and resources weren't enough:
“This task force comes in a long line of committees and councils at Yale responsible for investigating, examining, reviewing, and recommending on the subject of sexual misconduct. It's a headache just trying to trace them all....Without actually punishing the harassers, without calling it sexual harassment, without addressing the culture that has made so many men "lapse in judgment" so many times over so many years, the school has allowed this culture to persist.”A place like the Yale Women’s Center is already there to provide the kind of education and safe environment that critics of the OCR investigation posit as an alternative--but when women seeking that “safe space” are repeatedly accosted by groups of men chanting pro-rape obscenities, clearly, the message is not getting through. Clearly, education is not enough.
Sometimes, it takes the full force of the law to make a big university pay attention.
A Last Resort
Backlash aside, Yale is already making promises to change its disciplinary system for sexual assault cases. Why? The fact that it's under investigation will most likely push the school to bring its policies into compliance. As the AP reports: “The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights confirmed Friday that it has begun investigating the school. The office gets about 7,000 complaints per year and investigates about one-third of them.” In essence, the OCR investigation itself is the punishment that will force Yale’s hand. And for the students who filed the complaint, it was a last resort, a move only arrived at after what they say were futile efforts to use internal university channels.
Title IX is the law that guarantees equal access to educational opportunities, regardless of gender. Traditionally, it's thought of as a sports-equality statute but it applies to sexual harassment as well--and this month the Obama administration has made it abundantly clear that it's taking this aspect of its application seriously. Another of the OCR's new recommendations is that schools inform students in advance of their rights under Title IX, so that if they do face an unhelpful or unequal disciplinary system, they will be aware that those rights are being violated. This recommendation is also a great way to challenge "rape culture" on campus--to let students of all gender orientations know that the law--and justice--is on their side from the very beginning.
The fact that so many investigations are or have been pending at the OCR, and its new findings, are evidence of a small but important culture shift emanating from DC. And the fact that the media, from Good Morning America to the New York Times have been reporting the Yale story in a manner somewhat more sympathetic to affected women on campus (even using the word “misogyny!”) is heartening too.
Challenging rape culture, and university guidelines combatting it, can't be a simple process and each campus could probably use dozens of experts at every level from prevention to discipline to counseling. Not every victim will want the same procedure, not every situation will merit a cookie-cutter response. But schools' taking the issue seriously and signaling that's it's no joke will help all students, male, female and LGBT, navigate the deeply fraught environment of sexual culture on campus.
While we have a long way to go on this issue, and there’s no guarantee colleges and universities will comply with the new guidelines, it’s important to note that not even Yale and Harvard are being allowed to buck the rules. That feels like some kind of victory.
Sarah Seltzer is an associate editor at AlterNet, a staff writer at RH Reality Check and a freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been published in Jezebel.com and on the websites of the Nation, the Christian Science Monitor and the Wall Street Journal. Find her at sarahmseltzer.com.
What follows was written upon further reflection of the above, as well as after receiving this comment from UK activist, Jennifer Drew:
It has likely taken the Office of Civil Rights and the Dept. of Ed. as many years to step in as they have been in existence, unless they pre-exist Yale. This is clearly not the case with the Office of Civil Rights. Civil Rights law is a flimsily tacked on addendum in the U.S., not at all foundational to the Constitution as written originally--which only ever intended to guarantee some forms of equality among white presumably het men.
A problem I have with the article is the blatant classism that reeks in a statement like this one:
"It’s a horrifying pastiche--no less so because these students are allegedly the cream of the crop, perhaps future presidents among them."
The word "allegedly" aside, to me, the inference is that it is no more horrifying when we find out a poor, academically uneducated population is misogynistically hostile to women. As if to say, "What do we expect of those uneducated people?" What is too often expected of grossly over-privileged males is everything that amounts to being entitled and statused--including being president.
Would anyone in the U.S. liberal to progressive media write the following and not get a sense that something is irresponsible and oppressive about it?
"It’s a horrifying pastiche--no more so because these young men are allegedly the bottom of the barrel, perhaps future welfare recipients or prison residents among them."
Hostile "higher" learning and living environments like Yale's campus are commonplace; they are the reigning rule not the disgraceful exception. It is because of the liberal-patriarchal education males get there that this remains the case; it is not despite the education that males behave this way, in other words. The organisation and institutionalisation of misogynistic, rapist environments on campuses such as Yales, in fraternities, or around campus, in private dormitories, as well as in the arrogantly white male supremacist hallways and classroom environs, ensure that women will be raped and harassed there.
To actually put forth the belief that this is, effectively, more not LESS shocking because wealthier, white, over-privileged het males are doing it is to insult, degrade, terrorise, and subordinate everyone else and perpetuate a truly dangerous idea: that rich white het males are less dangerous than any other classed, raced, sexuality-identified and gendered demographic, when, in fact, given structural/institutional power, they are more dangerous: the most dangerous.
The article's other reference to classism is the use of the rarely-used term "boorish".
The earlier-noted phrasing and this particular word choice-making, particularly when resurrected in discussions of what happens at classist, elitist universities, rubs more than salt into pro-rich/anti-poor wounds of most non-wealthy, less privileged people on Earth, with echos of the severe on-going classism of British society that, in the U.S. especially, is effectively fused to white supremacist racism. Here's the meaning:
Original meaning was "peasant farmer" (cf. Ger. Bauer, Du. boer, Dan. bonde), and in English it was at first applied to agricultural laborers in or from other lands, as opposed to the native yeoman; negative connotation first attested 1560s (in boorish), from notion of clownish rustics. Related: Boorishness. [source: *here*]As for this from your comment:
I note too that three times as many women students are raped by males as male students are raped by other males. What does that say about a hostile and women-hating environment?
It brings to mind Dworkin's rarely discussed analysis of the social-political function of homophobia among men--to keep men's learned sexual aggression directed at women. From her 24 Hour Truce speech to allegedly anti-sexist men:
Homophobia is very important: it is very important to the way male supremacy works. In my opinion, the prohibitions against male homosexuality exist in order to protect male power. Do it to her. That is to say: as long as men rape, it is very important that men be directed to rape women. As long as sex is full of hostility and expresses both power over and contempt for the other person, it is very important that men not be declassed, stigmatized as female, used similarly. The power of men as a class depends on keeping men sexually inviolate and women sexually used by men. Homophobia helps maintain that class power: it also helps keep you as individuals safe from each other, safe from rape. If you want to do something about homophobia, you are going to have to do something about the fact that men rape, and that forced sex is not incidental to male sexuality but is in practice paradigmatic. [source: *here*]Next up, this, from the AlterNet article:
"As to why it's important to have that standard, Murphy says universities never put that kind of massive burden of proof on victims of racial harassment, or harassment aimed at GBLT or disabled students--and that sexual harassment and rape should not have a “special set of rules” but be treated as targeted violence. It’s also simply a fact that in situations like date rape, it’s almost impossible to reach that higher standard of proof. While schools should be invested in finding out the truth of all incidents, they should also encourage victims to come forward, even if there's no "corroborating" evidence."First, can the L-for-Lesbian slip any farther from it's brief first place position? (Only in the line-up of letters, never in social reality.) Since when did the only woman-only group in the Queer alphabet acronym, get moved to the third position? I object. I object more to the fact that radical lesbian feminists are increasingly relegated to the last or non-existent position in queer communities across the U.S.
Second, states and other governing bodies have demonstrated they WILL NOT recognise rape as a Hate Crime because there would be too many cases for underpaid, overworked staffers to handle. If that's not a definition of CRAP-loaded, pro-terrorism "irony" I don't know what is.
Third, we must conclude there is no standard of proof for rape in a misogynist society which requires and defends rapists. Whether the rapist is a boyfriend, husband, co-worker, classmate, procurer, or pimp, the WHM supremacist criminal and court systems are stacked, always, in favor of men who abuse women and/or children--especially girl children.
A feminist woman I knew who attended Yale in the 1960s almost had to drop out because of the viciousness of the patriarchal attitudes and lessons taught to her in the classroom, not outside of it. Due to the increasingly pro-pornography/prostitution (read: woman-hating) climate in liberal white environs, what we find is that non-academically educated people are clearer about what's harmful about the wealthier side of white male supremacy than are privileged college students who are too invested in it--sexually, economically, interpersonally, and institutionally--to object.
What the over-privileged het-males-on-campus are doing is completely normal, predictable, and traditional non-Indigenist het male behavior. Period. And if that seems like an anti-FirstWorldhetman thing to say, I'd like the critics of my wording to go speak to any and all males who are in those overtly pro-rapist het male Ivy League frat houses and seminar classrooms and ask them how "abnormal" they believe their "falsely accused brothers" are.