FRATERNIZING WITH THE ENEMY, Y’ALL
That’s why I’m positively gobsmacked by a new edict handed down from the administrators of Wesleyan University, requiring all campus fraternities to admit women. The rationale? To alleviate the high incidence of rape and sexual assault occurring in frat houses.
Color me incredulous. Already women are at risk simply by being on the premises – so how will it help when their exposure to these guys is increased? That line of “reasoning” quite clearly strains both logic and convention. Genuinely, I can’t imagine (nor do I wish to imagine) the meandering line of thinking that led to the administrators’ peculiar and ill-advised decision.
Of course, I probably shouldn’t be so stunned. This news comes after all on the heels of a solid month of “concerned citizens” issuing proclamations about protecting women. Specious at best, the prevailing idea right now seems to be that where women are at risk, we should encourage them to further entrench themselves in that environment.
There’s a convergence of bad advice, from head-patting women who stay in abusive partnerships, to assuring teens that they have every “right” to drunkenly prance around in dark alleyways, and now even to encouraging co-eds to join ranks with sexually violent frat guys.
How do we decrease the incidence of campus rape? I don’t know exactly, to be honest about it. But I thought it was a good start last month when a group of college students invented fingernail polish that changed color to alert a girl to the presence of drugs in her drink. Naturally, though, that invention raised the eyebrows – and the ire – of those who wish to rob women of any notion of self-preservation.
The party line is that we shouldn’t expect women to bear any responsibility for their own safety, because rapists shouldn’t rape. Or something. Sadly, that fosters a mentality of not only victimhood but also vulnerability. The result? A generation of girls who feel powerless, who can’t quit looking for the boogey man under the bed.
No, thanks. I’d rather accept a modicum of responsibility, if that means I also get some power to protect myself.
Mande Wilkes is a wife, mother, businesswoman, author, etc. residing on the South Carolina coast with her family.