Rape culture? WHAT rape culture?


I don’t see anything here

The trial for a University of Toronto architecture professor charged with sexual assault nearly two years ago began Thursday.

James Andrew Payne was charged on Dec. 10, 2011 with one count of sexual assault. Payne, 53, denies any wrongdoing.

The complainant, a 21-year-old woman, says she was sexually assaulted in her apartment near Dundas St. W. and Dovercourt Rd. at around midnight on a Saturday evening.

A report from swabs of the complainant’s body identify Payne’s DNA. The issue, the Crown said, is one of consent.

The complainant, “is saying she does not remember consenting … she doesn’t recall inviting him up,” said the Crown.


A university spokesperson would not explain university policy on faculty reporting criminal charges.

Experts told education reporter Kris Rushowy that while faculty contracts do not usually require criminal charges to be reported, the university code of conduct may.

…or here

For the nearly 400 Saint Mary’s University students participating in a chant about rape during their orientation week it was more about the rhyme than the words, according to the student union president.

But Jared Perry told reporters Thursday that he now knows repeating the chant celebrating non-consensual sex with underage girls was wrong.

This is his second year as president. He said he has been repeating the chant since he first came to the Halifax university in 2009 – and never thought anything about it. He has never received any complaints about it.

His attitude changed quickly after a video of the Labour Day event surfaced this week and sparked a huge controversy both on and off campus. In less than 24 hours there have been apologies from student leaders and university administrators and investigations. Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter called it “disturbing.”

Mr. Perry characterizes being involved in this incident as “the biggest mistake I have made throughout my university career and probably in my life. … I feel terrible about it.” Although there have been some calls for him to resign his position, he said he will not.

or here

“SMU boys, we like them young,” the students can be heard singing at the start of the video.

The chant includes the phrases: “Y is for your sister,” “U is for underage,” and “N is for no consent.”

It was performed by student leaders in front of about 300 first-year-students on Monday.

…do you?

If you really don’t see it, go back and read it again, and this time pay attention to the italics I added.

It really IS so nice to know that nothing has changed in any substantial way since I was that age. Profs still feel entitled to pursue students half their age; older students sing “funny” songs about rape to younger students (some of them under legal age), right during Frosh Week. Yeah, WHAT rape culture?

Never mind that there are rules in place prohibiting the poisoning of the educational atmosphere with, among other things, SEXISM. The university culture is less concerned with enforcing its own rules, it seems, than in perpetuating the age-old tradition of the older man preying on the younger woman (or GIRL), with sexual entitlement an obvious perk of the process.

We already know all the lyrics to THAT song, don’t we? Hell, we’ve seen the video, too. The “girls” are always younger and always wearing less than the guys. With remarkably little variation in all respects, except maybe the tune, it’s always the same old song. Sing along, or you’ll be called a humorless feminist bitch and the boys will never like you again!

Of course, the fact that “sex” of this ilk often ends in a nervous breakdown (or worse) is the dirty little secret of rape culture. Girls are taught from an early age to blame themselves for drawing male attention, however unwanted. No matter how hard you try to ward it off, it just keeps on coming. Not only can you not escape it, you get blamed for getting hit with it. You are always too “mature” for your age, too pretty, too whatever. You can’t catch a break.

It’s not enough to say “just don’t sing along if you don’t feel like it”. That just puts a further onus on the victims. It’s Frosh Week, dammit. This is a time for getting acquainted, not alienated. Nobody should have to avoid school, or orientation-week activities, due to a toxic climate of rape culture! So why do we so often demand that they do just that — or learn to override their own discomfiture?

The answer, in a word, is POWER.

Those who wield the most power over others see their own privilege the least, and take it most for granted. They have doctorates, and they often have tenure. Of course they will give nothing up without a fight. Meanwhile, those who need to fight them are in the weakest position to begin with. It’s a waste of money to quit school before you can even start classes. And students can ill afford that, now more than ever. Tuition rates have exploded; student loan debts are crippling. Capitalism has made higher education an ever harder privilege to afford. Is it any wonder, then, that frosh — especially females, who already face a world of lowered earning power by virtue of their gender — are cowed into going along, getting along, and singing along?

Until orientation week becomes about actual orientation, and not just perpetuating a disorienting “tradition” of power imbalance, don’t expect that song to change. Don’t expect to see anything there but more rape culture. And until someone yanks the needle up and smashes that record, that song is just going to keep on playing.

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