Friday, November 28, 2014

At Mr Jefferson's university, we don't call it "gang-rape"

When I read Sabrina Rubin Erdely's account of a University of Virginia freshman who was gang-raped by seven Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers, I almost became physically ill.  I don't think my reaction is unusual. The campus rape culture described in Erdely's Rolling Stone article is predatory, misogynist, violent and repulsive in ways that almost defy description.

How did the president of the university react?

Like this: "I am writing in response to a Rolling Stone magazine article that negatively depicts the University of Virginia and its handling of sexual misconduct cases."

If you want to know how the University of Virginia has become "the rape school" -- or for that matter, how the University of Minnesota is becoming the "psychiatric research abuse" school -- you can start with robotic, unfeeling, defensive statements like this one.  It's not gang-rape.  It's the "university's handling of sexual misconduct cases." As As UVa faculty member Chad Wellmon writes:

"Sullivan’s statement was a missive from the bureaucratic bowels of an accounting machine. It was surely manufactured by public relations specialists and lawyers whose interests are simply fiduciary, concerned only with legal liability and fundraising. There are no people, just 'interests'; no judgments, just 'initiatives'; no moral failures, just 'issues.' There were, as one of my colleagues put it, no rapes, no victims, no women, no perpetrators—just 'issues related to sexual misconduct.' And the only response is more policies, more initiatives, more accounting."

Read Wellmon's excellent article here.



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