It has been a very busy day, but I’ve certainly made time to read the comments on the UVA parents page and it’s been fascinating. Overall, there have been times when I just wanted to scream “stop talking about better processes and start looking at the CULTURE.” Lots of talk about improving “reporting procedures so women feel safer about coming forward.” How will this help women come forward who are afraid to report a rape or stand up for a rape victim because they won’t be invited to a frat party or see it as social suicide? Why aren’t we talking about THAT in addition to the school’s warped sense of priorities?
Also, as I read the comments I had this question in my mind over and over today (and what Rachel wrote above): “Why do we treat rape as less than a crime than murder? Why aren’t college administrators mandatory reporters? why does the woman have to ‘press charges’ the way domestic violence used to be? It is in the STATE’S INTEREST to prosecute criminals.” Great questions all.
Earlier today a letter from a UVA “secret society” was posted. They’re expressing grief for the school/fellow students and mentioned that they had left a large pile of flowers somewhere on campus for the students to give/share with others who are hurting. The responses in the comments surprised me, and made me think that maybe, just maybe, something good might come from all of this. (I do have great empathy for the students and their grief, in addition to confronting the horror described in this article, they lost three students this semester, one murder, one suicide–just yesterday, and one to a virus/illness.)
Anyway, some of the comments made me suspect that this may become something other than feeling sad and moving on.
Responses were similar to these:
“I don’t want a flower. I think this is stupid and trivializing. Did you read what this girl went through? Violated with a beer bottle?…..Please try to organize a real demonstration, engage in real activism with courage and truth-telling, and risk-taking (like these young women are exhibiting when they tell they survive and tell their stories.)”
And then this one:
“….Its up to UVa to proceed at full throttle the minute the victim approaches, as she is asking for help at that moment. They can pursue without mentioning the victim’s name. Confidentiality should no longer be an excuse. This is what needs to happen. And when all is done, those responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest.”
We’ll see where we go from here.
Oh, I don’t know if anyone saw the NYT op-ed from a few days ago — very timely and offer some real solutions. We’ll see if anyone is brave enough to campaign for them.