Recently George Will wrote about the stance that Washington has decided to take when it comes colleges/universities in regard to sexual assaults and rapes on campuses. The proposed changes will hopefully educate colleges on how to handle sexual violence, and how to better provide prevent and provide support within their institutions. It is also an attempt to keep these institutions from overlooking them, sweeping them under the rug, or outright dissuading victims from reporting to police. That is quite a general explanation, and this post provides more information and links to what is going on.
To many these changes sound great and long overdue, but Mr. Will feels quite differently. He writes, “They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous (“micro-aggressions,” often not discernible to the untutored eye, are everywhere), and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate. ” If he sat down and talked with victims, I highly doubt that they feel privileged or as though they are in a coveted status. It is not as though there are unreasonable requests being made, most people who have been victims of sexual of violence would benefit from having safe places, and environment where they are not being shamed for being a victim.
This kind of mentality just reinforces #yesallwomen, and how it is normalized in our society. He calls them “micro-aggressions”, and I call them those moments where I would feel the need to say something or just leave because it is not worth it for me to stay in an environment where I feel uncomfortable or potentially unsafe. He can call the whatever he likes, but that does not make them any less valid, nor does it minimize how it ties into the overarching issue of sexual violence.
The shootings over the weekend have really struck a note, and all over you see commentary on how this violence is not out of the norm, or an isolated incident, rather it speaks to a larger norm that is so pervasive.
The statements made by Elliot Rodger are not uncommon, all anyone needs to do is read the comments section on an article dealing with men and women. It was disturbing to once again read, see, hear this young man blame is his issues on women, as if he is owed something by women, or that there is this sense that women are supposed to want to sleep with guys, that it is a given. If she does not reciprocate a man’s advances it is her fault for not being enlightened enough or smart enough to know that she should be falling down at this man’s feet.
I have heard too many guys say, ” I am a nice guy. I did this or that and when I asked her out she said, ‘no’.” Statements such as that cancel out being a nice guy; the expectation that you are owed something, furthermore that you have a right or claim to a woman because you did something decent is deplorable. It just speaks to the larger issue of women not being seen as whole or independent people. Women are often seen as an addition to the man that they are seemingly attached to, and that is where their worth is, not as people with independent thought feelings, and paths of their own. This gets even more complicated when you factor is sexuality, because lesbians are often either categorized as masculine or just needing the “right man” to show her the way. Transgender women are often punished for not being normal.
So when people claim that this is an isolated incident, no, it is another violent incident that follows a long tradition of violence against women, whether it is physical, emotional, or creating atmosphere that is threatening.