Individuals Who Care...And those Who PoliceAn article reflecting on how recent sexual assaults change perception of men and women: Are men vulnerable to assault? What does women's vulnerability say about the degree to which they must rely on men or groups for safety? What role to the police play in keeping people safe from assault?
Individuals Who Care...And those Who Police
The day when men tease women about going to the bathroom in groups may be disappearing. As recent attacks on University students have shown, the roles men and women pl ay in regards to staying safe are merging, and we aren't sure how to cope with this sudden shift.
Attacks on the railroad tracks and in fraternity houses seem to present students with only two choices â€“ become paranoid or continue acting the same way we always have because we donâ€™t know what else to do. There isnâ€™t a middle-ground choice, and this gap leaves us in the area of highest danger.
As vulnerable students in Charlottesville, our degree of discomfort is changing so rapidly that we havenâ€™t had adequate time to adjust or to brainstorm new ideas about how to protect ourselves. Weâ€™re in a dangerous period of attitude limbo, where we as individuals need to retain our own senses of independence, but also to rely on others to get us through safely. Ultimately, what University students need on Rugby Road is the successful interaction of every individual doing his or her part. But taking responsibility is not as easy as it seems.
For instance, we need the police to keep order and to intimidate potential wrongdoers with their overwhelming presence of lawfulness, but if the police get too involved in our business on the streets between houses on Rugby, we get agitated.
We expect the fraternities to know who exactly is at their parties, but we get frustrated, disgusted and impatient with the registered guest list policy.
We agree that we should know our tolerance for alcohol, but getting drunk is so much fun.
We want to have our cake, and we want to eat it, too.
What it comes down to, therefore, is finding the perfect blend of protection and reliance on others so we can relax and enjoy the University community. This is where the whole gender issue comes into play. Just as we recognize differences in, say, the effectiveness of [â€¦] versus the effectiveness of [â€¦], we need to recognize the differences between the sexes â€¦combat our respective weaknesses. The twist is that recently both males and females have been vulnerable. So, as far as safety goes, are men and women becoming equals on Rugby Road?
The situation has interesting implications for the whole male vs. female struggle. It's really frustrating to have to rely on others for our own especially in college where we are finally â€œindependent.â€ Independence is admired and relying on others is regarded as a weakness; for women, having to count on men to protect them can put them in a compromising position. and for men, showing weakness can undermine society's view of masculinity.
Now everything is changing. Men themselves aren't safe, as we've seen over the past two weeks. A society in which women were forced to need men â€“ where males would walk females home to protect them, and then walk home themselves â€“ is slowly evolving into a society in which men and women need each other.
We need to fight back. Part of this fighting back includes changing our attitudes, but part also is taking responsibility ourselves.
We resist learning self-defense because we believe we have just as much right to enjoy the University scene as anyone else does. For every student who spends time in a self-defense class to learn how to protect himself or herself, there are more who don't, who plan to stick near friends and just never put themselves â€œin a dangerous situation.â€ The least a class in self-defense will do is give a student self-confidence. Studies show that 44 percent of 600 women surveyed were able to avoid rape and deter the attacker. (I haven't seen statistics on men avoiding being attacked, but thatâ€™s another indication that things need to change.)
Recognizing that we have rights as students who want to enjoy themselves on Rugby Road means accepting responsibility for protecting those rights. Yes, we need the presence of police, but police arenâ€™t going to be upstairs in every bathroom. And as last weekâ€™s incident at Pi Lambda Phi showed us, those guest lists are necessary. What it comes down to is us as students taking responsibility for our own actions.
|Date Added||June 22, 2015|
|Date Modifed||April 19, 2018|
|Collection||Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination|
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