Advice for My College Boy On Campus Sexual Assaults On Women

 

Animal House

Animal House

I came at my son with a yellow legal pad a week before he was scheduled to go away to college.

Olivia Pope, from Scandal

Olivia Pope, from Scandal

I didn’t want to wait until the day before or burden him while he was imprisoned in the car with me for the long ride. I needed to  do my duty, read him his rights, duties, and responsibilities.  I needed to know that he knows stuff  —  because he heard it from me.

One of the many topics  I addressed was the issue of college campus sexual assaults on women.  Fun, huh?

The Waterboy and his Mama

The Waterboy and his Mama

I started with saying that I have no reason to think that he would do any of this stuff I was about to talk about, but that

I have to have said it, and

He has to listen.

The boy shook his head, gave the kind of chuckle  that told  he knew he didn’t have a choice, and I talked. This is what I said, and I hope, I so hope, that  he really heard me:

1.  If she’s too drunk to say no, then she’s too drunk to say yes.  If anyone does anything to a woman while she is incapable of consenting, it’s rape.

2.  If she appears to be consenting, but also appears to be inebriated (or drugged) to the extent that her spoken consent, even her requests or begging for physical attention, are not made wisely, then walk away.   Guys can say no, too.   It’s not  passing up on the only opportunity.  Some situations are just not right and absolutely not worth it.  “Nope, you’re too drunk.”  Wise words.

3.  Consent can be withdrawn, at any time.  And it can have limits.  A person can consent to one thing, but not another.  She can consent to one guy, but not another.  If there’s ever a no, everything stops.

4. No matter what a women wears, or what she has done in the past, or how she dances, or even if she flashes, or offers to put on a show for the guys,  no one has the right to touch her in any way unless she gives consent, real consent, anew, each time.

The Accused.

The Accused.

5.  Be a hero.   “You think you’re a superhero anyway, so be a hero,” is what I said.

Batman vs Superman

If you see other guys violating these rules , do not walk away.

Save her.  

Women usually travel in packs.  If a girl is in trouble or heading that way, find one of her girlfriends and tell her.  It can be as simple as,

“Go get your girl, she needs to get out of here.”

Her true friends will take her back to her dorm.  If there’s no time for that, you can, I told him,  directly stop the guy or guys from crossing the line.  It doesn’t have to be a big scene or physical, just a,

“Dude, she’s too drunk, she said no, let her go,” should suffice.

And, get her out of there.

Now, as an attorney mother of a boy,  I must say that I’m not entirely comfortable with him being the one last seen leaving alone with a woman — drunk or sober — who was about to be or has been  assaulted.  The real perpetrators or their buddies might try to redirect the blame to my son, the one who was actually the hero, as the man last seen with a victim of assault.

She was fine when she was here, but she left with him,”

— is not something I want my superhero son to have to defend or discredit.  There is safety in numbers — and witnesses.

So I advised him to go ahead and remove a woman from harm — publicly — then  find  girlfriends and if necessary call someone with authority — a Resident Advisor, Campus Police, or Security,  or actual police.  Do the right thing, be a hero,  but do it safely for her and for yourself.

I told him that it’s just  not okay to allow, ignore, or leave someone in danger.   Remaining silent is morally wrong, encouraging it can be criminal.

In The Accused, he watched.  Although he eventually called for help, it was  too late.

In The Accused this guy watched. Although he eventually called for help, it was too late.

Yes, I re-watched The Accused over the Summer.   Thanks, Netflix.  I think.

I want my son to learn and  have fun in college, and be respectful, mindful, helpful, do the right thing, and be a hero if necessary.  That’s not so much to ask.

Just Me With . . . words of advice for my son.  

This was only one part of the multi-page outline I approached him with, poor kid.

I pray he never has to use this advice, but if a bad situation presents itself, I hope he remembers what his mama taught him, and also what Shawn Spencer said in one of his favorite shows, Psych:

Psych

Psych

You know that’s right.

 

Wait, Am I Supposed To Miss Him, Already?

Going Away To School — Staying There!

Ladies, Raise Your Hand!  —  What I Learned from The Paper Chase and Sheryl Sandberg 

Advertisements

5 responses

  1. I wish this had a LOVE button! I really love #5….be a hero.

    My oldest son went so far as to spearhead, with a group of other students and faculty, a task force on preventing sexual assault against women on campus. Might be something for your superhero to consider, too? I think it may make them stick out a bit at a party and have a wet blanket effect on any of the guys who might consider such behavior in that time and place anyway. Ya know….”Keep cool, H is here, and he’s all into protecting women.” 🙂

  2. When I took my daughter to school last year, I saw an advertisement for a self defense class and said she should sign up. And she said, Why can’t they have a class to teach men not to attack women? It just seemed so simple and something I’d never thought of.

  3. Another great entry!! I wish the college would give this out as announcement, not everyone has a good mum.

  4. Really great post and excellent advice. I will definitely be sharing this with my son and will put in front of his friends’ moms as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: