As the self-appointed chronicler of rape culture for Mama PhD, I should probably be grateful to the universe for writing my post for me this week.
Seriously, despite the horrendous woman abuse that's been reported recently, even the fact that these alleged crimes are being taken seriously represents an advance from when I was growing up.
I have described here before (and readers have shared similar recollections) the culture of intimidation on campus in the early 1970s. A number of male college students apparently still consider preying on female students to be good clean fun--but women and men who disagree are speaking up -- and being heard. Yale has banned the fraternity whose members led pledges to chant "No means yes! Yes means anal!" from conducting activities on campus for five years.
Cal Poly has formed a task force to examine how campus culture may have contributed to three alleged rapes on campus. Most encouraging is the assertion that the fact that the victims were drunk and passed out does not mean that they were in any way to blame.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn's assault, if true, was disgusting and reprehensible. (And, yes, I know, Arnold Schwarzenegger.) But in my day, public figures were protected by the old boys' network from the consequences of their abuse of women, particularly lower-status women.
Obviously, this isn't to say that the victims ought to be grateful, or that the climate has changed enough so that we can all relax and move on to the next issue. But amid all the outrage, I do think there are glimmers of hope.
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