“Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there.”
―Kurt Cobain (1967–1994)
What with rape on college campuses grabbing headlines over the past year, Washington Square Park has become a silent protest ground against this heinous crime. This is significant because the park serves as the front and backyards for students of New York University. These are a few of the chalk images found in Washington Square Park recently.
“The fact is, rape is utterly commonplace in all our cultures. It is part of the fabric of everyday life, yet we all act as if it’s something shocking and extraordinary whenever it hits the headlines. We remain silent, and so we condone it. Until rape, and the structures —sexism, inequality, tradition—that make it possible, are part of our dinner-table conversation with the next generation, it will continue. Is it polite and comfortable to talk about it? No. Must we anyway? Yes.”
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1931– )
The hash tag #stoprapeeducate has appeared in chalk messages on the Square’s paving stones frequently over the past month. Although the medium is temporary, washing and fading away with each rain storm and under the footsteps of many passers-by, the persistence of the chalk artists ensures that the message remains visible.
Here are some statistics about rape on U.S. college campuses. They were found at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center’s website.
• Every 21 hours there is another rape on an American college campus.
• Men in fraternities appear to engage in more non-physical coercion and use of drugs and alcohol as a sexual strategy than do independents.
• Ninety percent of all campus rapes occur under the influence of alcohol.
• Men are more likely than women to assume that a woman who drinks alcohol on a date is a willing sex partner.
• Forty percent of men who think this way also believe it is acceptable to force sex on an intoxicated woman.
• Of the college women who are raped, only 25% describe it as rape.
• Of the college women who are raped, only 10% report the rape.
• One in twelve college-age men admit having fulfilled the prevailing definition of rape or attempted rape, yet virtually none of these men identify themselves as rapists.
“Abolition of a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State.”
—Edward Abbey (1927–1989, American author)