“She’s the type of girl you need to fuck hard and rape in the woods.”
“Bitches are the craziest creatures”
“Dumb bitches learning their place…”
“Never hit a woman ever…. That being said, let’s formulate an excuse.”
– Quotes from American University’s Epsilon Iota Google Group thread
The above quotes were screenshots that were forwarded from American University’s (AU) unrecognized fraternity Epsilon Iota’s (EI) Google Group thread. An anonymous source sent screenshots of disturbing text messages and email threads to American University student media leaders and members of the University’s administration. EI is an unrecognized fraternity at AU in Washington, DC; the group lost its charter after an alleged date rape scandal in 2001. Though they are no longer officially recognized, they continue to operate of the campus of AU.
I write this post as I sit next to my peacefully sleeping, six -month old daughter. American University is nearly a stone throw away from where I am raising her. Reading through these disturbing text messages and emails, I wonder how I would be able to protect my little girl. How will I protect her from a society where groups of people still believe it socially acceptable to call a woman a “bitch”, strike a woman, or excuse the vial act of rape?
What is potentially shocking is that American University is not the only place where you can find this type of den of idiocy. Sadly, as we have seen in the news so often, rape (and this type of degrading behavior toward women) has become the ugly giant elephant that seems to be trouncing all over my beloved country. Americans are quick to point fingers at other countries for the atrocities that are committed against women; however, we often fail to recognize the horrible environments that so many American women face.
A few months ago, I met the Police Chief of a major police department in my area. This meeting was a result of a complaint that I had filed against the department after several police officers in his jurisdiction had mishandled evidence in a rape investigation, which ended up resulting in the arrest of a victim of sexual assault. While the Chief admitted that how his officers handled the evidence in this case “technically violated policy”, he was still unwilling to admit a deeper systemic issue.
This Chief then went on to explain how it was his belief that it is common for women to make false and malicious accusations of sexual assault. Though this statement shocked me, I decided to do my own informal poll of the good men that I know to see if the Chief’s theory held any weight. I thought, ‘If false accusations of sexual assault are so damn common, I must know several men who have been falsely accused of rape.’ Over the course of the next few weeks, I began to have this conversation with several of the men in my family and my close male friends. Overwhelmingly, they all stated that not only had they never been falsely accused of sexual assault, none of them had ever known anyone who had.
What occurred at American University is not a unique situation. In our country, we are suffering from the fact that many of the things these ignorant and barbaric men wrote are prevalent amongst even those in powerful positions. Given the statements of the Chief, it would appear as though he is of the belief that women often lie. He ignored the evidence that rape is often under-reported, and instead believed that women enjoy going around and crying rape.
While reading these quotes made me both angry and afraid, I was also hopeful. These quotes were disturbing, however, they started a conversation. I was hopeful that the voices of these poor excuses for men would be drowned out by the voices of the good men out there. This issue has long been a conversation amongst women. Women’s groups have continued to try and drown out the voices of the misinformed and backward men of our society. It is time that it becomes a conversation amongst the good men as well. This is not a female issue – this is not a male issue – this is a humanity issue.
Many of the good men who read this blog might also find themselves thinking about this issue while sitting next to their little girls. To the good men out there, whom share my sentiment of anger upon reading these quotes, I ask that you let your voice be heard. For your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, and the many women whom you may never get the chance to meet – be loud. Don’t let the voices of these barbarians be the only voices your daughters will hear. It should be the responsibility of all Americans to take back this conversation. Good men should be just as outraged about this behavior (if not more so) than women. Standing back and allowing these messages to strangle our society, however, is the same as standing in agreement.
And for the boys who wrote those nasty messages, try to consider that moment (likely many years from now) when you will be staring at your reflection through the eyes of your own daughter. Imagine looking at her face, covered in tears, as she tells you about how she has been sexually assaulted. I ask that you consider how you might respond, given that you were the same kind of man who has just now harmed an extension of yourself.