When I was in college, in the bygone days of typewriters and corded phones, there was a rumor of a gang rape on campus. A “town” girl had gone back to a fraternity house with a boy, and several others ended up having sex with her against her will.
Or so the story went. Many on campus fumed, avoided the suspected rapists and waited for the college administration or the police to act. Months went by. Nothing happened.
We graduated and went our separate ways. I suspect that the officials involved — not to mention the young men — were relieved. But regardless of what really happened that night at the frat house, the way it went unaddressed instilled distrust in me, and perhaps in thousands of others who were on campus at the time: Would people in charge stand up for women’s safety and dignity?
Having to ask ourselves that question meant we lost some innocence about the world we were about to fully enter. And it raised the possibility that, maybe, ignoring ugly realities is right. The smart thing to do. (more…)