Time to Wake Up!
Mark Shefsiek stashed this
Some of my "friends" are rapists.
That is not really true because I will have no willing contact with people that commit such heinous behavior. However, I did know them as friends and roommates/hallmates in college.
They all are doing well some very well by the looks of Facebook. No worries.
Occasionally I feel sick about it. Upon reading the Rolling Stone article about the brutal gang rape of a young woman at U VA, I feel sick again. I have visited UVA a number of times over the past few years. They have a large Tibetan studies program and I attended numerous retreats outside of Charlottesville. The last time on campus I had this sickening feeling about it that I could only vaguely place and I have not been back for a couple of years nor will I go back anytime soon.
The sickness dates back to 1988 in Florida. I was at one of these parties mentioned in this article.
I was smart enough to never be interviewed by authorities and really didn't have anything useful to add and no one was prosecuted anyway. There were more instances than these stories. My sophomore year I was an RA and there were assaults and rapes in my dorm. I cannot really get the image of an unconscious half naked teenage girl in a shower out of my head. Nothing happened when I reported that event. In off campus house parties there were more. It really is not hard to spot and even more obvious when people told me about it.
I grew up self sheltered in an already sheltered Boston suburb. I didn't understand anything of rape and drugs or really even consensual sex. I learned how quickly "normal" people can become depraved given the right conditions. I also learned how there are full blown psychopaths. I also learned how groups and institutions protect their own and sacrifice the victims. I also self medicated and just tried to survive the worst 4 years of my life.
It seems that is not a unique college experience.
I am a devout Buddhist and believe that the suffering of all beings is of utmost importance. Our single goal is to at least reduce suffering. Yet, for that time I just watched and numbed my mind.
Later as a teacher and therapist, I listened and counseled people that were abused and a few abusers (also were abused). There were too many with spoken or unspoken histories suffering in the locked vaults of their minds.
I am so burnt out from the never ending stream of torture. As a 18 year old I could not understand how "friends" could rape "friends" or how people treated themselves and others with such reckless disregard for humanity. Nearly 30 years later I understand how and why and even ways to help but not many are prepared to listen or learn.
In 18 years my little baby girl and boy will be in college or moving out in the world. I sincerely hope these articles are still not being written about rape culture and received with momentary outrage (that someone or something looks bad). I hope but doubt it will be different.
This is not to say I have any grand answers but I do know that we need to talk about it in a confessional type of way that we, with all beings, are creating this unique suffering and we have to stop. We can't talk about it as men vs women or women vs men (although that is not to say there is not a difference). It has to be a discussion of the human mind that creates gender distinctions that leads to a subject objectifying another person and the inability of both to see their humanity. Rape and violence is conditioned, peace is innate. The violence we live with everyday is stripping us of our human potential. It has to stop!
Thanks for listening.
I will leave it with this as the shocked outrage escalates.
The Rolling Stone article is sickening:
Rape is NEVER acceptable.
Their other two friends, however, weren't convinced. "Is that such a good idea?" she recalls Cindy asking. "Her reputation will be shot for the next four years." Andy seconded the opinion, adding that since he and Randall both planned to rush fraternities, they ought to think this through. The three friends launched into a heated discussion about the social price of reporting Jackie's rape, while Jackie stood beside them, mute in her bloody dress, wishing only to go back to her dorm room and fall into a deep, forgetful sleep. Detached, Jackie listened as Cindy prevailed over the group: "She's gonna be the girl who cried 'rape,' and we'll never be allowed into any frat party again."
Two years later, Jackie, now a third-year, is worried about what might happen to her once this article comes out. Greek life is huge at UVA, with nearly one-third of undergrads belonging to a fraternity or sorority, so Jackie fears the backlash could be big – a "shitshow" predicted by her now-former friend Randall, who, citing his loyalty to his own frat, declined to be interviewed. But her concerns go beyond taking on her alleged assailants and their fraternity. Lots of people have discouraged her from sharing her story, Jackie tells me with a pained look, including the trusted UVA dean to whom Jackie reported her gang-rape allegations more than a year ago. On this deeply loyal campus, even some of Jackie's closest friends see her going public as tantamount to betrayal.
At UVA, rapes are kept quiet, both by students – who brush off sexual assaults as regrettable but inevitable casualties of their cherished party culture – and by an administration that critics say is less concerned with protecting students than it is with protecting its own reputation from scandal. Some UVA women, so sickened by the university's culture of hidden sexual violence, have taken to calling it "UVrApe."
The Rolling Stone article says there are now federal Title IX investigations of 86 schools suspected of denying students their equal right to education by inadequately handling sexual-violence complaints.
That's part delusion and part denial. Virginia can't be helped until it admits it has a problem.