Scott Walker on Sexual Assault Reporting

Scott Walker is trying to remove the investigation and adjudication of rape cases from the hands of deanlings, deanlets and deanoids of all stripes. He is also suggesting measures that will weaken the association of college and rape.

We all know how much I detest Walker but, people, this is long overdue. Every year, I have to sign long and humiliating statements swearing to heaven and earth that I will report any instances of pedophilia that I might observe (in a university where half of the students are older than me and nobody underage is even allowed to appear on campus). Nobody ever asked me to sign similar letters about witnessing murder, battery, robbery, theft, mugging, etc. In my opinion, this really trivializes sexual assault because it is being singled out as something that a highly educated and alert person like myself would not even identify as a crime without mile-long documents to the effect.

And the whole “colleges are rape nests” propaganda is also really stupid. It has nothing to do with reality. Rape exists everywhere and singling out colleges is ridiculous. As if the young people who are denied education for whatever reason experienced less sexual assault than the people who do get educated. 

I believe it will be great if we all just stopped fear-mongering about the horrible danger that awaits women if they try to get an education. There is crime on campus. There is crime outside of campus. Let’s battle crime instead of reinforcing a worldview where women who venture into the spaces of knowledge put themselves at an enormous risk of rape that they would avoid if they chose to lock themselves at home and never peek outside.

I also believe that Walker’s plan to overturn

the requirement that the Board direct each institution and college campus to incorporate oral and written or electronic information on sexual assault in its orientation program for newly entering students and to supply all students enrolled in the institution or college campus with the same information in either printed or electronic form

is a great idea. (And believe me, I feel extraordinarily weird mentioning the words “Scott Walker” and “great idea” in the same sentence.) I do not think that any useful purpose is served by mentioning sexual assault as part of the activities for incoming students. To the contrary, this creates an intolerable environment for the students who will, from the start, begin to associate the acquisition of knowledge specifically with sexual violation. Conduct a little experiment to see if I’m right. Ask an older colleague who holds a superior position to yours to come by your office or cubicle several times a day and say “There is danger of rape. Rape. Rape statistics. There is rape in this space.” And compare your productivity before and after that. 

I will never understand why we can’t all just accept the idea that rape is a crime just like any other crime and that it has to be investigated by police and prosecuted in the court of law irrespective of where it happens and to whom. OK, I’m being coy, I do understand. Rape is too convenient a tool to terrorize young women into compliance and justify helicoptering around college-age people to protect them from growing up.

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