Sunday, March 27, 2011

After Women's History Month

What will you expect?
     After I speak at high schools [in the US], girls approach me to say that they have been raped, or they want to run away from home, or that they have a friend who is anorexic or alcoholic. At first all this trauma surprised me. Now I expect it.
     --1994: from Mary Pipher, Ph.D., "Saplings in the Storm," Reviving Ophelia
What will you do?
The TCU Police Department is offering a RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) class to all women in April. RAD is designed to help empower women by teaching simple, realistic self defense tactics and techniques. We also teach risk reduction and prevention through a system of personal safety and threat assessment skills.

Below are the dates, times and locations of the classes. YOU MUST ATTEND BOTH DAYS!Saturday, April 2 , 2011 1 – 7pm Rec Center, Room 44

Sunday, April 3 , 2011 1 – 7pm Rec Center, Multi-purpose Room 2

The 12 hour RAD class is offered at NO CHARGE.

Notebooks are provided.

Please wear athletic attire.

You may register online at or by calling Officer Christian at 817-257-7276.
     --Saturday, March 26, 2011: from Pam Christian, Crime Prevention Officer, TCU Police Department, 817-257-7276, 817-257-7715 fax

How might we change, if only to redefine some of our male-pre-dom-inant definitions?
Aristotle's treatise of rhetoric [is] gender blind.... [Likewise his treatise on politics is one by which w]omen, slaves, and children were relegated to the category of  "earthly possession" for which men bargained. To redefine women's position, feminist theories of rhetoric must critique this concept of language to determine if, and how, it can be made more inclusive. For how we assume language functions, more than anything else, determines how we read and write the cultural as well as the textual.
     --2006, 1996, from Krista Ratcliffe, Rhetorical Listening: Identification, Gender, Whiteness; Anglo-American Feminist Challenges to the Rhetorical Traditions: Virginia Woolf, Mary Daly, Adrienne Rich


Kristen said...

One change that seems necessary is to stop thinking of rape as a woman's problem-- something that only women need classes about trying to prevent. Why are there classes for women on how to defend themselves, but no classes for men on how to recognize attitudes and trends within themselves, their friends, and society in general, which leave a back door open for rape to happen?

J. K. Gayle said...

Why are there ... no classes for men on how to recognize attitudes and trends within themselves, their friends, and society in general, which leave a back door open for rape to happen?

Your question is extremely important! It's telling, isn't it, that the burden is only girls and women only to prevent rape?

The misogyny, gynophobia, and male-superior sexism are endemic to our society. The things my wife and I have had to say to our son, in this man pre-dom-inate society of ours, are different from what we've had to say to our daughters. Pipher says that, for adolescent girls, the parents are not the problem but can and must be part of the solution to a culture that marks young females and women -- but not young males or men -- as sex objects and as naturally vulnerable. But the parents are complicit too often; we really are.

For example, when my best friend, my life partner, my significant other, was a college student, her father refused to buy her a car (although he bought both of his sons cars as college students). "Boys need cars to take girls out on dates," he explained.

Another example from this week: my daughter going to college this fall received an email from my mom, who told her how concerned she is about her granddaugter going away to another state in the US. "It's not because you aren't intelligent or capable," mom told my daughter; "but you are a girl, and it's just dangerous there in that city for young ladies."

Even educators, even feminist college professors it seems, are often unprepared to address this burden. For instance, the faculty member teaching a graduate seminar on the rhetoric of women writers did not always get at how women are left with the responsibility for solving sexism. (To be fair, she did choose, humorously, to call the "seminar" an "ovinar." And she was teaching a class of us comprised of 20 with only 2 of us men. And she did have to confront reverse sexism.) But she expressed the fact that she'd never thought I'd have to confront my son on the dangers of being default, of his being one of the men among the rapists, of his individual need to address how his culture was creating, had already developed, the problems of sex disparities that favor his "gender" and his "sex."

You've inspired another post here at this blog. I wonder what others may have done or might be doing or could do more to confront the problem of girl-only education and woman-exclusive rape prevention?

J. K. Gayle said...

It's been a crazy weekend. Here's Saturday's news in the TCU student newspaper (picking up reporter Danny Robbins's AP story) concerning rape allegations first made five years ago. The alleged rapists were "expelled from the university for violating a policy against inflicting bodily injury or emotional harm." This action clearly was not justice enough or at all for the "former Texas Christian University coed" making the "allegations that she was sexually assaulted by three Horned Frog athletes." The entire TCU student newspaper article is here. Kristen's question in the comment above remains a very important one!

Kristen said...

Wow. I guess these guys' athletic prowess and the money/name they could make for the university was more important than the safety of the other students. Nobody in authority apparently thought it important to take any precautions or keep tabs on young men entering the university with criminal records. And this was supposed to be a "Christian" university!

The only thing TCU can say is that the woman's claims were "blown out of proportion"? Wow.