Adult-ish: Alcohol isn't the problem, sexual assault is
Audrey Bowers is a junior English education major and writes "Adult-ish" for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Audrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When it comes to Ball State’s decision to not allow 13 fraternities to have alcohol at their events, I am relieved that some action is being taken by the university, but I am still concerned about the well being of women on this campus.
When we say that a man sexually assaulted a woman because he got a little too drunk, there’s very little if any responsibility placed upon him. I doubt that this three-month probation will completely rid Ball State of its sexual assault issue. It’s a start, but we need to have some change happening in the hearts and minds of men and women alike to see real change.
Ever since my freshman year at Ball State, I have felt uncomfortable because of overheard conversations, of men catcalling me and other women, and most importantly of the unrelenting emails I receive that are reporting sexual assault.
The conversations I overhear involve guys talking about their pursuits of "getting laid" as if they are entitled to women’s bodies — for whatever reason — and as if women are not worthy of their time unless they decide to "put out" for them. This is not all men of course, but it’s many men — enough to make me want to crawl out of my skin or scream at the top of my lungs.
I can’t forget the emails. When I almost feel as if I've forgotten the last reported sexual assault, there’s a shiny, brand new reminder waiting in my inbox. I have felt infuriated that nothing was being done, and now I’m still infuriated that the change that actually needs to happen may not.
I cannot tell you how many times I have walked around in broad daylight frightened while thinking about the steps I would have to take to avoid being sexually assaulted, or heaven forbid, what the hell I would actually do after being sexually assaulted.
Like many other women, I tell myself that I would report the sexual assault, that I would fight for justice and not be quiet about it. Yet I can’t help to wonder; how can I be absolutely certain that I would report my sexual assault and that I wouldn’t be quiet until justice has been served?
With the attitudes surrounding this issue, there really is no wonder why more women aren’t reporting their assaults. As women, we are collectively screaming for help, and it’s as if no one can hear us and as if people are choosing to ignore our voices. There is a refusal to admit that there truly is a problem with the way that we have raised our sons and daughters.
Boys are taught to pursue girls, and that if a girl acts as if she doesn’t like you, then she’s playing hard to get. Girls are taught that if a boy is mean to you, that he secretly likes you. Girls are also taught to not dress promiscuously and to not be “asking for it.” Both boys and girls are not being taught consent as often as they should be in schools, and the lesson that they receive all too late -- on consent freshman year in a physical education class -- is often not taken seriously enough.
In order for anything to change, our mindsets must change. We must see men as capable of controlling themselves and making the choice to not violate women. We must also see women as not deserving of rape regardless of their dress or life choices. This has never been an issue with alcohol, this has been an issue of how men are taught that they are superior to women and therefore don’t have to accept “no,” as an answer.