An Open Letter to Conservatives and Chastity Educators

[Warning: may be triggering for survivors of sexual assault/rape]

Dear Aforementioned,

This week is V-Week at Dartmouth. And no, the V in V-Week and V-Day does not refer to vagina. It refers to violence: violence against women and girls, structural and individual, domestic and sexual, and the horrendous repercussions it has on the entire community. And so, in honor of V-week, and like any good student of new media, I decided to post an article about the evils of victim-blaming on my facebook.

I found several articles–on Feministe.com, Salon.com, Jezebel.com, various blogs with various degree of  radical feminist leanings. Each time I tried to post, a helpful thumbnail declared the link courtesy of Planned Parenthood. Yippee.

Surely, I thought, I could find a more friendly source. Surely the Love and Fidelity Network, whose mission is proclaiming the sexual dignity of all, would have something helpful. This is what I found.

http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_1_campus_rape.html

and this.

http://www.loveandfidelity.org/blog/index.php/2011/05/17/take-back-the-slut-by-cassandra-hough/

I found a piece about how rape statistics are the inventions of angry feminists coupled with the mistakes of libidinous coeds, and a tour de force of rape-excusing, victim-blaming pablum couched in terms of gentle admonishment to stricter sexual mores.

I wish I could say this abysmal dearth of any remotely helpful treatment of rape is the exception. Unfortunately, it is the rule. It is the rule to treat sexual assault as a soapbox to decry the sexual revolution, to casually appropriate the sufferings of sexual assault survivors as cannon-fodder in the culture war, with only minimal evidence of real concern or thoughtfulness. It is the rule to buffer assumptions and attitudes that normalize sexual assault with blithe unconcern for any damage done except to ideological lockstep within the conservative community.

I have had enough. If you are reading this, someone you know, very probably someone you care for deeply, has survived at least attempted sexual assault. One in four college women will experience attempted rape at some point in her life. And so might the men you love. One of my best friends  was drugged, raped, and murdered one month ago–and in case you were wondering, no, he wasn’t showing any cleavage. To Love and Fidelity Network and the entire movement you spearhead: until this changes, you get not one dime of my money, not one word of my support, not one minute of my time at your conferences and clubs.

Until you show that you have thought long and hard about sexual violence without subordinating it to your agenda, until you privilege women and men over ideology; until you cease to be a part of the problem of rape culture– I want nothing to do with you.

Sincerely,

Clare

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