I just graduated high school and went to orientation at college recently.
We had to watch a play the older students put on for us about college issues we might deal with when we went to school. Some of them were funny and lighthearted, some of them were very serious and hard to watch. One of the little clips was a girl talking about how she and her male friend got super smashed and then she inevitably got raped by her supposed “friend”. Then, her consoling friend told the girl about all the resources available to her, like the health center and people she could call and such.
It seemed off to me. It took me a few minutes to put my finger on it. But after a few minutes, I realized what was wrong with the scene: It was sorta like victim blaming.
Later, fellow students and I were sitting in a circle and discussing what we thought about the play with our Orientation Advisors (older students helping out). And I had to say something about that scene. At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to. After all, I had just met these people. I didn’t want to get the reputation as the weird girl right off the bat. But I can’t change who I am, so might as well get it out in the open! After a bit, I raised my hand. And I told the group how although I thought the scene about resources for rape victims was important, I thought there should be another little clip to compliment it–the guy’s side. There should be a scene with a guy saying, “Oh shit! I had one to many drinks and raped that girl and now I’m in jail and my life is screwed over forever.” Or some lecture on saying, “Don’t be that creepy rapist guy. Everyone will hate you.” Or something! Something should be said about preventing rape. Yes, it’s important to know the resources available for if it happens. Ignoring a reality won’t change anything. But we need to do more! Having all the focus on what the victim should do is counterproductive, because we forget to take a moment and say, “Don’t rape.” Honestly. There should be some moment taken to say, “Drinking too much is not an excuse for going to far.” Or “A few more drinks won’t count as a yes.” Or, I don’t know. Someone more creative than me could come up with better slogans. But you get the idea.
I was kinda very angry about that and didn’t even realize it until I started explaining it to the group. Fortunately, nobody thought I was super weird (at least, nobody said so). Some other people even agreed with me! One of the OA’s was like, “Woah! I said a similar thing earlier and nobody listened to me!” Then he promised to send an email to the writer of the play (I guess it’s a common play to put on at colleges) and tell her my suggestion. Hopefully he emails her. I reminded him later.
I don’t know if that email will do anything. But it was all I could do at the time.