Thank you, UVA! Thank you for making some new rules when it comes to parties.
Ok, Great! So progress is being made with all of this awareness.
And one of the gifts of the Internet is that we get our news faster than ever before and we can help make more people aware of dangerous issues.
Issues like binge drinking and sexual assault on college campuses.
I LOVE it that UVA fraternities are creating all of these new rules for their parties.
I am not quite sure how they are going to make sure the new rules will be enforced.
Rules that say that sober brothers will be guarding the stairs leading up to the residential part of the frat house and that a private security officer will be checking people in with a guest list.
If that really happens, I think that will help everyone "party safely."
When I do my Alcohol Awareness Talks on college campuses, one of my points about alcohol is that it is the most lobbied, advertised drug in the world.
And when it is consumed, it affects every organ in the body, which includes the frontal lobe part of the brain where we do our "logical" thinking.
Which is why it's a great practice to have sober drivers and sober brothers and sisters and chaperones when possible.
However, this is just the beginning. We have all got to change our conversations in this culture.
In a recent study, 1 out of 3 males admitted that they would be okay with forcing sexual intercourse on someone, but that they would not call it rape.
I am not condoning this attitude or behavior, but I understand where it is coming from.
There are still too many mixed messages about sex, women, drinking, college, behavior, social standards and norms.
There is a double standard about drunk college students.
There was an email floating around at a college in VA among fraternity brothers stating intentions to "get the girls drunk and get it on."
Most people think of rape as the stranger in the bushes with the ski mask on.
Yes, strangers can be a threat, but not nearly as much or as often as acquaintance rape. Just because you know the person or you go to school with them does NOT mean it's not rape.
Being drunk is not consent. Passing out in someone's bed or car or couch does not mean consent.
We have to educate everyone that any kind of sexual touch or penetration that is unwanted or not agreed with is sexual assault.
We have to make it uncool to have shirts that say: Stay Calm and Rape On.
We have to make it absolutely wrong to make any statements, written or oral, that discusses getting schoolmates intoxicated and then taking advantage of their incapacitation.
Somewhere, in the past culture, this sort of attitude was prevalent and became an acceptable, though unspoken norm.
Thankfully, partly because of social media, and access to news and events at unprecedented speed, we are starting to wake up in our culture.
We are finally starting to say: Hey, this is not ok. And it's not ok to bash the victims. It's not ok to post pictures of girls passed out in compromising positions or places.
David Lisak, is a world-renowned researcher on violence with interpersonal relationships. His study that went on for 20 years in Boston found that the college men he interviewed admitted
to (and in some cases, actually bragged about) having sex by using force or with intoxicated partners, but they did NOT consider this actual rape.
Lisak did not use the term rape in his questionnaires. He used other words to describe sexual penetration and sexual behavior, but he just called it different names.
There is a lot of confusion here.
I personally have heard college administrators confuse "sexual behavior" with "sexual assault."
I have also heard and seen "sexual misbehavior" used when describing "sexual assault."
I can see how this adds to the confusion of what is okay and acceptable and what is not.
We have to clean up our speaking.
We have to clean up our advertising that objectifies women and men.
We have to stop using phrases like: "Well, it's tradition."
I am all for tradition. I love this country.
And it's time to let go of things that don't work anymore.
And so, I congratulate UVA for taking steps to insure the safety of its students.
But there is still much progress to be made.