Opinion sexual assault at mit

Addressing rape culture at the Institute

As sexual assault becomes more apparent on college campuses, how can MIT do better?

Editor’s note: This article, which is part one of a two-part series, contains explicit references to rape and sexual assault. Part two was published on Feb. 11.

What is rape culture?

One in six women will survive rape in their lifetime. One in 33 men will survive rape in their lifetime, although the ratio is often believed to be much higher — up to one in six men — since it is thought that male survivors are less likely to report the crime. LGBQ people are more than twice as likely to survive rape and sexual assault as straight individuals; one in two Trans* people are survivors. One in four women will survive a rape or attempted rape by the time she finishes college. An article published in this week’s Boston Globe stated that reports of sexual assaults at Boston-area schools have risen nearly 40 percent between 2008-2012, at a 10-year high. At MIT specifically, there were six reported rapes in 2010, seven in 2011, and twelve in 2012. Additionally, no one reported any forcible fondling in 2010 and 2011, but three did in 2012. The silver lining is that the increase in reports may be due to better access to resources for reporting, but the majority of rapes still go unreported.

Statistically speaking, most of us know at least one survivor of rape, so why is more not being done to prevent such a heinous crime? This inaction can be largely attributed to the presence of rape culture in society. This article, the first of a two-part series, describes rape culture and examines its effects here at MIT.

Drawing from Wikipedia for a concise definition, “rape culture is a concept that links rape and sexual violence to the culture of a society, and in which prevalent attitudes and practices normalize, excuse, tolerate, and even condone rape.” That is, rape culture manifests itself when instances of rape and sexual assault are frequently downplayed, excused, or even endorsed by individuals, institutions, and the media. In many cases, the public sympathizes with the perpetrator and even blames survivors for their own assault. Moreover, the public treats accusations of rape much differently than other crimes: victims are questioned as to why they didn’t work harder to prevent it, while alleged perpetrators are given the benefit of the doubt. Think of how the media responded to the Steubenville rape case from last year, where the media focused on how the woman should not have drunk so much while lamenting the ruined “bright futures” of the perpetrators. Or you may have heard someone say that a woman was “asking for it” or a survivor “just led a guy on.”

Our criminal justice system perpetuates rape culture with laws and policies that allow lawyers and juries to blame survivors for the rape, making it extremely difficult to convict rape perpetrators (only an estimated 2–4 percent of rape perpetrators are convicted). The media perpetuates the myth that rapists are only the “strangers in the bushes,” though two-thirds of them are people the victim already knows. Media imagery sexualizes and normalizes rape, implying that there are “blurred lines” when it comes to consent for sex and sexual contact.

Sexual violence is more frequently perpetrated against people of color and LGBQA and Trans* people. In addition to misogyny and sexism, rape culture intersects with racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and many other types of oppression. All are contributing factors to a culture that permits people to inflict pain on others — be they male, female, transgender, genderqueer, or of another gender; whether they be asexual, queer, bisexual, lesbian, gay, straight, or of another sexual orientation.

Verily, rape is an act of violence and power, not sex. The way a person looks, dresses, dances, or acts is never a substitute for sexual consent, and the absence of a “no” does not automatically register as a “yes” in the arena of sexual consent.

In July of 2013, college students from across the country gathered outside the Department of Education headquarters insisting that the administration do more to act as oversight for colleges regarding requirements of preventing sexual assault and rape on their campuses. At that time, the DOE was barely enforcing its own policies of reporting these crimes, and had few measures in place to prevent them on college campuses. Moreover, these students demanded that universities do more to punish perpetrators. Essentially, these students were protesting the most dramatic manifestations of rape culture on college campuses across the country. President Obama pledged this January to develop a White House Task Force On Protecting Students From Sexual Assault, with a 90-day turnaround on recommendations for actions colleges can take to uphold student rights to safe and violence-free campuses.

Is rape culture present at MIT?

Rape culture manifests itself in social media and public art, from student group publications to the party scene. There are pre-existing, structural conditions that are necessary for fostering an environment where rape culture is socially acceptable. One important condition is a general lack of a community-wide conversation regarding sexual assault and rape. With this article, we hope to at least begin to fill this communication void.

Perhaps the most prevalent and insidious forms of rape culture at MIT is the alarming frequency with which alcohol is used as a weapon to target individuals. This is the aspect of rape culture that most directly impacts the safety of many students. Instead of placing the onus of preventing rape on the potential perpetrators — men in 9 out of 10 rape situations — people often tell women what to do to prevent assault: they should drink less, not walk around late at night, carry a whistle or pepper spray, not wear something so “provocative”, or should not “lead a guy on.” For instance, many women who attend a party together will have pre-determined rules and signs for each other if they are in a potentially dangerous situation. But rarely, if ever, do men have any agreed-upon rules to ensure that their peers are not committing assault. The onus continues to be placed on potential victims to ensure their own safety, while little action is taken to teach people to not commit rape — the glaring fallacy of that logic is the assumption that rape is inevitable. But rape — like misogyny, racism, and homophobia — is not inevitable.

Another example of rape culture includes posts and comments on social media platforms. Two frequently visited social media sites at MIT are the “MIT Confessions” page on Facebook and isawyou.mit.edu. Sometimes people use the sites as legitimate methods for connecting with others, or simply for venting. Many individuals, however, exploit the sites’ structures to post voyeuristic remarks on others that they have seen. Indeed, others need only peruse either site for a few minutes to find as many as a dozen examples. For instance, one post we found was about someone trying to catch glances at another person changing their clothes. While these sites tout their openness and claim that the poster takes “full responsibility” for whatever they post, these creepy and offensive posts still come through. Just as The Tech controls what is published in their paper, depending on their standards and ethics, these sites ought to have a set of guidelines for what is reasonable and what is not.

Voo Doo, MIT’s student-run humor paper, is also a toxic influence on campus. This publication receives funding from the Undergraduate Association (UA), which in turn receives almost all of its funding from students’ tuition and student life fees. Yet Voo Doo is known to have published multiple offensive, harassing cartoons and articles. Thus, students may be surprised to learn that their money is used to fund a “satirical” publication that has published rape cartoons, which actively trivialize a devastating and traumatic crime. Voo Doo has previously defended its graphic depictions of sexual assault under grounds of free speech, humor, and pushing boundaries. Making “jokes” out of sexual assault survivors is neither humorous nor inventive. Rather, it simply maintains the status quo by belittling them in one of the most painful ways possible and normalizing such horrendous acts of violence. In addition to depictions of sexual assault, the publication satirizes racial violence with depictions of lynching and the Holocaust.

We call on the Undergraduate Association and the Association of Student Activities to take a strong stance against rape culture and cease funding for Voo Doo unless the publication agrees to refrain from using sexual assault for the sake of jokes.

Finally, a recent example that received a great deal of press was the removal of murals in Burton-Conner due to Title IX violations. We feel that the core of the issue was miscommunication and misinformation: students conflated guidelines in the “Mind and Hand Book” with federal law under Title IX, but different murals were removed under either grounds. Students, especially in responses in The Tech, focused energies onto a blanket defense of free speech and public art (in a privately owned residential space, we might add). But why was the key issue of the violent and offensive content of the murals violating Title IX ignored? Where were The Tech articles that dissected why certain BC residents wanted to keep the murals while others felt unsafe or sexually harassed by them? Whenever students, faculty, or staff attempted to start those discussions, they were quickly and fiercely shot down by the same types of individuals proclaiming “freedom of speech,” a mantra that many assume shields them from criticism but in fact often further silences assault and harassment survivors. We ask that students, faculty, and administrators work together — via, e.g., the new Title IX Working Group composed of students — to understand not only Title IX and living group culture, but also the underlying problem of rape culture prevalent across the nation and at MIT.

Debunking “freedom of speech” arguments

A common defense of the preceding behaviors is that those who perpetuate rape culture are simply exercising their freedom of speech. This argument is both incorrect and harmful. We have federal, state, and campus-wide legal policies, like Title IX, Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, and the MIT Mind and Hand Book, respectively, to protect people from “hate speech” and harassing language and behavior, and in many cases this legislation was hard-won by communities of survivors and activists. Moreover, MIT as a private university has more autonomy in regulating speech than many people think it does.

We also find the free speech defense harmful and misinformed because what supposed “free speech” advocates fail to realize is that those fighting against rape culture are usually not trying to make it illegal for anyone to speak their mind. Indeed, it is rare to find anyone pushing for legislation to ban rape “jokes” or misogynistic language — both of which contribute to rape culture. Rather, people who speak up against such language do so because words have consequences. When someone makes a joke, the group being laughed at matters. When you make an offensive comment about rape, the comment targets rape survivors — and when you defend such statements with your “right to free speech,” you suppress survivors into silence and trivialize their traumatic experiences. Writing people off as “easily offended” or “sensitive” perpetuates rape culture through the normalization of sexual assault, and perpetuates a culture of shame and silence for survivors.

In the next part of this series, we will continue to discuss the specific steps we can take as a community to eradicate rape culture.

Cory Hernandez is a member of the class of 2014, Mitali Thakor is a graduate student in the department of Science, Technology, and Society, Charlie Andrews-Jubelt is a member of the class of 2017, and Chacha Durazo is a member of the class of 2014.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

A very important issue to bring to the forefront of discussion. I had no idea that 1 in 6 women experience rape - extremely sad and scary.

On the flip side, I think it's a bit much to cut funding from Voo Doo...

Antony Donovan, '94 almost 10 years ago

I think your attack on humor demonstrates a massive lack of understanding of its purpose. I was raped at the age of 8 and I don't find jokes about pedophilia offensive or hurtful because I understand that few if any of the people telling such jokes would support the rape of children. Rather, those people are trying to deal with the horror of such acts in a way that doesn't incapacitate. This seems quite sensible. You shouldn't so easily dismiss the importance of catharsis.

To apply your view to jokes about pedophilia would require that I remain a victim of that crime. I quite disrespectively refuse.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

Antony while you may not find certain jokes offensive because of the way you've managed to cope with what has happened to you, others may be unable to cope in the same way. I feel that just because you personally do not find it offensive doesn't mean the authors have any less of an understanding of the matters involved here. It just means you cope with your abuse differently. I am glad you no longer see yourself as a victim and have found the strength within yourself to not be offended by certain jokes, but I think just because certain acts do not affect you doesn't mean others should entertain the idea of giving these actions a pass.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

Actual debate requires a sustained analysis of both sides, to understand the interests and opinions of all involved. Many of the suggestions in this otherwise worthy article infringe on the cited parties' ability to respond, insisting on censorship and bans to carry out its goal of "eliminating rape culture".

However, these methods are self-destructive. Bans and censors do nothing to change habits, it only hides them; which, in the case of something such as rape culture, causes more harm than good. Furthermore, it does nothing to change people's habits; just as people like different things on Facebook, or care passionately about internet causes, in their actual private lives they may do nothing of the sort.

At a school such as MIT, where intellectual discussions are encouraged, it is all the more important to allow the various actors in this drama to air their opinions in a proper manner. Censorship does nothing here, where students know how to bypass the tools employed by authority figures to "get the message out there"; and where such activity is encouraged by a culture that has a healthy disdain for societal norms.

I would encourage the authors to re-examine their objections to literature, pictures and the likes that they claim portray sexual assault, and especially their assault on the defense of freedom of speech. Juxtaposing societally offensive imagery on an issue is an example of hyperbole; using it to highlight another evil in society that may otherwise go unnoticed, or causing others to be introspective about themselves. In the cases presented in this article, I believe that the artists were aiming to do just that. Indeed, the authors of this article should be joyous that such behaviour is allowed; elsewise, it is quite possible that sexual assault would not have the attention it does now, without it being put in focus of other societal evils.

I appreciate the stated intent of this article; to highlight rape culture at MIT. Unfortunately, I do not think the article does this. Instead, it focuses very little on examples, and a lot on what it thinks should be done to inhibit something it spends a minority of the article describing. This failure does more harm than good. Hopefully Part II will live up to the stated goals more than Part I.

Antony Donovan, '94 almost 10 years ago

3, you completely misunderstand. The jokes are not unoffensive, they are helpful. They lessened and helped eliminate the horror. This is true of humor in many regards (Jewish comics make jokes about the Holocaust). Humor is often about painful topics. Would you suppress all of it? Also, you seem to feel that how I handled my rape (and how some handle the Holocaust) is not valid for anyone but me and so can be dismissed. As someone who has been raped, I feel that you are telling me to shut up. That I just don't get it. That how I handled what happened to me isn't valid. That others get to decide what is.

Do you honestly believe that no one associated with VooDoo has been sexually assaulted?

Anonymous almost 10 years ago




Anonymous almost 10 years ago

Does being sexually assaulted give you the right to decide how other people deal with their sexual assault? I don't think the comment above wants you to be quiet - I value your perspective, but only if you also value mine.

Most people don't want to be reminded, and they certainly don't want their tuition money going to pay for a reminder. I also think the most famous rape cartoon of voodoo depicted a women getting bent over - the rape jokes more often than not feature women and remind me that people think it's OK to joke about doing violence to me.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

7: and if that cartoon happened to be drawn by a woman who had been sexually assaulted, what then?

By denying someone the chance to deal with their assault through humor you are doing exactly what you accuse others of doing.

Furthermore, having actually seen the cartoon you seem to be refering to I can say it also does not do what either you or the article writers say it does. The actual subject and intent of the cartoon is clear it is about protesting the things that have been forced on the student body and nothing to do with legitimizing violence. please support your contentions about "the rape jokes" and their supposed statistics with factual examples if you can. One deliberately misinterpreted example from years ago is kind of weak, surely you must be brimming with others if they are "more often than not"?

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

Apparently at some point in the past few years, it became appropriate to rename rape victims as "survivors". This article uses "survivor" 16 times but "victim" only 3. I'm guessing this was done to emphasize the severity of the act, but I have a major problem with this language:

You "survive" a tornado, a house fire, or a car crash. You "survive" being lost in the wilderness. You "survive" cancer. The word's connotation implies that the event is tragic, but not directly someone else's fault. Conversely, "victim" heavily implies an attacker who is solely at fault.

Furthermore, "survivor" strikes me as overly sappy, which starts the discussion off on the wrong foot. It's like when there's an abortion debate and one person starts off with, "so you just love killing cute little babies, huh?" Yeah, we're not getting anywhere. Let's be clear here: very few rape victims' lives are in danger at any point.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

I agree wholeheartedly that rape culture is a real and pervasive menace to society. However, I disagree with the last segment of this article.

Freedom of speech is a fundamental right that should only be constrained if absolutely necessary. This article seems to suggest that rape culture should be combatted by placing restrictions on speech/cartoons/jokes/etc. that perpetuates it. Not only is this impractical, but it is wrong.

Social attitudes and norms -- like rape culture -- can only be changed by open and frank discussion. Freedom of speech includes the right to say things that are wrong, stupid, and offensive. The correct response is not to resort to force (i.e. the force of the law or the powers of the university), but to respond with words of your own.

If Voo Doo publishes offensive cartoons, call them out on it -- write an editorial, rather than musing ways you could force them into silence. Confronting rape culture can spark a conversation that raises awareness of it -- most people are not aware that they are participating in rape culture.

If we simply hide rape culture, it will fester.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

Cory Hernandez did not disclose his role as UA treasurer, his previous presidency of Finboard nor his involvement in originally denying funding to Voodoo. He did not mention that the UA Council has already dealt with this issue last semester and determined full funding was justified based off MIT counsels advice. I do not find it acceptable for an individual with power bestowed on him by his fellow students to carry out a vindictive assault on a student group.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

Thank you for sharing this article. After reading the comments, I feel the need to say that this article absolutely accomplishes its main goal of raising awareness of the existence of rape culture, both in society at large and at MIT in particular. Perhaps some readers don't agree that the examples cited by the authors aptly demonstrate this reality, but it is certainly forcing our community to think hard about this problem, and discuss how we might address it here at MIT.

And 9, I am astonished that you would argue that "very few rape victims' lives are in danger at any point." Whenever a person is physically overpowered by someone who clearly means to do them harm, their life is absolutely in danger. Only a person who has never really considered what it would be like to face a rapist would make such a statement. Do you not realize that many rapes actually end in murder? And the use of the term "survivor" rather than "victim" is more likely a preference (perhaps not shared by all) to emphasize overcoming trauma, as opposed to being attacked.

For another perspective on this issue, read this personal account from 2004: http://tech.mit.edu/V124/N7/Rape_Victim.7a.html

I look forward to reading part 2.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

Re: 12's link http://tech.mit.edu/V124/N12/_[LTE]The_.12l.html

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

I am really saddened by the low quality of thinking evidenced in this article. This is something I would expect to see at some dope smoking liberal arts college where politically correct thinking is more important than clarity and logic, not at MIT. All I see here are cliches and mantras - "rape culture", "survivor" - buzzwords that are repeated endlessly. These do not constitute thought but a substitute for thought. Then we throw in a few fashionable terms to show that we travel in the (politically) correct circles. "Genderqueer", "ableism" , "LGBQ" (or is it "LGBQA"?), "Trans". Apparently we are all supposed to know what these mean. We learn (even though it is totally irrelevant to the subject matter and contrary to what they teach us about DNA in bio) that there are not two genders but FIVE - male, female, transgender, genderqueer and "other". And then there are more irrelevant shout outs to those who are "asexual, queer, bisexual, lesbian, gay, straight, or of 'another sexual orientation'" (just in case they missed anyone who doesn't fall within the other six groups). Also we learn that no sex act are involved in rape - yeah, verily we learn this.

It's no wonder that these people are attempting to outlaw humor. They are just begging to be made fun of. The only way you can get away with spouting this kind of ridiculous emperor's new clothes nonsense to surround yourself with fellow travelers or to create an authoritarian environment where no one is allow to skewer your pretentiousness.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

Behold, how confident and cocksure a person becomes when allowed to present their ignorance and vitriol as inviolable by virtue of being 'a joke'.Voodoo and its PR, take your disingenuous intellectualism and go free Tibet. Lol, just kidding. The juxtaposition in this statement is another example of figurative language, wherein freeing Tibet stands in for the concept of self immolation, or, as could be more crudely phrased in this context, burning. Be joyous that such recommendations against Voodoo can be made, which puts the otherwise dinky publication on a level above the flyers conspiracy theorists hand out. Indeed, by virtue of my suggesting consigning the rag to flames, you can rally cry 'Censorship!' 'Thought Crime!' 'Book Burning', and comfort yourself and your surety that you really are that noble and subversive, and stave off for a while longer the realizing sense that you were little more than a colicky temperament with a word processor.

lol no but seriously, it could be funny if yall wasn't so mad bros

Mary almost 10 years ago

Where is your proof for the following : "Sexual violence is more frequently perpetrated against people of color and LGBQA and Trans people."

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

I wish this article had more examples instead of conclusions. E.g. "Our criminal justice system perpetuates rape culture with laws and policies that allow lawyers and juries to blame survivors for the rape, making it extremely difficult to convict rape perpetrators (only an estimated 24 percent of rape perpetrators are convicted)." This was a pretty bold statement, but it didn't actually cite any laws and policies (as a law student I'm curious, since I know of at least 3 Federal Rules of Evidence designed to make it harder to blame victims/easier to convict assailants (FRE 412, 413, 415), nor did it mention how many rape perpetrators are actually prosecuted. Since most of them aren't, a 2-4 conviction rate doesn't tell me how many of them are acquitted.

Also, instead of banning Voodoo since you don't like it. Why not put out a publication that discusses these issues and topics in a way you think is more appropriate. I don't think your argument gets better when you tell your opponents to shut up, or try and yank their funding, so they have no audience.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

I just want to say thank you to all of those writing comments critical of this politically correct trash. It gives me faith in the MIT community.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

Verily, rape is an act of sex and NOT violence and power for the most part. Therefore, women who un-dress in public like baboons in heat certainly do intentionally attract interest from rapists and non-rapists alike. It the feminist rape of rape research that is the true crime of violence and power here.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

"We call on the Undergraduate Association and the Association of Student Activities to take a strong stance against rape culture and cease funding for Voo Doo unless the publication agrees to refrain from using sexual assault for the sake of jokes."

There are many things wrong with this sentence. Here's a brief list:

1) Shutting up the opposing viewpoint is an ineffective way to further dialogue- you seriously think if you yank funding from the magazine that people involved are going to stop thinking/behaving/talking in the same way? If you think banning people from doing certain things stops them from doing them, then you guys need a serious reality check.

2) I'm going to be blunt here: who are you to "call on the Undergraduate Association"? Who do you speak for? What gives the four of you the right to ask for the UA to yank funding for a publication? You speak as if you have some sort of consensus or if you represent the view of some unknown majority continuously in this article, but until I see a shred of evidence showing that- I'm not going to take any of these grandiose "calls" seriously, and neither should the UA.

3) Who are you to regulate humor? If you believe Voodoo's jokes are tasteless, and that is absolutely your right, but making these assertions and demands as if you know better than the rest of us is both extremely immature and jaded.

I hope that for the legitimacy of your second article, you stop making sweeping generalizations and grandiose claims, support your claims with actual numbers and data (where is the whole "more LGBT people get raped than their straight counterparts" thing coming from? how do we know that more people get raped than are reported if none of them are reported? A lack of data doesn't prove its hidden existence.).

Protip: If your main point with these articles is to spark a conversation, make sure that the conversation you're sparking is the right one; I have a feeling the one you seem to have sparked in the comments section wasn't the one you were looking for.

Cory almost 10 years ago

11: I didn't put my roles since I wanted this to be a product of my work as a student and peer to others, not as a member of the UA. The situation you're mentioning regarding denying of funding and Council was actually regarding a different comic, not the one we mention in this article. So the one we mention in this article hasn't been settled by the UA Council. Also, I don't think you know what the definition of vindictive is, and you got some of my titles in the UA wrong, but that's okay.

Also, I love how most of the comics completely miss the point of this article. Hopefully by reading the second part, many people will start to understand what we're saying. And maybe, just maybe, get more upset over the fact that rape exists rather than the fact that they might not be able to say everything that they want to say without consequences.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

14, 18 and others:

In your effort to criticize this "politically correct trash", you embrace the most orthodox of beliefs. I do not necessarily agree with this column's position on VooDoo and others. But you folks are living in the past and finding all sorts of excuses to justify your bigotry. It's nothing to be proud about.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago


Just because you have decided that your opinion is the present or future doesn't mean opposing viewpoints don't still exist. If you think the entire world is behind you then you have a very narrow worldview.

John Veranth '71 almost 10 years ago

The issue of sexual assault is real and is something the MIT community needs to deal with. I am greatly disappointed by the quality of some of the above comments. Part of an MIT education is the socialization that is preparation for your future.

Attitudes regarding appropriate behavior evolve. I recall dorm room incidents that were joked about in the 1960's and now would clearly be considered criminal assault under today's laws and judicial interpretations.

What about the 'free speech' issue? You are free to say what you wish, but realize that others will judge you by what you say. I have said, and written, things over the years that I now regret as I have matured. When criticizing 'political correctness' consider how you might be affected in one or two decades if your comment today comment was again associated with you at a time when are seeking a position where character is a important criterion.

Finally, I note that only one person, another alum, had the

courage to post under a real name. The authors of the original opinion

piece put their names on it, how about the rest of you brave comment writers?

Anonymous almost 10 years ago


Perhaps the reason why most are posting anonymously is because this is a sensitive issue and they don't want to be judged in the future by their opinions on the matter, just as you said.

Public opinion does not define an objective right and wrong. Just because someone's opinion now may result in discrimination (albeit legal and potentially justifiable discrimination) in the future does not mean it is an opinion that shouldn't be expressed. Anonymity empowers those with minority opinions (now or in the future) to express them without endangering their livelihood.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago


You proved my point. Racism, bigotry, hatred are all acceptable because they represent an opposing viewpoint!!!


Anonymous almost 10 years ago

The writers of this article clearly don't have a humorous cell in their bodies. Shut down the only humor mag on campus for one joke they don't like? CHilling.

Why don't they try and put a humor magazine together and see who laughs. The only LOLs would be from the epic fail. On the whole it would probably just be sad.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

Did anyone notice the comic below this article in the physical printing of the Tech? Seems in very poor taste considering the whole point of the column...

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

"When criticizing 'political correctness' consider how you might be affected in one or two decades if your comment today comment was again associated with you at a time when are seeking a position where character is a important criterion. "

I think this is the most frightening thing I ever read in The Tech. It means that America has entered its Stalinist phase. People are posting anonymously is because people like John Veranth are taking down names and promising to ruin your career unless you agree with him on absolutely everything. Apparently anything less than 100 agreement with all politically correct positions is now considered evidence of "bad character". Comrades, your deviation from the Party line has been noted in your permanent dossier.It sends shivers down my spine that Mr. Veranth is so confident that "his side" has won permanent control over the levers of power, so that he can openly threaten anyone who disagrees with him.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

To all who have diverted the discussion from it's designated purpose--to talk about sexual assault, to put a human face on it, and ask you to tap your compassionate side, to help with the HEALING process--I am sorry you are either so uncomfortable with it or self-absorbed enough to think your views of humor should take center stage! Get over yourselves, because one day as 24 has told you, you will be in a future where you will look back and SEE what you said. It has NOTHING to do with Big Brother and EVERYTHING to do with your integrity as a person. So you are asked to put aside tasteless humor because it is hurtful to wounded people. Put on your big girl/big boy panties and show some compassion! You believe it's your RIGHT to spout whatever, well exercise your right to NOT spout whatever in the name of compassion. In10-20 years, I would LOVE to see you showing your 7 year old daughter or son what you are so vehemently defending as humor and explain to them why it is OK to see assault of another person as humorous.

To the victims/survivors--You have a RIGHT to ask to be taken seriously, handled gently, and heal in your own time. If you ask it of someone and they can not give it and use such puffed up rationalizations as have been printed here, know that that does not invalidate your right to ask or to get it. They simply can't give it. Keep asking, keep talking. It is healing. You are good and decent people who DESERVE good and decent lives.

I often quote the last line of my son's MIT acceptance letter (back in the day when they MAILED out acceptances!) because it stated a larger goal for graduates than simply "Mens et Manus" sometimes implies, "We hope that MIT is the right match to prepare you to serve a world that badly needs you." MIT is calling you to live larger than "just" developing your minds and hands, it is calling you to develop your "heart"--to SERVE a world in need of you.

I am the mother of two MIT students about whom I am proud to say, they have the mental bandwidth expected of MIT students AND the hearts of giants. This is what I believe most parents want of all of you.

And authorsas some of your kind, and not so kind, peers have insinuated, your writing is not perfect. But neither are we! That is NO excuse to not keep on trying! Keep up the good work, you are doing so much more good than the complainers! Be a voice in the silence, a light in the darkness, you ARE serving the world!

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

30: It was their writing that took the discussion in the comments section to where it has gotten, not a random willingness by anonymous villains to take the issue of sexual assault on campus out of context.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

19"Verily, rape is an act of sex and NOT violence and power for the most part. Therefore, women who un-dress in public like baboons in heat certainly do intentionally attract interest from rapists and non-rapists alike. It the feminist rape of rape research that is the true crime of violence and power here."

This is also why we shouldn't investigate or try to prevent muggings. It's the fault of small men who don't carry guns - bigger men can't help but steal from them, and if you're going to be weak, you ought to just stay home and know your place in the world.

Do you think only women in short dresses get raped?

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

32 Do you think that some ugly old woman who dresses modestly is more likely to be raped than some nubile and but beautiful babe who displays her 'assets' like a baboon in heat?

Marianne Gerard almost 10 years ago

Thank you for posting this. I feel you do an excellent job generating awareness of a huge problem. I am a professor at a small liberal arts school in Michigan, and I hope to incorporate your words in my lecture to foster discussion. I look forward to reading "part two".

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

I don't mean to diminish the importance of the subject of sexual assault on campus, but consider yourselves fortunate that the leadership at your institution appears to take this matter seriously. Take students at San Cristbal in Venezuela who decided to protest security on their campus as a result of a sexual assault back in early February of this year only to have five students detained and shipped off to a jail hundreds of miles away. To date protests have spread across Venezuela, many more jailed and at least 5 have been killed as armed paramilitary groups terrorize the people of Venezuela simply for having exercised a basic guaranteed right under what's left of the constitution. Television media censorship is virtually in full force and the latest news is that internet service was shut down in San Cristbal.