Rape on college campuses has become such a visible issue in the US that even the White House has made it a priority (though imperfectly). And yet college men still don't seem to be getting the message:
A college fraternity was suspended on Monday from a Virginia university over the display of banners containing lewd, sexually suggestive messages welcoming freshmen women to campus, fraternity and school officials said.Oh sure, it's just a joke (ahem), and I'm the Most Humorless Feminist in all of Nofunnington. But if not finding the humor in a fraternity making jokes about dropping off young women (and their mothers) for sex makes me humorless, then I'll wear the badge proudly, because I am all too aware of the context in which such "jokes" are made.
The Sigma Nu suspension at Old Dominion University in Norfolk is to remain in effect pending the outcome of a university inquiry into the incident, which occurred at a private, off-campus frat house, according to a statement from Brad Beacham, the fraternity's national executive director.
The banners in question, fashioned from bed sheets hung outside the frat house on Friday as new students arrived on campus. Some of the subtler messages they displayed included "Freshman daughter drop-off" and "Go ahead and drop off mom too."
...Beacham said he did not initially believe the fraternity was involved in the incident but later discovered that a few of its members had taken part in the activity.
School officials released a statement on Saturday condemning the display and promising to investigate the incident, which follows a recent spate of high-profile sexual assault cases on college campuses that have placed fraternities under heightened scrutiny.
Speaking of which, here are my friends Jessica Luther and Dan Solomon on a rape case at Baylor University in Texas, involving a football player who raped—and was convicted of raping—a female classmate.
These "jokes" (which are not really jokes at all) do not exist in a vacuum. They exist in a culture in which an alarming number of fraternity members and male student athletes consider raping their female classmates a rite and a right.