I’ve been thinking a lot about rape
lately. It’s undoubtedly one of the lowest things that a man
can do to a woman.

Hussain Rahim

I had this project recently in an abnormal psychology class
about pornography and its correlation to rape, and I’ve had
numerous discussions around campus about recent events. Upon
further reflection, I realized I knew more raped women than I
should and that’s clearly because there are more raped women
than anyone realizes. Although rape is not always the most
ubiquitous or urgent matter on the national agenda, periodically we
are reminded of its presence, and I thought I’d act on this
moment.

If you live in Ann Arbor, then you’ve seen the story that
has been the local focal point for the past week. The situation
isn’t good, to put it real simple. It would be easy to take
the anti-Greek stance the Daily is often accused of and lash out
like the nerdy kid who didn’t get picked during Pledge Week.
But it’s pointless.

Equally futile is the trite defense in which I say, “Oh,
some of my best friends are Greek people” because
that’s not the case either. I don’t know any of them,
and as a senior in April, I don’t think I am making many new
friends before I leave.

And on the national scale, there is the Kobe Bryant, case which
has been discussed in probably more permutations than anyone wanted
to. Millions of de facto trails have been held by water coolers,
coffee shops and whatever else people have discussions around.
People attest to Kobe’s character as if they’re his
lifelong schoolyard pal or to the events as if they were hiding in
the room. In reality, no ones knows shit about Kobe or the girl or
what happened at SAE.

Regardless of the outcomes, the only result that can be safely
drawn is that someone regrets being there that night. Rape cases
are nasty, and often things surpass Rashomon levels of
obscurity.

Sadly, women lie about rape, which in turn makes it more
difficult than it already is for true victims to find justice. Two
months ago, a group of St. John’s students were accused of
raping a prostitute. It was later found that she threatened to file
charges if she wasn’t paid, and a player taped her saying
this on his cellphone.

In all of this, what I was trying to figure out was how these
types of situations could be avoided in the actual world we
inhabit. The dissolution of the line between reality and ideality
lies at fault for most of these occurrences. In magical gumdrop
land, a woman can go wherever she wants, wearing what she wants,
whenever she wants and drink whatever she wants and wake up the
next day with nothing but a hangover and wander home. But the very
use of something like GHB and roofies shows what kind of people
inhabit the world.

Pragmatism and cynicism make a strong team. There are plenty of
things that should be within my right to do, but awareness of my
surroundings and the intentions of others should prevail. If
something even falls within the proximity of my control, I think it
would be responsible to step up. If I decide I want to use my
laptop at around 4 a.m. on the 2 train coming home into Brooklyn,
and I catch a sack of quarters over the head, yes, I am a victim
but there were wiser ways to approach the situation.

From what I now read, I understand that the focus is changing.
But it’s not about curbing underage drinking. While I’m
sure there are plenty of great reasons as to why you must be 21 to
get hammered, it won’t help anyone at all.

I guess it’s about assessing a situation and saying maybe
I don’t want to pass out here and maybe I don’t want to
go to your hotel room. It’s not about blaming the victim;
it’s about preventing the very occurrence of
victimization.

Rape is ridiculously underreported and under-prosecuted. It
remains one of the most stigmatizing and debilitating crimes. The
best understanding to leave with is that people are shady, and
because you can only control yourself, the best way to account for
your own safety is if you’re not there at all.

Rahim can be reached at
“mailto:hrahim@umich.edu”>hrahim@umich.edu.

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