Saturday, January 3, 2015

Expensive Margaritas Will Stop Campus Rape

Imagine being a nineteen year old woman (currently those born in '95 do qualify) attending a university in the United States of America. You have a lot on your mind, but at the moment you're looking to unwind and have some fun.

Obviously alcohol is the answer - as using America's favorite drug in the company of friends has long been established as a decent way to create an enjoyable day.

There's a problem, however - consumption of alcohol at this age is not legal. Acquisition of the alcohol must happen illegally. Consumption of the alcohol must happen in an unsanctioned location. Fortunately these restrictions are not insurmountable, as all you need is a connection to someone a few years older than you that is also willing to break the law with you.

The stereotypical story is that those most eager to make this connection and take this risk have motives beyond a simple cash transaction. There simply is not a lot of people trying to make a quick profit by selling alcohol to underage drinkers out of the trunk of a car. More motivated are those that may desire the potential customer's affection more than their money.

It's so taken for granted that it's already a plot device in many films referencing college life in America - one or more eager heterosexual men will acquire amazing amounts of cheap beer in the hopes that women without inhibitions will later appear. It's the Field of Dreams scenario with much less work involved. It's also a scenario that shares elements with many accounts of campus rape.

It's easy to see where the problems arise. The authorities provide no oversight at any point. Quid pro quo transactions between intoxicated parties. House parties with private locked rooms mere steps away from the liquor. Alcohol acquisition and consumption exist as some sort of risque taboo, subject to "macho" contests - the most accessible extreme sport to an ever more sedentary population. There are many reasons to think that this environment created to break one law is entirely capable of breaking a few more. Further, those that do face assault at these venues are blamed for their own victimhood as they chose to attend what they knew was an illegal event.

The solution is simple. Let adult women go to the bar. 

You may vote, you may drive, you may star in porn films. It's probably the right time for one to be able to buy an overpriced cocktail at a nondescript pub. No more rumors about what is happening at what frat/sorority house, no more pleading with older men and women to sell you booze and then leave you alone.

Pictured: Freedom and equality before the law

Of course, this does not mean one does not face the threat of being a victim of a sexual assault as a student. There is not a lot of data to suggest that a licensed establishment is always a safer establishment, as there are not agencies that currently collect great data about campus events that try their best to not be recorded by the government.

In fact, it may increase the chances of being assaulted by greatly increasing the chances of being assaulted by someone who is not a student. In that case, "campus sexual assault" may be ended as a matter of category. If the offender is a high school dropout, what would compel them to be put in front of a campus sexual assault tribunal?

The solution then has the possibility of "working" in at least one of two ways:
  1. Changing incentives may reduce opportunities for perpetrators 
  2. The nature of perpetrators may change
Obviously the ideal is that the number of assaults decreases, however the plan also exposes the absurdity of the current approach to campus sexual assault. If more interactions can be pushed into extracurricular activities, then the universities can avoid more responsibility.

Is a university responsible for spring break? What oversight is given a student enrolled in online classes? What happens when internships become a larger part of education, as they should?

The fastest way to end campus rape is to end the campus. There is no reason that adult students need to be treated differently based on age. There is no reason that the student population needs to be insulated from humanity that exists off campus. There is no reason to run a campus as a special part of the city, governed by unintelligible faculty and incompetent student unions.

There would still exist room for universities to do the right thing - no victim should have to sit through a lecture opposite their student rapist. And faculty members should face a lot more scrutiny.

The greater point is the discussion extends far beyond campus. Perhaps we can discuss what happens to young adults that do not exist within the eye of contemporary progressive concern because they are not attending college to begin with.

As long as college remains a trumped-up boarding school for the moderately wealthy, we are always going to be subjected to concerned parents and imaginative graduates writing opinion pieces about the dangers of their young adult daycare.

Now, go get that margarita.

Blended, if you must.

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