Rape as the Ivy League’s Latest “Joke”

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A lucky few of our readers may have missed the story about the Yale fraternity pledges who picketed the campus Women’s Center chanting, “‘No’ means ‘yes.’  ‘Yes’ means anal.” Let’s not think that awful taste and misogyny are specialties of the Elis only.  No, earlier this semester a men’s a cappella singing group at Columbia University advertised its concert with “Rape Me” posters (see the poster here at salon.com).

This week, the group publicly apologized, but not without a swipe at their brethren in New Haven:

Kingsmen would like to apologize for creating the flyer in question and posting it around our campus. The flyer is unduly offensive and inappropriate to be posted in the community. Leaving aside the various undertones one might read from it, at the very least the statement “Rape me” is incendiary and hurtful to many members of our community. *** [W]e are aware that this comes within a context of heightened awareness of sexual issues due to events of the past month – an epidemic of suicides related to sexual identity and abuse, and the fairly monstrous public display of a “No means yes” mentality by a Yale fraternity.  To be ignorant of context is a sad thing indeed…. ***

Kingsmen constantly strive to increase our understanding of our community in order to entertain most effectively. As such, we must face the consequences of our actions that unintentionally hurt our peers. We stand accountable for what we have willingly posted in public. Know that we are ashamed to have made such a lapse in judgment to put such a callous message next to our name, and we are sorry to have caused any pain to members of our community.

The group’s full statement is here.  The Columbia Kingsmen did the right thing in apologizing clearly and taking responsibility.

To the DKE members in New Haven, your public failure to take responsibility is cowardly in all respects.

To the DKE national organization, wake up.  Was this incident not important enough that your best response is a visit by the Executive Director next weekend? I’m not impressed.

H/T Larissa Dzegar of Feminizzle, via the Bust blog (here).

-Bridget Crawford

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