It was chanted by a fraternity at Yale University recently, and everyone in the nation turned up their noses with disgust. As Americans, we’ve come such a long way since the time when rape was okay, since victims of sexual assault have been ridiculed and made to feel like turds in front of their peers.
Such a long way since sexism created such a distinction between men and women, and since the lie that covered it up also covered up things like assault and harassment.
Except, how long has it been since any of us heard (and, almost invariably laughed at) a “women belong in the kitchen” joke? We see the instances of sexual violence and assault that occur daily in this country and hear people chalking it up to “it was her fault” or “he was old enough to know what he wanted.”
Now, let’s figure out how many of us want to be attacked. Any hands raised? No?
No one wants to be placed in a situation where he or she falls victim to a predator—and yet, everyone says it is so. “She was outside at 2 a.m.? Running? Likely story.”
That above was a real post. On a real online message board. And, probably by someone who watched those Yale students shout those phrases and then said, “I would never say anything like that.”
But, how far above that is a joke like “Get in the kitchen,” really? Like it or not, we as a society are letting these attacks occur. Every time we question someone’s worth based on that person’s gender, we push them lower and lower in our mindsets until these kinds of things have to be their fault.
So, how do we stop something like this from occurring? Well, it seems as though putting any report through a legitimate system is the first step. But, before that?
Before that, we can stop with the kitchen jokes. Actually, we can stop with any sexist remarks to either gender. We can educate ourselves on why these things are happening and what, exactly, is being done to stop it.
We can watch the brave women and men on the television, standing up for something bigger than just themselves, and instead of questioning whether or not “they wanted it,” we can applaud their efforts against a cruel and unfair system.
We can give them support, we can stop our criticism.
And, we can push others to do the same.
Paige Carswell is a senior majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail her at email@example.com.