News

Harvard Law School Makes Online Zero-L Course Free for All U.S. Law Schools Due to Coronavirus

News

For Kennedy School Fellows, Epstein-Linked Donors Present a Moral Dilemma

News

Tenants Grapple with High Rents and Local Turnover at Asana-Owned Properties

News

In April, Theft Surged as Cambridge Residents Stayed at Home

News

The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

When Sex is the Issue, 'No' Means Nothing But 'No'

MAIL:

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editors of The Crimson:

I expect that you're going to receive a lot of responses to Jon E. Morgan's article "An Orwellian Nightmare." I am not writing, as I suspect many people may, to protest the printing of the article. Mr. Morgan brings up some very good points in the article concerning the possibility for not understanding what date rape is, and I do not disagree with some of what he has said. However, he has evidently missed the point of everything that has gone on in this community this year concerning educating the community about acquaintance rape. The people who have been trying to educate the students and administrators about the horror, pain, and betrayal of date rape are not using date rape to play "political power games," as the article suggests. They are trying to educate us.

Mr. Morgan states that "'Yes means Yes and No means No' is the PC battle cry." I would like to ask him, if this is a political weapon, what a woman is supposed to do to protect herself. He has, in making this statement, made it okay for a woman to be ignored when she says "no," because, after all, doesn't "no" mean "just about anything," as he states?

My answer to this question is no. Ironically, Mr. Morgan states that "No' is the bare minimum statement to constitute resistance." He then says that "no" can mean anything. Mr. Morgan, what am I supposed to say to you if you want to have sex with me and I don't want you to? What am I supposed to do? Should I say, "No. And I am not being politically correct right now."? I don't know what your point was in writing this statement, but you have succeeded in doing exactly what the date rape educators on campus have been trying to teach us not to do. You have put all of the responsibility for an acquaintance rape on the woman.

Rape is not making love. Rape is power, control and violence. That's why the scene in Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It is rape. That's why the account written in the What is To Be Done? is rape. From the description of the movie scene in Mr. Morgan's article, the man becomes mad at the woman for being "all over him." He deals with his anger by pushing her on the bed and having inter-course with her. It doesn't matter if she struggles with him. (Mr. Morgan does not state whether or not she does, which, frankly, makes me suspect that she does.) She has come on to him, and therefore anything her boyfriend chooses to do in response to this is "not rape." Once again, the responsibility has been placed squarely on the woman's shoulders.

Perhaps I am an idealist, but it seems to me that sex is intimate enough of an activity that it should be fairly obvious as to whether both people want to be there. When people start conjecturing, start imagining scenes that would implicate a man as a date rapist, that's when the trouble starts. I once had a non-resident tutor in my house ask me "What about if a woman says a very quiet, muffled 'no' that the man doesn't hear, and then she goes along with him? Is that rape? What about if she doesn't say 'no,' but doesn't say 'yes' either? Is that rape?" In response to this tutor, I said that both men and women should be able to say "yes." Both people should want to be there. Is that really so much to ask? By making rape a theoretical concept, and by not realizing that this society blames women for every act of violence it can get away with, the point of talking about rape is lost. Sex is, I hope, a serious thing. Serious enough that people can communicate with each other, and respect each other's wishes. And when the man doesn't give the woman the respect to choose whether or not she wants to be there, there's a problem.

Yes, Mr. Morgan has a point when he says that Swarthmore's training manual is confusing. I agree. Yes, Mr. Morgan has a point when he says that rape is "ugly, violent and dehumanizing." But no, Mr. Morgan cannot use statements like "No can mean a variety of things" to back up his arguments. Rape happens because a woman's wishes are not respected. Rape happens because some men believe that if a woman kisses them, or goes out on a date with them, or lets them into their room at night, that they have the right to have sex with them, even by force. Mr. Morgan, you have some very compelling points to make, but your reasoning is dead wrong. Next time, identify the problem and respond to it, not to the people who are trying to solve the same problems as you. Nicole Nazarro '93

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags