Big 12 Commissioner Blames College Rape On Alcohol & “Raging Hormones”
Apparently the fact that Baylor University has been embroiled in horrifying rape scandals for the past few months has not been enough to inspire Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby to educate himself on the nature of rape and sexual assault. So yet again, we find ourselves listening to some sixty-something white dude - who couldn't be bothered to do some research on sexual violence in this country - tell us that rape is a symptom of an unfortunate cocktail of sexual desire and mental impairment.
"I think the other thing that obviously we have on our plate is that our Board has asked for a full accounting from Baylor University relative to the sexual assaults and their university’s response to that situation. I think it’s fair to say that they’re deeply concerned about the associational elements of this. There are certainly — our conference and our Board doesn’t have any legal standing on some of the things that have taken place or are alleged to have taken place. But let it suffice to say as it pertains to all of our institutions, we are very committed as a group of ten schools to eradicating sexual assault on our campuses. It almost goes without saying that when you combine alcohol and drugs and raging hormones and the experiences of 18-22 years old, it’s probably unrealistic to think that these kinds of things are never going to happen.
But we certainly want to make sure that from the center we do everything we can to ensure that they are minimized, if not eradicated. So additionally, from a purely athletic standpoint, we also have to be satisfied that there haven’t been Big 12 rules broken and that there haven’t been NCAA rules violated. That is the essence of our process, and it’s very early in the process right now."
I'd like you to marinate a little on the fact that this guy just said that it "goes without saying" that young men and women are going to get raped because that's what happens when people get drunk - or high - and horny. That is one of the most dangerous mindsets that anyone could have when it comes to a situation of life-altering sexual violence, and this is coming straight from the mouth of a man that is in the middle of dealing with Baylor and their athletic program that has become synonymous with American rape culture through this latest scandal.
So how many times does this issue have to come up before we start removing people like Bowlsby from the powerful positions they hold? How many times is an out-of-touch, arrogant, authority figure going to perpetuate the myth that rape on college campuses is merely the result of drunken shenanigans turned into regretful sex?
How long are we going to ignore the fact that elite Division I athletic programs promise their athletes access to women and sex during recruiting, and then promote a culture in which they are entitled to whatever they want and are rarely - if ever - held accountable? When will we start truly understanding that rape is a manifestation of one's need to exert their will and power over another person, and that despite the fact that sexual desire might be present, it is not about the sex.
There are millions of people around the world right now that are drunk or high and horny as hell. Hooray! I'm of the personal belief that none of that is an excuse for violence. I'm also of the belief is that most of them won't corner someone at a party and rip their clothes off and have sex with them while they're too drunk to respond or while they try to fight it off. Most of them will back off and put their pants back on or pull their dress down if their partner says they want to stop. Most of them won't slip something into someone's drink or lure someone back to their homes under false pretenses.
Why do I think that? Because there are a lot of good, horny, drunk people in the world that would never rape because they are not vicious, entitled or enabled by a system that makes them feel too powerful and wholly untouchable. Being drunk doesn't turn a well-meaning person into a criminal. And most importantly: having sexual desire or raging hormones is perfectly normal, and should not be considered an incentive for rape.
The repeated insinuation - or often downright insistence - that rape is anything but criminal violence is a perpetuation of two things: American rape culture and American football culture. Rape culture includes victim-blaming, the denial of the widespread issue of rape and the belief that rape isn't always a criminal act. Football culture includes the mentality that a star athlete, a winning coach or any entity considered vital to advancing profits are so valuable that they cannot be expected to adhere to the same moral standards of behavior as everyone else; and even more disturbingly, that it benefits the fans not to know about their indiscretions.
Bob Bowlsby's belief that alcohol, drugs and hormones are the impetus for rape on college campuses should get him fired from his job. In the wake of the recent Joe Paterno/Jerry Sandusky revelations, it's never been more clear that the lives of students everywhere will continue to be in danger as long as those in power are allowed to operate under the built-in excuse of ignorance.
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