With Friends Like These

Kelsey Brugger’s exposé on college party culture and rape bravely goes where few reporters have been willing to tread. It exposes the ugly truth: Students, often friends and dorm mates, are helping other students get raped.

Newsflash to the close friend and the myriad of other not-so-innocent bystanders: Only a form of “yes” means yes. You don’t know that someone who can’t even speak or nod her head wants to “hook up.” “It’s not rape if she’s unconscious,” to cite rapper Cee-Lo Green, is not just misogynistic; it’s illegal. This new California law is aimed at male undergraduates, but I contend that what is good for the gander is also good for the goose.

An unconscious “hook up” is not always the only thing at stake. In 1996, in what should have been the wake-up call for campuses everywhere, for the final leg home, a drunk and stumbling Kristen Smart was pawned off by her “friend,” Ms. Anderson, to a fraternity student that Anderson and her dorm mates referred to as “Chester the Molester.” To say that the Cal Poly campus police bungled the Smart case is being too generous. However, both the Smart case and the Brugger article highlight that at critical times, other students, even so-called “friends,” are aiding in campus rape culture instead of helping to prevent it. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

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