By Ian Donovan Hyland, senior television writing and production major
Before I say anything on this event, I want to take the time to contextualize my history. I grew up being educated on how devastating rape can be. My mother was raped by a “friend.” She was neither drugged nor drunk. It was forced. He was a serial rapist and was arrested after dozens of girls came forward. His sentence was not long enough. Saying “rape” flippantly or jokingly in my household is a crime. But I was also taught the importance of understanding how to support victims of rape. The necessity for compassion, consent and looking out for those around you. I cannot express enough how deeply I care about this issue.
After listening to Chief of Police Tom Kisela’s speech during Orientation Week, I felt the need to compose my thoughts, because beyond my experience with my mother, I’ve talked to more than 15 women about their rapes and one man about his molestation. I am not, myself, a victim of assault and I certainly cannot speak for them, but I can say how those conversations have impacted me.
Many of them were close friends. Some were virtually strangers. They all deserved to be heard, believed. It didn’t matter if they were drunk or how they were dressed. It doesn’t shift the burden of the attack onto their shoulders. I love and stand by every one of them to the best of my ability.
Here’s some advice: If someone is drunk, do not sleep with him or her. Simply put, do you want to risk being someone they regret waking up to? Is hooking up worth it if everyone doesn’t feel good about it the next day? Any sane person’s answer should be no.
Sex is great. It is one of my favorite activities and I am a frequent participant. But c’mon, sex is better when everyone is having a great time. Consent and incapacitation are not complicated. If someone is too drunk to give a firm and enthusiastic “YES!” do not have sex with them. Even if they say yes, but don’t really seem into it – don’t. Only a fool cares about the number of people they’ve slept with. Do not have sex without consent.
Jerry Price, vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students, a man I have met several times and believe worthy of respect, said in The Panther’s article about Kisela’s victim-blaming speech “understanding the definitions of consent and incapacitation, that’s a tough message. It’s not one that you could probably convey in a 10-15 minute talk.”
There’s a great video about comparing consent to offering tea. That video is two minutes and 50 seconds long. Dean Price, start there. The fact that you are dancing around formally denouncing Chief Kisela’s stance is unworthy of you. Let the women, men and LGBTQIA community of Chapman know the school’s stance on what happened. Let them know that, despite a chief of police undeserving of his position, Chapman cares. Make that your position and actually follow through on supporting the victim when rape occurs.
I want to close by saying this: To anyone who’s been hurt by sexual predators, I am sorry that you have gone through this. I am here for you if you need someone to talk to. If you need someone to cry with. If you need someone to sit with you in silence, I will be there for you, should you ask. And to anyone who agrees with me in this, if you see someone who might need an advocate, speak up. If your friend asks for your support, Netflix can wait a night. We must put supporting each other first. We must put compassion first. We must put having great, consensual sex first. And we might end up making the world a little better.
Read The Panther’s editorial on Kisela’s speech here.
Read another guest column about victim-blaming here.