Dear Editor, Daily Nexus,
Thank you for publishing yesterday’s opinion piece by Zach Phillips (“Isla Vista Brothel To Curb Rapists,” Daily Nexus, Oct. 23, 2006). You have no idea how much it aids all the groups that are currently working to fight sexual assault at UCSB and in Isla Vista. By showcasing exactly the mentality that many perpetrators in our community have – i.e. that “male sexual aggression is an implacable reality” and there’s nothing to be done about that other than provide badly-needed alternative sexual outlets – you are letting the entire campus see perfectly the type of culture that we strive to combat.
First, let me start with the caveat that I am one of those many people who Mr. Phillips correctly anticipated would not get his sarcasm. When I was 14 years old, I had my first sexual experience when a man three times my age forced himself upon me. I refuse to apologize for not being able to “get over it” or for being too serious because I just don’t think it’s funny when I am reminded of one of the most horrible experiences in my life in such an irreverent, disrespectful way. I find it appalling for the Nexus to print pieces that make light of rape because they are just one more thing that makes me and people with experiences like mine feel unsafe and silenced in this community.
Mr. Phillips’s piece is especially ironic when it is read following the other article on today’s front page dealing with rape, albeit with a less humorous tone. The fact that two accounts of sexual assault were reported lets us know two things: First, that stronger rape awareness campaigns are still sorely needed, and second, it tells us that sexual assault is still not, and will not be for a long time, something that we should be laughing about.
Next, by saying that a scarcity of ass to tap, rather than perpetrators’ individual attitudes and the culture that feeds into them, is the reason rape happens, you are placing the burden of guilt on those unlucky victims instead. More importantly, you are ignoring the central part of sexual assault – it is less about getting your rocks off than it is about domination and power. An available whorehouse would not discourage men from conveniently walking across the room or across the street and grabbing a woman’s ass or breasts just because they feel entitled to do so.