A University of Arizona student has decided to honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the least sensitive way possible: by telling female students that they deserve to be raped.
Standing in the UA Mall holding a sign that says “You Deserve Rape”, Junior Dean Saxton (or “Brother Dean” as he prefers to be called) has created an uproar, while testing the limits of free speech on campus. (Although, to their credit, University of Arizona administrators have refused to take action against him, citing freedom of speech.)
Saxton clarified what he meant by the sign (and by “clarified” I mean “dug himself into an even bigger hole”):
“If you dress like a whore, act like a whore, you’re probably going to get raped…I think that girls that dress and act like it, they should realize that they do have partial responsibility, because I believe that they’re pretty much asking for it.”
That’s about as articulate as this guy gets. His blog is an agglomeration of disjointed thoughts like these:
“These Greeks on campus are life in such whoredoms with almost anything that moves. But it’s not just Greek life, it’s the porn freak’s, and the masturbating community on campus. But these girls aren’t helping, guys are visual and they need to put some clothes on!”
“Too many girls wear these SEX shorts, that make them look like whores. If you act like a whore, dress a like a whore then don’t get mad when you get treated like a whore.”
“Muslims are always a peculiar pig, when they do come out of their caves.”
“I’m a Christian man living for God. Pure, chaste, and on fire for Gods desires.”
“If a woman is having sex outside of marriage, the bible calls her a WHORE!”
“For Men…men ask for the date not girls!…1. Are you willing to submit to me? If yes then she’s qualified!…11. Are you a virgin? If yes then she’s qualified! If no ask her how many STDs she has… just for fun, then dump her, she’s used baggage.”
Wow…this guy is one misogynistic piece of shit. According to his blog, he’s “spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ”, but I think even most Christians would agree that this guy doesn’t sound very christ-like.
Saxton is exactly the kind of person who would benefit most from sexual assault awareness campaigns. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the person who most needs to hear a message has refused to listen to it.
Instead, “Brother Dean” has become an apologist for rapists–recycling the same old argument that men are uncontrollable sex fiends, and that if a woman gets raped it’s her fault for dressing or behaving in a way that arouses men’s desires.
Notice, though, that slut-shaming usually takes a more subtle form than a sign saying “You Deserve Rape.” Such blame-the-victim attitudes are probably more common that most men would be willing to admit, and silencing this one asshole with a sign would not do anything to address the strain of (often religious-inspired) misogyny underlying such beliefs.
Instead of shouting down this guy, University of Arizona students should use this as an opportunity to start a campus-wide dialogue on rape and the problem of victim blaming in society. After all, the best way to combat bad ideas…is with good ones.