Apparently rape "jokes" are the trend among men (can we call them that?) in higher academia lately. As if Yale's fraternity stunt wasn't enough for this month, Columbia's a cappella group, Kingsmen, came out with a flyer advertising their upcoming show that featured one of its members pursing his lips and, underneath the photo, the tag line: "Rape Me." The Columbia community responded with indignation and criticism, statements including, "The Kingsmen and their posters fail to acknowledge or address the gravity of rape and sexual violence as an epidemic, not only in our campus community, but throughout the world. (...) Additionally, besides making a caricature out of gay men, the subject’s 'desire' to be raped trivializes the link between sexuality and homophobic hate crimes. Furthermore, by subscribing to the patriarchal gender roles in which femininity is synonymous with submission and passivity, the flyer offensively stereotypes both women and gay men on campus."
And so the guilty Kingsmen soon issued an apology, "To clarify, the young man pictured on the flyer is one of our own members. Many minutes were spent on Facebook in search of the goofiest picture we could find of one of our members; this was it. The combination of the image with the statement were never intended as anything more than a laugh at the expense of that Kingsman. Unfortunately for all, we did not put any more thought into it than that."
Much like the Yale pledges, they faced no serious consequences for their actions. And so I ask, do they not realize that in allowing this behavior, the administrations of these schools are condoning violent sexual behavior and creating an environment where students feel unsafe? When will these boys, and the educational systems that keep letting them get away with it, get the memo: rape is not a joke?
Complete statements by Columbia's activist group in response to the flyer, as well as Kingsmen's apology, available here
PHOTO COURTESY OF: salon.com