In 1973 Syracuse University promised their students that college life would provide lasting memories.
They didn’t disappoint.
Even decades later, college memories remain etched deeply in my psyche. Especially, if like me, you were sexually assaulted. More than once.
My freshman year at the university indeed provided remembrances that still linger- the chimes from Crouse college, the freaks playing Frisbees on the quad, making a late night dinglerun, hanging out on M street. And date raped.
It’s All Greek To Me
The boys will be boys mentality was in full force in the multiple fraternity houses that lined the leafy tree-lined streets of the university.
These gracious stately mansions on Walnut Ave, were the breeding ground for male entitlement. Raucus, boozy, keg parties were the norm. So were sexual assault and harassment. These bastions of boys clubs filled with privileged white lads, smirking and high-fiving one another followed in the Bret Kavanaugh credo – what happened at Kappa Phi Delta stayed there.
But it also stayed in my mind.
More than once, I was sexually assaulted.
More than once, I would stumble back to my dorm up on the Mount shaken, upset, ashamed.
More than once, flashbacks of a darkened room, the sound of “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” blaring loudly in the background, the weight of being pinned down against my will, the strained struggle of unwanted groping, the air redolent of pot, and the stale yeasty scent of Genesee beer would all flood back years later at unwelcomed times, so that even today the very smell of beer brings up a wave of nausea.
They’re Just Boys
It went unreported because that was the norm too.
Because boys will be boys it was so easy to brush aside bad behavior.
Because we convinced ourselves it was our fault.
Because no one would believe us. Because we want to forget it happened.
Unspoken of, the pain was swallowed where it remained undigested for years playing havoc with my psyche and my body. More than once.
This was 45 years ago and yet once again because of Brett Kavanaugh we are reminded that boys will be boys. It is still a get out of jail free card, a free pass meant to trivialize male behavior their entire life.
We are reminded rape culture still exerts its influence on college campuses and in courts of law.
The Kavanaugh scandal has unleashed millions of voices in solidarity with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Countless women have similar stories. Often, like me, more than one. From unwanted advances, to forced sex acts, women are questioned, vilified, doubted, and keep their voices silent.
But make no doubt about it, we still live in a culture where much of this behavior is laughed at or excused away. It’s all part of school hijinks, college capers, drunken parties… boys being boys just trying to “get some action.”
Committing sexual assault is not “getting action.”
It’s hard to imagine there was a time when this sort of behavior was played for laughs.
For better and for worse getting action and college have long been linked.
In this culture of male entitlement it shouldn’t be surprising that Playboy Magazine once featured guides to sex on colleges which was “where the action was.”
In this 1969 guide for the horny young man, the best prospects for scoring some action was college.
Reporting from the front lines of the sexual revolution, Playboys 1969 “Campus Action Chart” rated 25 different schools as it did the year before. Playboy explains “:in descending order of permissiveness- the charts upper reaches being mecca for the scholarly hedonist, it’s lower depths monasteries for the sexually meek.
“As our campus action chart reveals politics hasn’t usurped the attention of all students. (Not all students were out protesting the war, anti establishment). The survey imaginatively illustrated by Bob Post, Playboys assistant art director, proves that far friendlier extracurricular activities are also on the rise. Many male students, we found, prefer to occupy coed beds rather than administrative buildings but each school imposes its own restrictions on undergraduate freedoms.
The 25 schools span a cross-section of types ( Ivy megaversity, state, small, sexually segregated, etc) and represent every demographic area of the US.
Each schools ratings was derived from a number of variables some tangible ( dorm hours, availability of women on and off campus) and some intangible ( mod of the students atmosphere generated b the faculty etc). What we’ve done is save you the trouble of plowing thru sociological journals to extract pertinent nuggets.
Depending on your personal proclivities and your academic status at the moment, a perusal of the chart will tell you where to go to college or where you should have gone if you had known.
Interspersed with the articles are some good hearty college laffs:
Sex in Academe
In that era of free love , and student revolting, sex was often not so free and often had a steep price to pay, the haunted memories lasting a lifetime. It was revolting.
It is only now that young women can give voice to the rapes and sexual assaults that have been occurring for decades on college campuses.
There was no name for “date rape” but how many women of a certain age are haunted by memories of waking up in a stranger’s room, naked, disoriented, realizing they’d been sexually assaulted. Hungover from a boozy party they blame only themselves and the alcohol for the assault that was perpetrated on them. There was no outrage because no one would listen. In an era filled with protesting, their voices of protest were ignored.
In an era of student power, women were still pretty powerless.
The hallmark of a rape victim.
Copyright (©) 2018 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved