LTTE: Stern column

Feb 222011
Authors: Jordan Liebing

I do not fault Mr. Stern for believing in practical solutions. Next time I have an intruder in my home, I will be sure to consult his article about self-defense.

But 99 percent of sexual assaults do not begin with a woman awaking to a stranger in her room. The majority are perpetrated by acquaintances, friends and family members under less-criminal circumstances. While it is unfortunate that a local woman suffered a break-in, Mr. Stern continues to spread a rape myth by highlighting this particular case in his column. In turn, this blocks greater progress in addressing root causes of sexual assault.

Indeed, it is perfectly rational for a woman (or any other potential victim of sexual assault) to use common sense as a means of self-protection. It defies reason, we would say, to refuse to “buckle up” while driving when there is a high risk of injury. But when we approach the task of eliminating car crashes, it is not productive to talk about the seatbelt.

Mr. Stern, you forget the influence that you have as a columnist. Merely offering “several logical tips” for preventing rape is an ineffective use of the public forum and a waste of your breath. In the future, I hope you will use the powerful voice of the press to advocate for more complex solutions.

Though sexual assault is often taboo and too little discussed in the realm of public safety, the last thing we need from you is more “tips” for women.

Jordan Liebing is a senior journalism and technical communications major.

 Posted by at 1:55 pm

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