Students have a chance to show support for victims of sexual violence at Penn. And only by turning out, only by listening to speeches until the consequences of rape are imprinted on the communal consciousness, can we hope to eradicate the social disease of sexual violence. There should be no doubt that the problem warrants such a description. We live in a country where one in five college women are the victims of rape or attempted rape and where 84 percent of victims know their attackers. Too often, individuals involved in relationships do not demonstrate sufficient respect for the rights of their partner. Too often, the word "no" has not received the respect it ought to command. It is in this context that we are particularly disturbed by the decision of organizers to bar men from the march around campus. Rape is not a female issue; it is a human issue. No statistics can justify either the victimization of women or the criminalization of men. Simply put, men are part of the solution and any "solution" created in a vacuum where men are absent is a solution that does not converse with reality. By excluding men from the march rather than encouraging them to participate -- men are, however, encouraged to attend the speak-out -- organizers will only precipitate yet another adversarial dialogue, detracting once again from an evening that should be about unity and appropriate intergender relationships. No concerns with the organizers or rules for the evening, however, should stand as an acceptable excuse for absence tomorrow night. The overriding message, and the support each student's presence will lend, are both too important to justify such a response. We hope to see you there.Comments powered by Disqus
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