Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The University and the defense of women

One of the points made repeatedly at the Men of Christ Conference this weekend at the Milwaukee Theater was the duty of men to protect women. I think we have almost completely abdicated this responsibility because it seemed to feminists to be chauvinist. Women should take care of themselves; men should control themselves.

I myself look back on instance when, like Christopher West, I did not come to the defense of the dignity of a woman when I should have. I recall one time when I was at Marquette in the lobby of a dorm. Two boys were manhandling a girl. Now, I believe the whole episode was "in fun," but I also think that gentlemen do not treat women like that even in jest. It made me think of three year olds. Men on campus should be encouraged to behave like gentlemen. When they don't, we should call them on it. In this case, I didn't, and wish I did.

A University has a duty to create an atmosphere in which women can have a sense of safety and protection, just as much as they have a duty to protect homosexuals against violence and unjust discrimination and minorities against racial harassment. A fornication culture should not be allowed on campus, any more than a homophobic or racist culture, even if fornication will inevitably happen. The university can do this. It has has the bully pulpit on this issue as much as they do on the environment, on "homophobia," on any socially progressive topic.

And it has to be a cultural change, but just a warning and training against date rape. Date rape is often the end of a long series of disrespectful interactions between a girl and a predator. Any of those actions should be automatically rejected by women and strongly criticized by men who are aware that they are taking place. I remember reading a story in the Marquette Tribune about the evils of date rape. The editorial writer told a story to illustrate her position. It began in a bar when a guy plied a girl with drinks. Then he invited her to his place. Then they started making out in the couch. They continued to drink. Then he "invited" her into his bedroom. Then they disrobed. Then, when he was just at the ultimate point she said "no." He continued anyway. No guy on campus should ever allow another guy to do this kind of thing.

I hear that campuses who take this seriously have women and men that are happy and healthy in their relationships because they do not fear each other.

A university that won't protect the women who live, work and study there is not fully Catholic, even if they have all kinds of other Catholic identification markers because they aren't communicating a belief about the importance of dignity of women and the necessity for protecting it.

1 comment:

Nate said...

Good thing pre-marital sex is against DuLac.(Notre Dame Rule Book)

But seriously, I wrote an essay for a writing class here at ND explaining that Chivalry was not chauvinist. On the contrary, it is the opposite. It's funny because some of us guys here say that we are "feminists" because of our dedication to a respect for women.

At the beginning of the year, there was a huge mandatory session on the hook-up culture, drugs, drinking etc. Then there was a session on homosexuality. I haven't yet gone to one on the environment....but Notre Dame has always been green.