At U of I, being male is a crime

During my four years at the University of Illinois, many subjects and activities have left me puzzled, but the one that really gets me is the campus’ stance on sexual harassment education. The first experience numerous freshmen have in this particular topic is FYCare, the rape course in which the male sex is bashed for an evening. Of course, the University’s stance is that this mandatory course is fair and unbiased; however, when I attended, I was told that males are always at fault because – hey, the other way around just doesn’t happen that often. Apparently statistics negate the illegality of crimes in this country so I guess I will have to apologize for my complete lack of understanding in this subject and move on to better things.

Then again, it seems that moving on is impossible here because people promote the topic in the completely wrong way. For example, the other day I was walking through the quad when I noticed little notes taped on a variety of campus landmarks. Curious, I decided to read what these little harbingers of doom had to say and found this quote:

Dear U of I,

1 in 12 men admit to behaviors that if legally defined would constitute assault.

This special service announcement was brought to you by PAVE, an apparently new organization that is keen on Promoting Awareness [and] Victim Empowerment. Now, I am not absolutely sure what this message is trying to get at, but the last time I checked assault was legally defined. Let’s not start making up new rules on the fly to make men feel like chauvinistic delinquents, PAVE. In fact, why don’t you take the time to tell us what these supposedly criminal behaviors are instead of putting up messages that make your organization look more like a hoax-club than a genuinely sincere group? If you really wanted people to listen to what you had to say, why didn’t you try some unbiased education and not this divisive crap? I am sure all you have done with these messages is irritate anyone who feels the same way I do, congratulations.

I am not trying to say that the victims of rape or some form of sexual assault should hide in the shadows and not speak up about their experiences, but putting the blame on one group is not the correct solution. PAVE’s messages and the University’s FYCare program essentially constitute discrimination. Hmm, that gives me an idea for a little message of my own:

Dear U of I,

11 in 12 sexual assault groups discriminate against men.

How is that for promoting awareness and victim empowerment? To PAVE and the University: all men are not criminals just because some make lousy judgments. It is time for a sincere and real change in the campus’ programs on rape and sexual harassment. It is time to change the system to one that does not involve gender stereotypes in any form because if those do exist, you are responsible for creating a hostile environment in which being male is a crime.