Dear boys heading to college

This is the face of a sexual predator. Don't be like this guy (photo from elle.com COURTESY of SANTA CLARA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT)

This is the face of a sexual predator. Don't be like this guy (photo from elle.com COURTESY of SANTA CLARA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT)

You'd have to be living on another planet if you didn't hear about the extremely light punishment that Stanford University's Brock Turner received this past March for his THREE convictions of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.  

More recently in the news, a University of Colorado student named Austin James Wilkerson received two years of work release for his conviction on two counts of sexual assault for his attack on a drunk classmate.

And it's not just these headline-grabbing stories; there is an epidemic of sexual assaults happening on college campuses all across the country. And it just seems to be getting worse. 

Infographic from aauw.org

Infographic from aauw.org

One in five women is a target of sexual assault while in college. One in five. Isn't that horrifying?

There are a lot of people out there - back in my day and still today - who think the problem is the woman. She drank too much. She flirted too much. She wore something too sexy. She led a guy on. She deserved it for putting herself in a dangerous situation. 

That "dangerous situation" apparently being located anywhere near an intoxicated male, I guess.

It just doesn't make sense. Does anyone want or deserve to be assaulted? To be victimized? Does being drunk mean you give up your rights as a person, to make choices and decisions about your body? 

No it does not.

If a girl drinks too much at a party, she isn't asking to be raped. She didn't bring it on herself. Do you deserve to be sexually violated if you pass out after drinking too much? Sounds traumatizing doesn't it? It is, trust me.

So to you boys who will be entering this debauchery known as college I have a few tips that you need to read and you need to learn this summer before you pack up and go. Please follow along closely.

[Note: To you boys who will be entering college who already know these things - because you're a good kid and you respect women - use this list to educate your fellow mankind and hold them accountable. You could make the difference. Get more information at MenCanStopRape.org.]

Dear Boys...

1. You are not the center of the universe, even if your parents, your coach or your teachers say so.

2. You can't have everything you want, even if your parents gave you everything you wanted up to this point. The real world doesn't work that way.

3. Girls will be at college too. Girls are humans with ambitions and dreams and personalities and faults. Girls are not at college just to amuse, cater to, entertain and have sex with boys. They are there to become doctors and lawyers and teachers and astrophysicists, even if they are showing some cleavage or doing a keg stand or pretending to like you.

4. You may be a big shot. You may be an athlete. And you may be handsome. None of these things mean you are entitled to things that are not yours, including access to someone else's body. 

5. On the flip side, maybe you were a nerd in high school; maybe you've never been with a girl. This still doesn't mean you are entitled to things that are not yours, including access to someone else's body. . 

6. Showing off for your friends isn't your main priority at college. Covering for your friends' bad behavior isn't your priority either. Becoming a decent, educated human is your priority. 

7. If you are at a party and a girl seems drunk, don't make her drink more. That's easy, right? It's the opposite of taking any action.

8. If you are at a party and a drunk girl falls down, pick her up, sit her somewhere safe and find her friends. Better yet, call her a Lyft. 

9. If you are at a party and you see one of your frat brothers or friends taking advantage of an obviously intoxicated girl, or leading her off to his room, step in. Say something. Find out if she's OK. If she's not, help her. Find her friends. Don't be complacent. Don't be complicit.

10. Don't touch - listen to me - don't touch a female in the following circumstances:

  • when she doesn't give you permission
  • when she's throwing up
  • when she's so drunk she can't talk or stand or see straight

and the big one:

  • when she's passed out - whether it's in your bed or behind a dumpster

11. If a girl is flirting with you or kissing you or dancing with you, that could mean she likes you. Or it may just mean she has beer goggles. It does not mean that she wants to have sex with you. 

12. If a girl goes back to your place, kisses you more and even gets into your bed, that still does not mean she wants to have sex with you. If she says "stop" or "enough" or the universal "NO," that means you cannot have sex with her.

13. If you are with a girl and she passes out because she's had too much to drink, or whispers "no" as she's about to fall asleep, or she falls on the floor and can't get back up, these are all signs you do not have consent to have sex with her. So don't. Repeat: do not. Go jerk off. Go take a shower. Or why don't you just pass out? You're really drunk and it's not a good idea to make important decisions while intoxicated, like assaulting someone.

14. Something to think about: If you are drunk and you assault someone (or hit them with your car), you will be held responsible for assaulting someone. That's pretty black and white, right? Even though you were drunk and weren't thinking or didn't do it on purpose or thought someone said it was OK; assault is assault. You know what else is assault? Penetrating a woman without her consent. Yup, it is a crime when consent isn't or can't be given. And you will be held responsible for that too. It may not be by the courts. It may not be by your parents. But in this age of social media and victim advocacy, you will be held accountable. It's not a joke. You will be ruining her life and also your own. Think about it.

15. There is an epidemic of sexual assaults on campuses across the country. You must have heard about it. Don't ignore it. Don't laugh it off. Learn about how to prevent it. Educate your brothers. Be a man and treat women with respect. Be a hero. I bet you $100 if you do that, you will attract lots of lovely ladies the right way and have lots of consensual sex. 

Now here's your homework:

  • Watch this: "It's on Us" Sexual Assault PSA here
  • Read this: The Stanford assault victim's letter to her assailant, Mr. Brock Turner, here
  • Read this: "Alcohol isn't the cause of campus sexual assault. Men are." here.
  • Read this: "Why rape is a men's issue" here
  • Sign up for this newsletter: MenCanStopRape.org here