Yes at my university. Every college has this problem: a subset of students are privileged young men who have been fed a lie by the media, that college is a free-for-all where you get to lose your virginity and meet hot horny girls, and they act on that vision. Then they’re nestled in a domain where college administrators are struggling to keep enrollments up and keep politicians, who are mostly older men, content, and who don’t want the horrible nasty boy-children to make the front page, so they swaddle everything in a bureaucracy and do as little as possible.
They failed at the University of Minnesota, and not only did wretched serial rapist Daniel Drill-Mellum eventually get convicted, but his story got big attention from the news. After years of this jerk preying on women at fraternity parties (shut down all the fraternities, please), after being accused multiple times by multiple women and walking away, he finally got sent to prison for 6 years.
(Warning: Account of one of his rapes below the fold)
Laura had been drinking throughout the night. She realized only when she woke up some time later, partially dressed and pinned under Dan, that she had been moved to the fraternity’s coatroom. Dan was raping her. “He asked me if it felt good,” she told me when we spoke last year. “I said no.” He didn’t stop. Finally she steeled herself, counted to five, and kicked him off. Then she ran out of the house.
The next day, she asked herself whether she had done something to lead him on. What if I walked myself into that room? she wondered. But she knew she hadn’t.
Laura never considered reporting Dan. “I just felt like he had the power,” she said. He came from a wealthy family; his father taught at the university and his mother was a doctor. “His family would get him out of whatever he got into.”
That last paragraph is a punch in the gut. Wealth saved him multiple times. I do wonder what his family was thinking as they shelled out large sums of money to defend against multiple accusations.
What’s worse is what happened to his victims. Predictably, Drill-Mellum’s pals, and unaffiliated strangers who hate the idea that women have autonomy, have made their lives hell.
Abby Honold has paid for her public fight with Daniel Drill-Mellum, and with the law-enforcement apparatus that initially failed her. She’s received death threats from Drill-Mellum’s supporters, and from strangers. She now lives with her husband in an unmarked apartment on the edge of town; her address is kept confidential. But Honold’s case made headlines on campus and in the media, and that notoriety has drawn out other women who have told her stories about a charming blond boy who suddenly turned violent—some who, until Honold’s case was in the news, had no idea they were one of many; others who blamed themselves for letting him go too far, or who were afraid to tell the police or family or friends, worried that no one would believe them. Honold says the tally, based on unverified claims she has heard personally, is 20 other alleged victims and counting.
In about a month, recent high school graduates will be entering the university after hearing in movies over and over that college is where you go to get laid, and they’ll find a system that encourages binge-drinking and wild parties, and they’ll meet all these other people who’ve been similarly fed with nonsense, and the worst of them will attempt to exploit the imaginary opportunities, and people will be hurt. They’ll get their first taste of independence and some will think that means they’ve got carte blanche and they’ll go wild.
It’s not true. College is where you get your first taste of responsibility. Meet that challenge, or end up like Daniel Drill-Mellum, in prison, life wrecked, and scores of people hurting because of the ugly impact made on their life.
Oh, and stop watching Revenge of the Nerds and its ilk. It’s a rapey fantasy, nothing like college.
If he’s a rapist, he’s probably a serial rapist. These “good family” dudes expect to buy their way out of trouble.
Sadly, it’s too true about the university doing anything possible to hold on to students, and so excusing complete lack of responsibility in their behavior. My department head recently told me “It’s not our job to instill values that parents failed at”, to which I replied that it damn well is.
In class, it’s mostly students who are too entitled to behave with basic respect for the other students (let alone me), but if they’re so self-absorbed in small ways with instant gratification of their every desire at the expense of anyone else, what are they like in larger matters?
In secret, a campus police officer told me that at least once a week they’re called to the dorms to deal with a suicide attempt (the university’s policy seems to be working so well! /s). How many of those are women (or men) who have been victimized and ignored (or worse) by the administration?