To the men of Fairfield University,
I believe it is time we have a serious talk about an issue that, during my four years at Fairfield, was continually brushed off as a non-problem.
It is with a heavy heart that I admit that the news of the Isla Vista gunman is what finally pushed me to write this letter to the editor. That being said, my thoughts are with the victims’ families as I write this.
It is of the utmost importance that the horrifying acts by Elliot Rodger, which left six dead and seven injured, do not get swept under the rug as yet another US tragedy carried out by a person with a mental illness.
I hope you do not have to watch the disturbing video or read any of the 137-page manifesto Rodger left behind, like I have, to understand that there is a much larger problem at hand here: how we view and interact with women.
The passages from Rodger’s manifesto, as reported by multiple news sources, makes it apparent that Rodger felt as if women owed him something and that their disinterest in him were directed towards him as acts of aggression or as a form of bullying.
While I believe the case of Rodger is the exception and not the rule, it is without question that there is a problem with sexual violence among men and women in university environments, especially when placed in “hookup cultures,” as we have at Fairfield.
We must remember that, in the end, men and women are both people, and we all deserve to be treated with respect. Just because you paid for a woman’s dinner, it does not mean she owes you anything in return other than a polite “thank you.”
Furthermore, it is time we grow up and stop badmouthing women who do not reciprocate with the same feelings we might have toward them. It is my hope that if you attempt to talk to a woman and she shows disinterest that you just brush it off and get on with your life, not turn around to your friends and begin to call her every derogatory name towards females you can think of.
We should strive to be gentlemen of Fairfield, not just your average, disrespectful “bro.”
If you’re having difficulty with these concepts, try to remember every woman you speak to is someone’s daughter or sister and, it is my hope, that you would never want a man to treat your daughter or your sister with disrespect. They don’t deserve to feel threatened physically or mentally, just as much as you don’t.
This conversation should not end here. In fact, this should just be one of many conversations you have with friends, family and acquaintances. We should not roll our eyes at those who wish to bring equality between men and women, but we should invite them to share ideas and listen to our own in a constructive and respectful manner. So, please go forth and spread this message; continue this conversation, and do your part to end this senseless and immature violence.
Salvatore Trifilio ‘14
Fairfield University Alumnus