Recently, there has been a rise in a “neo-masculinist” movement that promotes the legalization of rape in a private sphere. The group called “Return of Kings” is led by Daryush Valizadeh, who wrote a manifesto that inspired heterosexual men to band together and have “meetups” to discuss the legalization of rape. I am absolutely disgusted by this stance and have often asked myself aloud, “Would it be legal to take him onto my private property and smack him over the head?” However, the group did not follow through on these meetups — ironically, it was for the fear of their own safety.

Thankfully, these meetups were cancelled, but women were still warned not to be in the general proximity of many popular areas, including towns near Fairfield, such as New Haven and Stamford. Even though this group never officially met, there has still been an outcry on college campuses of men who are pro-rape. The pro-rape movement goes against everything that I stand for because when a woman says “no,” she means it. Though the warnings by local police departments for women to avoid these areas was a good move, I do not think that this was sufficient enough. As a college-aged woman, I was unaware of that these areas were potentially dangerous. Despite my vehement belief that the event should never have been organized, this (almost) event encouraged me to think about how more awareness and education is necessary to inform people of this movement and subsequently convince them that it is not right.

Valizadeh wrote in his manifesto, “I propose that we make the violent taking of a woman not punishable by law when done off public grounds. By attempting to teach men not to rape, what we have actually done is teach women not to care about being raped, not to protect themselves from easily preventable acts, and not to take responsibility for their actions. I thought about this problem and am sure I have the solution: Make rape legal if done on private property.” Essentially, he is saying that if a woman comes home with you, you have the right to rape her because the action takes place on private property, regardless of if she says “no” or “stop.” Valizadeh’s quote above is both disgusting and insightful he thinks that women do not care about being raped. This is not only not the case, but he is engaging in victim-blaming behavior, which just goes to show how desperately in need our culture is for education about rape. Sure, the argument for freedom of speech could be made, but that does not give one the license to act on any opinion. Just because you have the right and ability to say something, doesn’t always mean that you should.

Women already feel unsafe on college campuses. Living on campus, I worry while walking from the parking lot in Faber to Mahan past 11 p.m. because I do not have credence to walk through Faber into the brightly lit parking lot. Instead, I have to walk up the hill and take a right onto a dimly lit sidewalk and hope that I don’t come across a creature or another human. I refuse to accept or understand Valizadeh’s argument. Taking a woman into a private place by force is still rape. Regardless of her level of intoxication, her dress or her decision, the minute a woman says “no,” the consenting partner needs to stop. Although there is no easy solution, college campuses, neo-masculinists and the world need to be educated on sexual consent. Many people are ignorant to the statistics of rape and the repercussions that follow, and fostering awareness on these issues could be a hugely preventative measure.

I fear the repercussions of this group. The amount of women that report a rape is sadly low — especially on college campuses — that I worry these neo-masculinist perspectives will greatly decrease those numbers. Even without the threat of the neo-masculinist group, rapes continue to go unreported at Fairfield and those that do go reported spread with rumors and mistruths. However, that should not deter the fact that a rape should be and needs to be reported. Any violation of one’s body should be both punished. If you or someone you know has experienced a similar offense, please contact the Fairfield’s Department of Public Safety, Fairfield’s Health Center, Fairfield’s Counseling and Psychological Services and if appropriate, any emergency responders in the Fairfield area.

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