Ramapo College in New Jersey has added a notable brick in the towering wall of Dumb, Thoughtless Shit People Say About Rape, with a presentation that told students the right facial expression could help them avoid sexual assault.
Ramapo's student newspaper was fairly pissed at the presentation, which was titled "Haven – Understanding Sexual Assault," and led by Cory Rosenkranz, the school's coordinator of Substance Abuse & Violence Prevention. Rosenkranz's talk was part of a yearly course called "AlcoholEdu," which is meant to train "peer facilitators," meaning fellow students, on how to talk to freshmen about drinking and making less-dumb choices regarding alcohol.
The students, though, appear to be miles ahead of the faculty in some respects. Brandon Molina, a junior peer facilitator who attended Rosenkranz's talk, called it "peculiar," telling Ramapo News that she started out by talking generally about preventing sexual assault before things abruptly got weird: "She was saying that women need to watch their body language and that women should practice how they articulate their face [in a social setting] by practicing in the mirror."
The usual tactic vis-a-vis college-aged women and booze is to imply, or say outright, that female students are inviting rape if they get too drunk. (If you need a refresher on how that works, see this recent video by the American Enterprise Institute.)
But Rosenkranz also apparently took the "don't get too drunk" talk as an opportunity to warn female students about the myriad other things they're doing to invite sexual predators. From the Ramapo News:
During the hour-long presentation, which also covered alcohol consumption and abuse, Rosenkranz said female students needed to be self aware about actions that could invite sexual assault. Those included, Rosenkranz said during the presentation, how women dress, how they interact socially, how much they drink and how their body language and facial expressions could be interpreted.
The criticism, of course, is that none of this focuses on people committing rape, by, say, addressing their facial expressions, or, you know, encouraging them not to commit rape. As Molina told the News, "My thought the whole time was maybe women shouldn't practice how long they're blinking, men should just not rape people."
See? Problem solved. Let's meet back here in five minutes, when someone else says something dumb about rape.
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