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  • Patrick Bryant

Sexual Aggression 1101: Introduction to sexual aggression among college students


If you’ve attended a college town during evening hours, or watched your local news lately,

you’ve likely witnessed or heard about an ever-growing epidemic of male sexual

aggression toward women. Yes, this aggression certainly works both ways. Women do

perpetrate against men and other women. Women have been documented to consent to sexual

intercourse at a party, only to later recant and press charges following the incident. However,

these occurrences are minimal in frequency, when compared to men’s offenses and aggression

toward women, particularly on college campuses. As a man, I feel it is my duty to join the

movement as an advocate for stopping such violence.

Throughout grade school, college, and graduate school, I remember hearing campaigns against

sexual violence. “No means no.” Well, there are clearly some men who weren’t listening, didn’t

attend that discussion, or simply disregarded the message all together. It’s amazing to me, how many guys prey on young women at parties and in bars, appearing to be resilient to the many

dismisses they receive, but sometimes later revealing their forceful intention; almost as if some “lucky” lady who happens to be his last attempt at the end of the night receives the lovely prize of coercion, aggressive insistence, drugs, or some other last-stitch effort for this guy to get

laid. No matter how you spin the process, drugs or not, having sexual intercourse with a woman who either says no, or is too intoxicated to consent, is date rape.

The assumption among many is that the Greek system is the primary breeding ground for such

activity. After all, they have the most obnoxious parties and misogynist perception of life, right? Not necessarily. In fact, sexual aggression toward college women is not specific to any

demographic. In any given bar, on any given night, you are likely to see men of all ages,

ethnicities, races, and social classes moving from woman to woman with only one goal in mind - satisfying his lustful urges.

Why is this happening, and seeming to grow with little deterrence? First, we must acknowledge

the college atmosphere as being a liberating and freeing environment for many 18+ year-olds who have finally escaped the clinches of parental supervision. Next, we have to be honest

about the hormones flaring through college students, and accept that casual sex is much more

acceptable these days; therefore, often more difficult to differentiate a one night stand from one-way entertainment.

Women have the right to be as beautiful as nature intends, and to wear whatever they feel

comfortable going out into public. Yes, this excites and arouses testosterone and peptides withinmen, which is also fine. If these hormones provide men the courage to approach a woman, so be it. However, the next part is where the line is drawn. Men have a responsibility of morals and

respect to listen to women when it comes to taking the next step. She may be intoxicatingly

sexy, and dancing with you like an erotic dancer on a pole, only to later walk away and ignore

you. Yes, this probably feels like a tease to most, if not all, guys, especially when alcohol is a

part of this scenario. Maybe it is. Though, that is not the premise of this message.

The problem comes when guys take sexy dancing as an invitation to assume women don’t

actually know what they want, or don’t want, from that point forward. Maybe she just wanted to dance erotically with a stranger. Did anyone ever consider this option? This behavior does not

make her a whore. No, it makes her a hormonal (sometimes intoxicated) young woman going outto have a good time, similar to the hormonal guys going out to have a good time, in search of

said woman.

As a guy, I can certainly relate to the difficulty in understanding what you may interpret as

“mixed signals.” We aren’t meant to understand. We’re meant to listen and be respectful of of

others’ rights over their bodies. For some men, the restraint to take control of themselves duringsuch arousal is lost. Their minds grow fixed on hooking up, almost as if the woman is some type of trophy. I hear you, it’s difficult to turn this voice off in that moment. Now, imagine for a

moment how difficult it must be for women to turn it on in that moment when they don’t

actually want anything from you. So difficult, that she isn’t turned on at all. And, no, getting her to drink more, so she’ll pass out while you and your buddies “tap that” is not the answer.

Again, this message is not referring to mutual one night stands. I’m speaking directly to the guyswho think women being sexy is an invitation to dominate them, take whatever you want from

these women, and leave them with the emotional (and sometimes physical) scars to clean up

later. Imagine, if you will, that someone bigger and stronger than you comes along, gets you so

intoxicated you can’t function, and then has their way with you; a way that you wouldn’t enjoy orbe particularly proud of having when you regain consciousness. This is what you are doing to thewomen you bait into sex with you.

I don’t claim to have the answer for fixing such aggressive behavior; however, there are steps to be taken. The obvious answer is awareness. Intervene when you see this happening. You would ifshe was your daughter. Call the police or notify the bouncer. You don’t have to be the hero.

Guys, have the decency to listen to, and respect, that woman you find so intriguing. You may

have a partner or daughter someday, and expect her to be treated with respect. Be aware of

alcohol consumption, and what passing your limit turns you in to. If you had a rough night, and became a jerk you wouldn’t recognize, don’t drink that much anymore. Cut yourself off or go

home. Not all guys who get aggressive are jerks all the time. Alcohol and/or drugs often play a

role in their behavior. Of course, this means it’s solely the responsibility of these particular guys to be aware of their behavioral shifts, and stop consuming the content which amplifies this part of you. Alcohol doesn’t bring out “the real you,” it amplifies the you in that exact moment - the

horny, uninhibited, sex-crazed man.

Ladies, if you don’t remember what happened the night before, or have regrets about some

things you wouldn’t have normally done, it’s time to stop drinking. If you’re being forced to

drink, leave! Go out in groups of people who care about you and all agree to look out for each

other. It’s a jungle out there. When a guy invites you to leave the group into isolation, he is likelywanting something very specific. If you also want this specific thing, go for it. If not, don’t go

with him.

There is also the curiosity of how media has influenced behavior among college youth. Alcohol

and drug consumption are becoming far more accepted and normalized in high school campuses.Statistic show that consumption is down over the past five years. I wonder if these results are a bit skewed, due to accuracy of self-reporting. From the 1990s to present, movies like

American Pie and the plethora of reality and scripted TV shows normalizing multiple sex

partners, wild binge nights, and careless behavior, have seemed to grow in popularity and

numbers. They look as if they are all having the time of their lives. Everyone can party and hook up anytime they want. They just have to look good, and say the right words. I’ve never been an

advocate for blaming media for any behavior. It certainly hasn’t caused the behavior discussed,

here. It has merely reported on the behavior that already existed. However, I argue that such media has created an outlet for normalizing this grandiose lifestyle, almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. We make movies about what is already happening, which draws more viewers, which makes what is happening seem like the norm, which influences more viewers to engage in such behavior.

I have not cited any research in this writing, nor have I gathered statistical figures to support

any claims. The intent of this writing is merely to start a conversation. Start talking about it.

Start respecting yourself and those around you. Start advocating for young men to treat women as human beings with real brains, real boundaries, and real emotions.


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