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
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
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.