Katz Continues Sexual Assault Dialogue

Discussion regarding the serious issue of sexual abuse at Dartmouth is stronger than ever. Not only does this year mark the 40th anniversary of WISE, an Upper Valley organization that supports women suffering from domestic and sexual violence, but there have recently been several events to raise awareness and inform campus like the well-attended “Take Back the Night” march that occurred last Friday and the Clothesline Project that has displayed t-shirts representing rape victims on Frat Row. Yesterday marked another step towards addressing the sexual assault problem at the College with a lecture by Jackson Katz, co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention program.

Katz applauded the meaningful and healthy dialogue about gender-based violence transpiring at Dartmouth, but was wary about the “risk reduction” route of preventing sexual abuse instead of going to the root of the problem. He claimed that instead of just informing women on ways to guard themselves, like not walking home alone late at night, that the community needs to address the source of the problem, and that source, according to Katz, is men. Katz called for an increase in “male integrity” and attacked the media’s desensitization of sexual assault. Rape is usually thought of as a “woman’s issue”, but Katz made it clear that it is a man’s issue too.

Katz encouraged men, especially at an institution like Dartmouth that prides itself on producing well-educated and responsible citizens, to make a sincere effort in preventing gender-based violence. The majority of the audience at the lecture was male, a ratio Katz does not usually see at his lectures, showing that it is not just women at Dartmouth who strive to decrease cases of violence at Dartmouth. This is truly a campus issue, and now that the dialogue has been set in motion, both the daughters and sons of Dartmouth need to take action if this problem is going to be solved once and for all.   

Elizabeth Reynolds