A Response To The Daily Collegian’s ‘Simple’ Solution To Sexual Assault

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Update (Friday, 10:22 a.m): The Daily Collegian has issued an apology for the column ‘A simple guide to stopping sexual assault.’ You can read the full apology from the editorial board and the column’s author here.

Boy, are they at it again. The infamous Daily Collegian columns have returned. But this time, instead of defending the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, or advocating for censorship and regulation of first amendment rights, the Daily Collegian has graciously offered the Penn State community a “simple guide to end sexual assault.”

“They did it!” you may be thinking, “The Daily Collegian has finally found the solution to this worldwide epidemic that has been plaguing college campuses for decades!” But unfortunately, my dear reader, they have not. The Daily Collegian has instead turned their noses up at us and offered obnoxious, disrespectful, and blatantly false “advice” on how not to get raped.

This, my friends, has left us no choice: In the spirit of free speech (which the Daily Collegian hates) it is time we go FJM on this horrendous piece of garbage column.

FJM is a writing style that we’ve had some fun with in the past. It essentially goes line-by-line and breaks down a piece of writing and criticizes it, and was popularized by the legendary site Fire Joe Morgan. The bold writing will be the article’s original contents, everything else is my own. So without further ado, let’s go dumpster diving:

[Headline:] A simple guide to stopping sexual assault at Penn State
Good Lord, pal. Do you really think this is an appropriate or even somewhat accurate headline? Do you really think you’ve found the solution that activists, academics, and researchers alike have been working toward for decades? What an awfully misleading headline aimed at selling this article like you’re Billy Mays. “Hi! Billy Mays here with the one-time solution to end sexual assault FOREVER!”

We can do better, Penn State.
Yikes! This article is already off to a horrendous start. I guess no other opening line could better show that the author “isn’t mad, just very disappointed.”

I’m no expert by far…
Ok if you ever find yourself saying the phrase “I’m no expert” then you should know that that means YOU ARE NOT AN EXPERT and therefore not qualified to offer valuable advice on any topic. Surely the Daily Collegian has taught the author this…

…but I can offer some basic rules about consent and safe sex.
Oh nooooooo.

In response to this disgraceful week, here are some basic rules about consent:
1. ALWAYS ASK TO DO SOMETHING SEXUAL
“Something ~~sexual~~”

Sex is better when you know what your partner wants. Always ask your partner, either verbally or explicitly nonverbally, if you can do something.
What on Earth does “explicitly nonverbally” mean? You mean, like, sending a
Snapchat with a ” 👉👌?” caption?

This is incredibly important for hook ups and fledgling couples, as communication might not be at its peak yet.
Oh boy the Collegian is offering hookup advice again.

Conversely, if you don’t want your partner to do something, tell them to stop.
THERE IT IS, FOLKS! They did it! That right there is the Collegian‘s official solution to end rape: Tell your attacker to stop.

There is no shame in stopping something you’re not comfortable with. Sex is a deeply personal venture, it’s absolutely within your right to tell them to stop.
How have sexual assault victims not thought of this before?

2. BE SURE YOU WANT TO HAVE SEX
Your body is a temple.
A TEMPLE, John Mayer. You best watch yourself, pal.

It’s important to ask yourself if you want to have sex. Don’t have sex just because you can, have it because you want to.
“Don’t have sex just because you can, have it because you want to.” Remember that the title of this article is ‘A simple guide to stopping sexual assault at Penn State.’

3. NO MEANS NO
This old adage will never cease to be relevant. If you don’t want to have sex, stop your partner from going any further.
How to stop sexual assault: Just stop the person sexually assaulting you.

It’s scary to say no. You don’t want to reject your partner or disappoint them. But it’s better to reject them than go through with something you don’t want to.
Yes, if only sexual assault victims could get this through their heads while being raped. It’s almost as if something is stopping them from thinking clearly, jeez.

4. COMMUNICATION MEANS EVERYTHING
Most of us learned about sex through word of mouth or pornography.
Oh boy we’ve entered the porno section.

Many of us have no formal education on the topic and are thus utterly clueless when we enter the bedroom.
“LOL ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ WHERE DOES IT GO?!?!?”

Because of this, it can be awkward to talk about with anyone, even your partner. You might find yourself faltering or stuttering when saying certain words.
That awkward moment whenever your middle school health teacher said “penis” and “vagina.”

If you and your partner don’t talk about sex, there is no easy way to have it. Discuss it before and after as clear and honestly as possible. Not only does it make sex better, it makes it safer.
Better Sex™, The Collegian Promise.

5. YOU ARE NOT A PORN STAR
Woah, buddy, slow down. Duke had Miriam Weeks, also known as Belle Knox (don’t worry that link is SFW), who knows if Penn State has a comparable. I mean, hey, tuition’s expensive.

Turn down the dial, don’t try to be a porn star. It can lead to very unpleasant experiences, and in some cases, assault.
Don’t want to get raped? Don’t watch porn: The Collegian‘s next key to solving sexual assault.

6. HEAVY DRINKING AND SEX DON’T MIX
Some couples love drinking and sex. Perhaps there is merit to a romantic night with a few drinks and the bedroom afterwards.
“Heavy drinking and sex don’t mix. But NORMAL drinking and sex is the bee’s knees.”

A person cannot properly give consent when they’re drunk, so it’s considered sexual assault if you have sex when either one of you are drunk. If you have any suspicion that someone is drunk, it’s best to avoid sex no matter what they say. It’s the alcohol speaking, not them.
“It’s the alcohol speaking, not them” is just a truly awful line to say when talking about sexual assault. Alcohol is never an excuse. Not for the attacker, not for the victim.

Given the nature of college, this is a common instance, so don’t take the risk. Wait until morning to see how your partner is feeling. If it’s a hook up, avoid it and text them the next day. Sober sex rules anyway.
“Sober sex rules” should be printed and sold on the new Collegian t-shirts. God knows they need to finally find a way to make money somehow.

The basic theme governing all these rules is simple: Always get consent. It’s not hard to get a yes or a no, and it completely avoids the gray areas that often appear with certain cases in sexual assault.
Completely, absolutely, and atrociously false. This, again, implies that it’s “easy” for victims to avoid getting raped by “just saying no.” That’s not how rape works. When someone is getting sexually assaulted, they are under an incomprehensible amount of psychological and physiological stress. To imply that they have the power to stop it and that’s it on the victim if they don’t is the most ignorant, abhorrent part of this column.

Rape is a crime so perverse and crippling in nature, it’s profoundly disappointing it’s so prevalent, especially here at Penn State. Three reported assaults within a week is beyond sad and the week isn’t even over yet. Educate yourself.
“Educate yourself.” Really? Thank you, Daily Collegian, for this absolutely astonishing final piece of advice.

If you would like to read the Daily Collegian’s column in its entirety, you can pick up a copy of today’s Collegian (it made the front page!) or read it below because the Daily Collegian removed it from their website with no explanation or retraction notice. Don’t worry, TDC, you’ll catch onto the whole “online” thing soon enough and learn that journalism ethics are the same here as they are with paper.

 

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About Author

Alex Bauer

Alex is a senior from Cheshire, Connecticut majoring in Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIENT) and Finance. He is a first generation Penn Stater along with his two sisters. His favorite things are dogs, coffee, and dogs that shoot hot jets of coffee out of their mouths. If you are Mad Online™ about something Alex wrote on the internet, you can send him threatening emails at [email protected], or harass him on Snapchat and Instagram @TheAlexBauer.

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