Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
“Thanks for the rules, UMHB.”
It’s not a phrase heard often by students or faculty. We grumble when the MTV Music Video Awards are on and we can’t see Kanye’s antics. Twenty-one-year-olds can’t have alcohol — period. Girls and guys still separate by 1 a.m. all over campus. We even have a foul language policy.
It is easy to criticize the sometimes oppressive regulations. One aspect of college life is that it is a time for teenagers to become adults. Being policed about public displays of affection sure doesn’t make us feel like adults. My parents seem to think they can kiss whenever they want, and, honestly, that’s more damaging to my mental health than a few kisses in the McLane lobby.
Last week a friend of mine was raped at her university. She’s a freshman, like everyone else in her dorm, and, like everyone else, she was drinking last weekend. At her school — a large and well respected university — alcohol and drug use are the norm. Finding a sober student on a Friday night is harder than finding a drunken one here.
The school turns a blind eye to the partying and fraternizing. After all, it is college.
She went to a friend’s room and had a few drinks like normal after a hard week of class. But the girl, barely 18 years old, soon forgot everything. She woke up beaten and bloody. Her lips were shredded — a mere illustration of the abuse the attacker inflicted on her body.
Doctors found drugs in her system, obviously hidden in the drinks she was given. The other clues from the evening — marked in her skin, hair and blood — are too graphic to describe. I shake with anger just to write about it.
But she woke up to this reality. It is something she will wake up with for the rest of her life.
According to a 2000 study by the U.S. Department of Justice, one in five girls experience rape or attempted rape during their time at a four-year college. That’s 20 percent. Ninety percent of the incidents are related to alcohol use.
If you have five sisters who go away to get their education, statistically speaking, one of them will be attacked.
America is a civilized, developed world power. Rape is a crime of ignorance and savagery. And yet, in our institutions of education and scholarship, the most basic of human offenses is common.
I will be the first to say that sometimes the rules here feel fascist. But truthfully, that’s all hyperbole. No one is hurt by the restrictions UMHB places, aside from perhaps liquor salesmen. Can’t watch an R-rated movie in your dorm lobby? Can’t cuddle with your girlfriend?
Well to me, it’s worth it. Thanks for the rules.